Why Join the Fair Trade Tourism?

Tourism Tattler - - EDITORIAL -

In an in­dus­try re­garded as be­ing crit­i­cal to eco­nomic growth and de­vel­op­ment and one that of­fers such po­ten­tial for the em­pow­er­ment and up­lift­ment of im­pov­er­ished com­mu­ni­ties and the pro­tec­tion of sen­si­tive ecosys­tems, it is es­sen­tial that we have some way of mea­sur­ing how com­mit­ted a tourism busi­ness is to make a real and last­ing dif­fer­ence.

Sus­tain­abil­ity is a some­what overused and much-mis­un­der­stood word. Usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with be­ing en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly, there is, in fact, a lot more to sus­tain­abil­ity than just green is­sues. Most im­por­tantly, sus­tain­abil­ity means that what­ever it is you are do­ing now you will be able to do to­mor­row, next week, next month, next year and for the fore­see­able fu­ture, with­out detri­ment to the planet and with pos­i­tive ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion for peo­ple. This goes to the very heart of Fair Trade Tourism as the or­gan­i­sa­tion's DNA has been cus­tomde­signed to help peo­ple help peo­ple.

Through Fair Trade Tourism's Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Ser­vices of­fer­ing, a tourism com­pany has the op­por­tu­nity to un­pack its busi­ness model and ex­am­ine it in minu­tiae, en­sur­ing that ev­ery sin­gle as­pect of the busi­ness is op­ti­mised to of­fer real sus­tain­abil­ity with demon­stra­ble ben­e­fits for com­mu­ni­ties and the en­vi­ron­ment.

When a tourism com­pany un­der­goes the Fair Trade Tourism au­dit – a gru­elling lit­mus test which comes af­ter the BDS process has been com­pleted – it knows that ev­ery part of its busi­ness model has been scru­ti­nised and im­proved upon, us­ing glob­ally ac­cepted mea­sures of best prac­tice in sus­tain­able tourism. It also un­der­stands im­plic­itly that it is now ready to build upon the solid pil­lars Fair Trade Tourism pro­vides it with, which, if ad­hered to and reg­u­larly mon­i­tored, will be truly sus­tain­able.

The real tes­ta­ment to Fair Trade Tourism's suc­cess is the con­tin­ued suc­cess of the tourism busi­nesses that choose the Fair Trade Tourism route. Their achieve­ments speak louder than we ever could.

So let's hear from some of them why Fair Trade Tourism mat­ters:

Um­lani Bush Camp

“When I first heard of Fair Trade Tourism in 2003 I was ex­cited by the prospects of such an or­gan­i­sa­tion and wanted to be part of it. The ideals and prin­ci­ples that Fair Trade Tourism stand for were ex­actly what Um­lani as­pired to be. The cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process gave us new stretches and goals to work to­wards it also gave us recog­ni­tion and sup­port for what we were al­ready do­ing right . This opened many doors for us and put us in con­tact with many like-minded or­gan­i­sa­tions and peo­ple. It has been a mag­i­cal jour­ney all round and I can rec­om­mend join­ing the Fair Trade Tourism ‘tide'. “

Marco Schiess, CEO and owner of Um­lani Bush Camp.

Three Trees at Spi­oenkop

“We de­cided to join Fair Trade Tourism be­cause we wanted to show our com­mit­ment for long term sus­tain­abil­ity to our com­mu­nity. We wanted to show that com­mit­ment to our guests, so they could be con­fi­dent in their choice of ac­com­mo­da­tion and travel ex­pe­ri­ences and for them to know that the choice they have made has a pos­i­tive im­pact on the area they visit. And be­cause we per­son­ally be­lieve in Fair Trade Tourism's ob­jec­tives and prin­ci­ples. We have ben­e­fited im­mensely through var­i­ous mar­ket­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and net­work­ing with like-minded peo­ple.”

Si­mon & Cheryl Blackburn, own­ers of Three Trees at Spi­oenkop.

Sani Lodge Back­pack­ers

“Fair Trade in Tourism's val­ues re­flect the way Sani Lodge Back­pack­ers strives to op­er­ate. Hav­ing bat­tled with other grad­ing sys­tems, we were de­lighted to find a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion which recog­nises fac­tors which we be­lieve are of crit­i­cal im­por­tance in how a tourism busi­ness is run. Fair Trade Tourism's cri­te­ria recog­nise our val­ues and reward us for the way we op­er­ate. In ad­di­tion, the rig­or­ous cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and au­dit process meant that we learnt a tremen­dous amount about ways to im­prove and im­ple­ment­ing these has led to bet­ter per­for­mance from staff, more in­put into our lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and bet­ter en­vi­ron­men­tal prac­tices. We are ex­tremely proud of be­ing Fair Trade Tourism cer­ti­fied and our whole team feels the value.” Rus­sell & Si­mone Suchet, own­ers of Sani Lodge Back­pack­ers.

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact FTT Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Sup­port at info@fair­trade.travel or ap­ply on­line on at www.fair­trade.travel.

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