Shark cage div­ing com­pa­nies re­ceive the green light with FTTSA

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - TRAVEL2009 -

DE­SPITE the con­tro­versy that oc­ca­sion­ally sur­rounds the in­dus­try, shark cage div­ing is in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar among in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors. Iden­ti­fy­ing an eth­i­cal op­er­a­tor can be a mine­field, but this sit­u­a­tion has re­cently changed.

Two com­pa­nies based in Gans­baai have qual­i­fied to be­come part of Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA), hav­ing each gone through a strin­gent as­sess­ment and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process that ex­am­ines the eco­nomic, en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial im­pacts of its op­er­a­tions.

To u r i s t s l o o k i n g t o ex­pe­ri­ence au­then­tic great white shark con­ser­va­tion and ad­ven­ture in South Africa are en­cour­aged to choose Marine Dy­nam­ics and White Shark Projects, both lo­cated in scenic Gans­baai, ac­cord­ing to Jen­nifer Seif, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of FTTSA.

Marine Dy­nam­ics and White Shark Projects are the only shark cage div­ing op­er­a­tions that have achieved FTTSA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, to date.

The FTTSA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion mark sig­nals to cus­tomers that th­ese two busi­nesses are run in an en­vi­ron­men­tally and so­cially re­spon­si­ble man­ner and that staff and com­mu­ni­ties linked to the op­er­a­tion re­ceive tan­gi­ble and pos­i­tive ben­e­fits from tourism.

FTTSA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion i s based on a thor­ough as­sess­ment process to en­sure that FTTSA-cer­ti­fied es­tab­lish­ments are truly com­mit­ted to the prin­ci­ples of Fair Trade and re­spon­si­ble tourism.

Ac­cord­ing to Seif, “shark cage div­ing i s b e c o mi n g i n c r e a s i n g l y p o p u l a r among vis­i­tors to South Africa and the sec­tor is fairly com­pet­i­tive. FTTSA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is a unique sell­ing point that en­ables tourists to make an in­formed de­ci­sion about where to in­vest their money.”

The de­mand, es­pe­cially from the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket, for “re­spon­si­ble tourism” ex­pe­ri­ences has grown ex­po­nen­tially over the last few years, and there­fore choos­ing a tourism com­pany with an eth­i­cal busi­ness model re­ally does ben­e­fit all par­ties con­cerned.

A full list of FTTSA-cer­ti­fied es­tab­lish­ments sit­u­ated in South Africa can be viewed at www.fair­tourismsa.org.za

Trav­ellers looking for an eth­i­cal marine tourism ex­pe­ri­ence should in­sist on us­ing FTTSA-cer­ti­fied op­er­a­tors and re­fer to the FTTSA web­site or con­tact FTTSA di­rectly to con­firm an op­er­a­tor’s FTTSA-cer­ti­fied sta­tus.

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