The Western Cape's renowned Montagu Country Hotel is now Fair Trade Tourism certified. Located in Montagu, in the heart of the picturesque Robertson Wine Route on the famed Route 62, it is the only original Art Deco hotel in South Africa and is a perfect halfway stop between Cape Town and the Garden Route.

Originally built in 1875 but destroyed by fire, the hotel was rebuilt in 1922 at the height of the Art Deco movement. It offers guests the chance to turn back time and enjoy wine tasting tours in chauffeur-driven vintage, classic American cars - the hotel has a 1956 Cadillac Sedan de Ville and a 1956 De Soto Fireflight Sportsman.

Montagu Country Hotel is also a great wellness destination with its own health centre offering a range of massages and treatments designed to restore body and soul. Montagu's healing mineral water plays a vital role in this, being used in the hotel's mineral baths, having been pumped from 120m below ground.

The hotel has been taking its responsibility to people and planet seriously for some time, investing in energy saving initiatives like solar, low-energy lighting, compost-making with biodegradable waste and water-saving initiatives.

"We are very active in our local community, providing soup for the village soup kitchen, working closely with our hospice and local Rotary branch which both use the hotel for meetings," says the hotel's general manager, PJ Basson.

"Montagu Country Hotel also supports various schools, charities and churches in the area and ensures that our procurement is kept local, as far as possible, especially where meat and fresh produce is concerned. And most of our staff come from Montagu and the various villages and communities which surround it," he adds.

“We have a strong vision for our hotel here in rural Montagu, and it lined up with the Fair Trade principles. The obvious next step for us was to get the certification done, and associate ourselves with likeminded properties, operators and suppliers. We look forward to flying the Fair Trade Tourism flag!” says Basson.

Fair Trade Tourism is a non-government organisation operating the world's first and currently only Fair Trade certification programme for the tourism industry. The certification programme is based on adherence to specific criteria including fair wages and working conditions, fair distribution of benefits, ethical business practice and respect for human rights, culture and the environment.

"Fair Trade Tourism is delighted to welcome Montagu Country Hotel to its growing collection of certified businesses," says the organisation's managing director, Nivashnee Naidoo. "The hotel affords tourists travelling in this beautiful region of the Western Cape the opportunity to travel responsibly and make a difference in the lives of the communities it supports and is involved with, helping to make Fair Trade Tourism the mark of credibility in the sustainable, responsible tourism arena."

Fair Trade Tourism has expanded its steadily growing portfolio of certified and approved tourism products and operators beyond the borders of the Rainbow Nation into Madagascar and Mozambique. In addition, mutual recognition agreements have been signed with both the Seychelles and Tanzania, allowing products in those countries to be marketed under the Fair Trade Holiday banner.

The organisation encourages and monitors fair and responsible practices in tourism establishments and activities. Its purpose is to create opportunities for business owners and employees of tourism businesses in developing countries to enter and trade in markets governed by fair practice and transparency.

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