Exciting changes for Fair Trade Tourism

FTT_brandMay 2013 saw Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) change its name to Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) in order to signal the intention of becoming a regional responsible tourism certification programme. At the same time, the new FTT brand and website was launched.

The new FTT business plan was developed as a result of the organisation having reached a point in its development where it was ready to accelerate growth through new marketing and product acquisition strategies.  Scaling up supply of certified businesses is necessary to meet demand, especially from European and North American markets for responsible tourism products.  Growth of supply can be stimulated by partnerships with various stakeholders, most notably Business Development Service (BDS) providers that can help to raise awareness about FTT-certification and prepare businesses to become (re)certified.

During 2013-2016 FTT will transform itself from a hybrid certification-cum-development organisation into a dynamic, professional market development organisation with one or more outsourced certification service providers. Separating certification from market development activities is consistent with international best practice and engenders various opportunities for the market development organisation to facilitate BDS and other services directly and indirectly to FTT-certified businesses, without conflict of interest.

FTT will stimulate supply of certified tourism businesses in 8 southern African destinations: Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Tanzania. Growth will be supported by a combination of expansion of the Fair Trade Tourism mark and collaboration with existing responsible tourism certification programmes. The expansion to other destinations will be pursued gradually, dependent on demand and resources, with Madagascar being the first destination expected to launch Fair Trade Tourism certification shortly.

As part of the business plan development, the FTT standard has been revised and updated to ensure compliance with national and international guidelines such as SANS 1162 and the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC). Going forward, businesses as well as holiday makers can rest assured that the same high standards as previously will be expected by FTT-certified businesses. The FTT mark will be awarded to businesses that show commitment to Fair Trade criteria including fair wages and working conditions, fair purchasing, fair operations, equitable distribution of benefits and respect for human rights, culture and environment. By electing to stay at or use the services of an FTT-certified business, tourists are assured that their travel benefits local communities and economies, and that the business is operated ethically and in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

FTT will undertake this ambitious expansion plan with the generous support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and other donors.

For more information about Fair Trade Tourism; FTT-certified businesses and how to become certified, please visit the Fair Trade Tourism website www.fairtradetourism.org.za

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