Certification facts

Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) 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 FTT 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. FTT also made a decision to outsource the auditing function of certification to avoid any potential conflict of interest, and enable FTT to focus on the provision of Business Development Support (BDS) and market access.

FLO-Cert was selected as the outsourced certification body. 

What does FTT certification entail?

Tourism businesses in southern Africa interested in FTT certification should visit the FTT 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), FTT certification will be awarded.

FTT-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).

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

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

FTT certification – helping you make a difference!

Please note:

FTT-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.

FTT certification is currently available in South Africa. A pilot project will be carried out in Madagascar during June 2013 - March 2014, following which criteria will be developed for Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland.

FTT 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.