10 okt. 2008

Fair trade tourism in South Africa

Tourism is the world's largest industry. Worldwide, it contributes more than 10% of Global Domestic Product and employs approximately 200 million people, and South Africa is not untouched by this growth. Tourism is a major driver of post-Apartheid economic growth and development, and international arrivals to South Africa reached an all-time high of 8.4 million in 2006 with a projected 10 million arrivals expected by the 2010 World Cup. Tour operators and establishments and the communities they’re in, like Calabash Tours in the townships of Nelson Mandela Bay, rely on this growth for income and survival.

But with growth there are benefits gained and costs endured. Benefits include more employment of locals, foreign investment and economic growth; while the costs include environmental destruction, unjust exploitation of people, unequal sharing of benefits, and abuse of human rights and local cultures. Faced with such benefits and costs, standards of responsibility must be built into the tourism industry.

Whatever your holiday, make sure it’s fair; that’s the principle behind FTTSA, the first and only independent, third-party certifier of Fair Trade tourism operators and establishments in the world. Since 2004, FTTSA has worked to make tourism more fair, participatory and sustainable in order to address the potential negative impacts of industry growth in Southern Africa. Prospective tourism enterprises must meet rigorous Fair Trade criteria—including fair wages and working conditions, fair purchasing, fair operations, fair distribution of benefits and respect for human rights, culture and environment—before being considered for FTTSA endorsement.

Calabash Tours works closely with the Calabash Trust to support programs such as pre-school education, a child feeding program, an afterschool youth program to encourage students to stay off the streets, training for pre-school educators, community-run vegetable gardens and skill training. They also hire their tour guides from the townships and visit community-owned businesses along the way. It is an example of what “responsible” tourism looks like in practice.

The result: a more responsible and rewarding holiday. The FTTSA certification assures that tourists’ visits to South Africa promote the well-being of local people and the environment, and boost South Africa’s social and economic development.

To plan your next Fair Trade holiday in South Africa, or for more information about Calabash Tours and FTTSA’s other certified operators and establishments, visit:

How to Be a Responsible Tourist
Eco-Friendly Travel tips from Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA)
  • Do – chose a hotel that manages water, waste, and energy in an environmentally responsible way. Increasing numbers of hotels and lodges in South Africa recycle waste water, use environmentally friendly fertilizers and pesticides, and responsibly remove waste. Such establishments usually post their environmental policies and practices on their websites, or subscribe to third-party certification programmes, so do a little research before you book!
  • Do – turn off the air conditioner, the TV and all lights in your room when you leave for the day.
  • Do – avoid souvenirs made from wildlife such as jewelry or crafts made of ivory, elephant hair, shark teeth, porcupine quills, or wild animal skins. Also, try to buy directly from local crafters wherever possible.
  • Do – keep your impact to a minimum when hiking. Stick to pre-existing trails rather than wandering through wild flora.
  • Do – support establishments dedicated to the protection of indigenous plants and wildlife.

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