Becoming certified

Fair Trade Tourism certification makes good (business) sense!

Fair Trade Tourism certification remains a voluntary process, but is a must-have for businesses looking to promote themselves in the responsible tourism market.

The brand association with Fair Trade Tourism is a competitive benefit that signifies a commitment to fair and responsible tourism.

Many travellers want to make positive travel decisions that feel good. Increasingly, they are choosing Fair Trade Tourism certified businesses that offer a meaningful contribution back to the destination and the people who work there.

As a Fair Trade Tourism certified business, you will join a diverse portfolio of tourism businesses that enjoy enhanced staff morale, greater staff retention and improved operations as a result of ethically and economically sound business practice.

You’ll have the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals and create joint marketing strategies to further strengthen your product offering. In addition, Fair Trade Tourism certified businesses are able to access developmental and marketing support through our own training tools and a wide network of business development service providers and donors.

Certification is available for accommodation, activities, facilities, food services, attractions and volunteer programmes. Our current portfolio includes everything from backpackers to 5-star lodges; township tours to whale-watching cruises, and a whole lot in between.

The process

Fair Trade Tourism operates the world’s first and still only Fair Trade Tourism certification programme. The programme was developed 10 years ago and became the first tourism certification programme in Africa to be recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council in December 2011.

Tourism businesses in southern Africa interested in Fair Trade Tourism certification should answer the five easy questions on the Fair Trade Tourism website to determine their eligibility to participate in the system.

If eligible, businesses proceed to the initial application, which will ask specific questions to allow the system to generate an appropriate application form. 

The full application will require the uploading of a number of supporting documents and the payment of a fee to FLO-Cert for document review.

If the application is approved by FLO-Cert, an on-site audit will be scheduled.

Audit fees are available under Certification Fees and Costs.

During the on-site audit, FLO-Cert auditors will verify compliance with a number of criteria relating to business practices and HR, community resources, cultural heritage and environmental practices.  

Once all required areas of compliance have been met, Fair Trade Tourism certification will be awarded.

Fair Trade Tourism certified tourism businesses will be required to report online annually, including the uploading of a number of supporting documents.

An on-site audit will occur every three years.

Click here to read more about Fair Trade Tourism.

 

 

Certification FAQs

Who can apply for Fair Trade Tourism certification?

Tourism businesses (accommodation, activities, attractions, facilities, food services and volunteer programmes) in South Africa that have been in operation for a minimum of one year. 

Start your journey

How can the travel trade (travel retailers and wholesalers) work with Fair Trade Tourism?

We work in partnership with the local and international travel trade to promote Fair Trade Tourism as follows:

  • Trade partners can use the Fair Trade Tourism label to indicate that a business is certified, and thus raise awareness about Fair Trade Tourism to their clients. Many of our partners actively work to increase the number of Fair Trade Tourism certified businesses featured in their brochures as a way to show commitment to responsible tourism.
  • Tour operators can put together, market and sell Fair Trade Holidays. A Fair Trade Holiday must include a minimum amount of Fair Trade Tourism certified businesses; the tour operator/s must be approved for Fair Trade Tourism; and a set contribution must be paid to the Fair Trade Tourism Development Fund.
  • In addition, Fair Trade Tourism provides valuable tools such as market-segmentation studies and online training modules for the travel trade and sales staff who want to increase their knowledge of Fair Trade Tourism.

How can tourism service providers (such as wheels operators, guides and professional conference organisers) become affiliated? 

Tourism service providers can be listed on the Fair Trade Tourism Register for inclusion in Fair Trade Holidays. The online application process is available here

How do I apply?

Tourism businesses in southern Africa interested in Fair Trade Tourism certification should answer the five easy questions on the Fair Trade Tourism website to determine their eligibility to participate in the system.

If eligible, businesses proceed to the initial application, which will ask specific questions to allow the system to generate an appropriate application form.

Start your journey

What does certification entail?

If eligible, businesses proceed to the initial application, which will ask specific questions to allow the system to generate an appropriate application form.

The full application will require the uploading of a number of supporting documents and the payment of a fee to FLO-Cert for document review.

If the application is approved by FLO-Cert, an on-site audit will be scheduled.

During the on-site audit, FLO-Cert auditors will verify compliance with a number of criteria relating to business practices and HR, community resources, cultural heritage and environmental practices. 

Once all required areas of compliance have been met, Fair Trade Tourism certification will be awarded.

Fair Trade Tourism certified tourism businesses will be required to report online annually, including the uploading of a number of supporting documents.

An on-site audit will occur every three years.

What are the costs?

Costs of Fair Trade Tourism certification fall under three categories:

  • Audit costs
  • Travel costs
  • User fees

Click here to read more about these costs.

How long is my certification valid?

With the implementation of the new certification system, certification will be valid for three years. Tourism businesses will be audited online annually and on-site every third year.

What are the benefits of certification?

Certification provides recognition of best practice economically, socially and environmentally. It provides both internal management tools as well as market access. Read what certified businesses have to say about certification.

Does Fair Trade Tourism have any national/international endorsement?

Fair Trade Tourism is proud of the following accolades:

  • Winner in the 2011 Top Gender Empowered Company: Travel Tourism & Entertainment for Topco Media’s 8th Annual Top Women Award
  • Finalists in the Tourism category of the 2011 BHP Billiton Achiever Awards
  • Winner in the 2010 Africa Investor Tourism Awards under Best Sustainable Tourism Investment category
  • Winner in the 2009 Imvelo Responsible Tourism awards under the Chairman's Award category
  • Finalist for the 2009 Drivers of Change Award under the Civil Society Award category
  • Shortlisted in the 2008 Africa Investor Awards under the Best Initiative in Facilitating SMME Tourism Investment category
  • Finalist in the 2007 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards
  • Winner in the 2007 SangoNet NGO Web Awards
  • Winner of the 2006 Guardian, Observer and Guardian Unlimited Travel Awards in the Ethical Travel Award category
  • ToDo! 2005 Special Award (handed out at Berlin ITB, 2006)
  • Winner in the 2005 Imvelo Responsible Tourism Award (South Africa) for best practice in the awareness raising category

Does Fair Trade Tourism work with other certification schemes in the region?

Fair Trade Tourism is the secretariat of the Sustainable Tourism Certification Alliance Africa (the Alliance).

The Sustainable Tourism Certification Alliance Africa, formerly known as the Sustainable Tourism Network Southern Africa (STNSA), is an alliance of sustainable tourism certification stakeholders in Africa, with an initial focus on countries in southern and East Africa.

The Alliance aims to enable an integrated approach to sustainable tourism certification throughout the continent.

Which tourism businesses are currently Fair Trade Tourism certified?

Click here to view certified businesses.

Into which countries does Fair Trade Tourism plan to expand its certification programme? 

Fair Trade Tourism certification is currently available in South Africa, Madagascar and Mozambique.

Fair Trade Tourism has a mutual recognition agreement with the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label in the Seychelles and with Responsible Tourism Tanzania in Tanzania. It will work towards the establishment of mutual recognition agreements with sustainable tourism certification schemes in Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya. Expansion into other African countries will be considered thereafter on a case-by-case basis.