The case for selling responsible tourism

The demand for fair, sustainable and ethical products is increasing in many of South Africa’s most important source markets. Most noticeably, the consumption of Fairtrade products has increased exponentially.
This is an indication that consumers are looking for credible ways to ensure that the products they buy are fair and sustainable. Third-party certification like Fairtrade provides this assurance. Fair Trade Tourism is currently the only credible Fair Trade certification programme in tourism, giving tour operators that promote Fair Trade Tourism an opportunity to gain access to the growing segment of people who buy Fairtrade regularly in their daily life.

  • Shoppers spent €4.9-billion on Fairtrade products in 2011 (up by 12% since 2010).
  • Six in 10 consumers have seen the Fairtrade mark, and nine in 10 of those trust it.
  • Fairtrade products are sold in over 120 countries.
  • Source: Fairtrade International 2012

There is also anecdotal evidence that more and more holidaymakers are looking for fair and sustainable options when deciding where to travel. Fair Trade Tourism gives an instant indication that the product is operated in line with Fair Trade standards, such as fair wages and working conditions; fair operations and purchasing; fair distribution of benefits; and respect for human rights, culture and the environment.

  • 50% of British consumers believe that their holidays should help local people and the local economy.
  • One in three UK holidaymakers believes that holidays should have an environmental rating.
  • German responsible tourism consumers are willing to pay a bit more for their holiday.
  • 18 to 25% of Swiss travellers are keen to go for a responsible holiday – provided that such products are easily available on the market, offered in a transparent and credible way at reasonable costs.
  • 7.2-million Dutch people (43%) feel it is important that there is an eye for sustainability in their holiday.

Sources: ABTA 2011, Globescan 2011