What is Fair Trade Tourism?

Fair Trade Tourism: the mark of a good holiday

The aim of Fair Trade Tourism is to make tourism more sustainable by ensuring that the people who contribute their land, resources, labour and knowledge to tourism are the ones who reap the benefits.

We do this by growing awareness about responsible tourism to travellers; assisting tourism businesses to operate more sustainably; and by facilitating a Fair Trade Tourism certification programme across southern Africa. Tourism businesses that adhere to the Fair Trade Tourism standard use the Fair Trade Tourism label as a way of signifying their commitment to fair and responsible tourism. This includes fair wages and working conditions, fair purchasing and operations, equitable distribution of benefits and respect for human rights, culture and the environment.

By selecting an Fair Trade Tourism-certified business, travellers are not only assured that their holiday benefits local communities and economies, and that the business is operated ethically and in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, but they will also have a more fulfilling holiday experience.

Travellers can also book a fully certified Fair Trade Holiday. A Fair Trade Holiday is developed by tour operators committed to sustainability and Fair Trade; benefit  workers and owners of tourism businesses by requiring long-term trading relationships, full prepayment and binding cancellation agreements; and a set contribution is paid to the Fair Trade Tourism Development Fund. 

Fair Trade Tourism Development Fund

One of the cornerstones of the Fairtrade system, on which Fair Trade Tourism has been modelled, is the Fairtrade premium. The Fairtrade premium is a sum of money paid on top of the agreed Fairtrade price for investment in social, environmental or economic development projects, decided upon democratically by producers within the farmers’ organisation or by workers on a plantation. In 2011, the Fairtrade system paid EUR65-million to producers worldwide.

The Fair Trade Tourism Development Fund works in a similar way: each time a tour operator sells a Fair Trade Holiday, they will deposit a set amount into the Fair Trade Tourism Development Fund. This Fund is managed as a separate legal entity, and Fair Trade Tourism-certified businesses can apply for assistance with development projects from the Fund. 

The Code

Fair Trade Tourism is the local representative for the Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct (the Code). The Code is an industry-driven, multi-stakeholder initiative with the mission to provide awareness, tools and support to the tourism industry, in order to combat the sexual exploitation of children in contexts related to travel and tourism.

Click here to read more about the Code.