24 October 2013

Gauteng sees increase in FTT-certified businesses

In an effort to position Gauteng as a responsible tourism destination, the Gauteng Tourism Authority partnered with Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) to support and encourage tourism product owners to achieve FTT certification.

Maropeng has Fair Trade Tourism certification Maropeng has Fair Trade Tourism certification

Products that do not obtain FTT certification are running an increasing risk of being left by the wayside as an increasingly powerful and discerning market votes with its feet. – Dawn Robertson, Gauteng Tourism Authority chief executive

Since the FTT/Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA) partnership launched in 2012, FTT-certified businesses in Gauteng have increased by 100%.

FTT-certified businesses now include: Fundani Tours Cullinan Diamond Mine Tour; Fundani Tours Refilwe Township Tour; Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers; Lebo’s Soweto Bicycle Tours; Kwagga’s Pride; Kwalata Game Ranch; Kungwini Guesthouse; Leriba Hotel & Spa; Maropeng; Mercure hotel Bedfordview; Mercure hotel Midrand; Mercure hotel Randburg; Moratiwa Tours: Soweto Fair Tourism Tour; Thaba Ya Batswana; The Peech Hotel; and the Soweto Hotel & Conference Centre.

FTT certification remains a voluntary process, but is now seen as a must-have for tourism businesses looking to promote themselves in the rapidly expanding responsible tourism market. Many travellers want to make positive travel decisions that feel good, and are increasingly choosing FTT-certified businesses that offer a meaningful contribution to the destination and the people who work there.

Dawn Robertson, GTA chief executive, says that FTT is fast becoming the benchmark for tourism offerings and products in Gauteng. 

'Those who have achieved this prestigious endorsement have shown tremendous foresight, both with respect to achieving the ideals of FTT and also in terms of the long-term returns that will accrue to their business,' she says. 'Products that do not obtain FTT certification are running an increasing risk of being left by the wayside as an increasingly powerful and discerning market votes with its feet.'

Robertson says the GTA is increasingly supporting the FTT model, as it is the right thing to do for the environment, local communities and visitors.

Kathy Bergs, general manager and acting executive director at Fair Trade Tourism, says that the partnership with the GTA has been a tremendous success, and that FTT is looking forward to continuing the collaboration.

'We challenge other provincial authorities to embrace sustainable tourism and establish a partnership with Fair Trade Tourism as a means of evidencing that commitment to the travel industry at large,' she says.