Fair Trade Tourism in South Africa


South Africa is the first country in the world to have a “Fair Trade” label for its domestic tourism industry. Fair Trade in Tourism SA (FTTSA), which determines who gets the label, has given out eighteen of its precious approvals so far – and counting. The organisation is dedicated to helping tourists who want to make a positive social impact in the areas where they spend money find just what they’re looking for.

What is Fair Trade? It’s a consumer movement that tries to ensure that people in developing countries get a fair share of the revenue derived from their products and services. Coffee growers are the movement’s poster children, but it champions a veritable A-Z of other producers, from folk artists to mitten knitters.

  • See the Fair Trade section of New Consumer magazine for more: click here.
  • Visit IFAT, the global Fair Trade product certifying body: click here.

In tourism, Fair Trade promotes good economic relationships between travelers and those whose land, labour, knowledge and culture are used supply the travel experience. To qualify for the Fair Trade label, establishments must:

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  • Pay fair wages and provide good working conditions.
  • Adopt fair purchasing practices.
  • Ensure fair distribution of benefits to workers.
  • Adhere to ethical business practices.
  • Promote respect for human rights, culture and the environment.

In other words, if you book with a Fair Trade establishment, you can be sure that you’re supporting social upliftment in Africa.

Jennifer Seif, FTTSA’s Executive Director, recently returned to SA clutching the coveted To Do! prize from the International Tourism Exchange in Berlin. She says that the concept of Fair Trade in tourism is taking off worldwide – with several countries proposing to follow South Africa’s lead.

SA Blog will embark on a Fair Trade series starting next week. Keep abreast through our Fair Trade tag, and see also Africa: How 2 Help.