18 October 2013

Fair Trade Tourism signs mutual recognition agreement with TourCert

Fair Trade Tourism and Germany-based TourCert signed a mutual recognition agreement at the Travel Trade Workshop in Zurich.

Fair Trade Tourism and TourCert have signed a mutual recognition agreement Fair Trade Tourism and TourCert have signed a mutual recognition agreement

This spirit of collaboration holds great promise for other sustainable tourism certification schemes and thus the further development of South Africa as a responsible Fair Trade Tourism destination. – Kathy Bergs, Fair Trade Tourism GM and acting executive director

The mutual recognition agreement (MRA) between Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) and TourCert aims to stimulate cooperation within the sustainable tourism standards and certification environment to provide accessible, reliable and credible certification services to the tourism industry.

FTT is a non-profit organisation that operates a ground-breaking certification scheme in southern Africa that supports tourism enterprises to optimise their environmental, social and economic impact. TourCert is an international non-profit organisation that certifies outbound tour operators, travel agencies, accommodation businesses and tourism destinations for their corporate social responsibility reporting and performance, including management of their global supply chains.

After operating for 10 years in South Africa, FTT is now scaling up its certification programme in the southern African region so that Fair Trade Holidays will be able to include a regional element. Part of the strategy is to develop MRAs with key organisations in Europe and southern Africa.

A Fair Trade Holiday examines trading relationships along the entire value chain, comprises a minimum number of FTT-certified or mutually recognised businesses, and includes a contribution to the FTT Development Fund.

The agreement allows any tour operator certified by TourCert to receive the full number of possible points when using an FTT-certified tourism business as a supplier, while the requirement to conduct an individual check of this supplier is waived by TourCert.

In turn, FTT will automatically recognise tour operators and travel agencies certified by TourCert as being 'pre-approved' to sell Far Trade Holidays.

Kathy Bergs, FTT GM and acting executive director, says the signing of the agreement facilitates the inclusion of outbound tour operators (particularly in German-speaking Europe) in the creation and sale of Fair Trade Holidays to South Africa.

'This spirit of collaboration holds great promise for other sustainable tourism certification schemes and thus the further development of South Africa as a responsible Fair Trade Tourism destination,' she said.