Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) has won the "TO DO!" prize for socially responsible tourism.
FTTSA's Executive Director, Jennifer Seif, accepted the award on behalf of the organisation at a high profile ceremony held on Friday March 10 at the International Tourism Exchange (ITB) in Berlin, Germany.
The TO DO! Contest for Socially Responsible Tourism started in 1995 and invites entries from all over the world. The awards are facilitated annually by Studienkreis für Tourismus und Entwicklung (Institute for Tourism and Development), and the event has grown to be a common and anticipated feature of the ITB.
The contest recognises projects whose planning and implementation involves the different interests and needs of the local population through participation on a broad scale. Some of the criteria used by FTTSA include: awareness raising, wide-ranging benefit, quality jobs in tourism, cultural protection, and minimising negative impacts of tourism on destinations.
FTTSA was awarded a special prize in this year's TO DO! Contest, in recognition of its pioneering tourism certification programme - the first in the world to apply the concept and principles of Fair Trade to the tourism industry.
Since mid-2003 FTTSA has certified 18 tourism establishments including a number of community-based ventures for compliance with Fair Trade criteria including fair wages and working conditions; fair operations; fair distribution of benefits; ethical business practice; and respect for human rights, culture and environment.
Receiving the award in Berlin, FTTSA's Executive Director Jennifer Seif thanked everyone in South Africa who has contributed to FTTSA's success over the years. "This includes staff, members of our board of directors, assessors, partners and donors, and of course the growing numbers of tourism product owners who have expressed an interest in social labelling over the past few years."
Seif also stressed that FTTSA's success is largely due to support from within South Africa's growing tourism industy. "In turn, FTTSA is helping to position South Africa as a leading Fair and Responsible Tourism Destination, through niche marketing and facilitating sustainable linkages between emerging and mainstream businesses. We are proud to be contributing to the transformation and long-term competitiveness of the post-apartheid tourism industry."
FTTSA is an independent non-profit organisation that promotes sustainable and equitable tourism development in South Africa. Its role within this dynamic environment is to advocate for a culture of fairness and inclusion within the tourism industry, and to help create the conditions for the practice of Fair Trade within South African tourism.
This is done through education and awareness raising, and the facilitation of a voluntary certification programme that awards the world's first 'Fair Trade' label to tourism establishments in South Africa that operate according to fair trade principles and criteria.
Since October 2003, FTTSA has certified the following properties: Calabash Lodge & Tours, Bartholomeus Klip Farmhouse, Djuma Game Reserve, Imvubu Nature Tours, Jan Harmsgat Guest House, Klippe Rivier Country, Masakala Guest Hous, Phumulani Lodge, Sabi Sabi Game Reserve, Shiluvari Lakeside Lodge, Singita Group and Lodges, Spier Wine Estate, Stormsriver Adventures, Soeskerhof Walk-About, The Backpack, Umlani Bushcamp, Grootbos Nature Reserve and Hog Hollow Country Lodge.