Certification facts

Fair Trade Tourism operates the world’s first and still only Fair Trade Tourism certification programme. 

The programme was developed 10 years ago and in December 2011 became the first tourism certification programme in Africa to be recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

In 2012 FTT received donor support to expand the certification programme to southern Africa. A consultant was contracted to assist Fair Trade Tourism to revise its system to accommodate a greater variety of tourism products and countries.

In February 2013 the revised standard and compliance criteria were available for 60 days' public comment. Fair Trade Tourism also made a decision to outsource the auditing function of certification to avoid any potential conflict of interest, and enable Fair Trade Tourism to focus on the provision of Business Development Support (BDS) and market access.

FLO-Cert was selected as the outsourced certification body. 

What does Fair Trade Tourism certification entail?

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

If eligible, businesses then proceed to the initial application, which asks specific questions and generates an appropriate application form.

The full application requires the uploading of a number of supporting documents.

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 & HR, Community Resources, Cultural Heritage and Environmental Practices. 

Thereafter, an audit report will be sent to the tourism business, highlighting areas of non-compliance. Once all required areas of non-compliance have been met (within the required timeframe), 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 (unless the business is classified as High Risk, in which case ad hoc audits may be required in the interim).

Fair Trade Tourism certified tourism businesses will be allowed to display the Fair Trade Tourismlabel, signalling to the industry and the marketplace the businesses’ commitment to Fair Trade practices. A contract is entered into between Fair Trade Tourism and the tourism business for the use of the label and a fee, based on the number of staff, is payable annually.

In addition,Fair Trade Tourism approves travel retailers and wholesalers (traditionally inbound and outbound tour operators) to sell Fair Trade Holidays, which must contain a percentage of Fair Trade Tourism certified or recognised tourism businesses.  A Fair Trade Tourism development contribution is payable for every night spent at a Fair Trade Tourism certified business. This contribution goes into a separate development fund for use by its beneficiaries (workers at and/or communities involved in Fair Trade Tourism certified businesses).

Fair Trade Tourism certification – helping you make a difference!

Please note:

Fair Trade Tourism certification is now available for the following categories of tourism businesses: accommodation, facilities (such as spas and conferencing), food services, activities, attractions (such as museums or botanical gardens) and volunteer programmes.

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. Fair Trade Tourism 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.