Coffeebeans Routes, which offers a range of creative and cultural experiences in Cape Town and Johannesburg, is the latest tourism business to join the ranks of Fair Trade Tourism certified products, boosting the organisation’s foothold as Africa’s leading responsible tourism practitioner.

Coffeebeans RoutesCoffeebeans Routes joins nearly 200 tourism businesses across eight countries that have committed to Fair Trade certification to demonstrate their positive impacts on staff, community and environment. Coffeebeans experiences are high on innovation, inviting visitors to explore the heart and soul of the two cities while connecting around art, music and food.

Visitors get to engage with some of Cape Town and Johannesburg’s most cosmopolitan communities as they meet musicians, artists, theatre makers, poets, sportsmen and spiritual leaders.

Says Iain Harris, its owner and co-founder: “Coffeebeans is led by story, not geography. Following stories opens up cities in unexpected ways, compelling guests to experience urban environments not through spatial planning, but narrative reality. Our approach challenges notions of what is central and what is peripheral, who holds power and who doesn’t.”

Harris said the process of achieving Fair Trade certification required thorough interrogation of how their business approached every aspect of tourism. “We’ve been at the defining edge of fair and responsible practice since inception, and to have formal policies and processes in place to back up our approach is a huge step forward,” he said.

Jane Edge, Managing Director of Fair Trade Tourism, said Coffeebeans’ approach challenged the norms of conventional tourism where tourists were often passive voyeurs. “This story-based approach to creating tourism experiences is helping to reshape South Africa’s tourism offering in exciting ways,” she said.