We protect children from sexual exploitation

Did you know that FTTSA is the local Code (the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism) representative in South Africa?

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.

The Code

As part of this mission, The Code employs the following six criteria which members of the tourism industry must adhere to once they join The Code:

  1. Establish an ethical policy against sexual exploitation of children;
  2. Train personnel and staff members;
  3. Introduce a clause about being a member of The Code in contracts with suppliers;
  4. Provide information to travellers in the form of brochures, web pages or other materials;
  5. Provide information to “key persons” at the destination;
  6. Report annually on the implementation of actions associated with these six criteria

The Code represents one of the first initiatives to define the role and obligations of tourism companies with regard to the issue of child sex tourism. The goal of The Code is to work with travel and tourism companies to combat this crime.

We believe that, by endeavoring to meet the six criteria of The Code, tourism companies can integrate child protection into their business operations. The six criteria were formulated to turn child protection principles into concrete actions. In this way, they will uphold their commitments towards sustainable and ethical tourism by taking tangible actions to help protect children from sexual exploitation.

40 South African tourism businesses have signed The Code to date. For more information, please refer to www.thecode.org

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Meet Ellen from !Xaus Lodge

When she stepped onto the stage at Melrose Arch to accept !Xaus Lodge’s 2010 Imvelo Award for responsible Tourism, Ellen Bok represented the Community Owners of !Xaus Lodge, an extraordinary success story. But Ellen was also there because of the role she had played in the lead-up to winning the award.

!Xaus means “heart” in the local Nama language and Ellen has a big one. When asked about receiving the award on behalf of the community, she said “I am happy, because I see that those of us who work hard to make a success, can teach others that there is always an opportunity.”

The FTTSA certified !Xaus Lodge, is the only private concession in Southern Africa’s Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Jointly owned by the ‡Khomani San and Mier communities, the Lodge is a positive example of what can be achieved in community-based tourism with  public-private partnerships. Since 2007 !Xaus Lodge has contributed more than R7,5 million of income to the area. Developing !Xaus Lodge as an excellent eco-tourism property in an economically limited area has been a journey with challenges and learning. For Ellen, the opportunity of formal employment at !Xaus Lodge was the first she had had in the area, and she joined the team on the first day as a kitchen hand. She quickly became part of the team, operating with logistical constraints that include a 720km round-trip to a major shopping centre, extreme temperatures and an unfenced operation in a game park with lions, leopard and hyena.

Today Ellen is the assistant manager at the Lodge, with responsibility for the entire food and  beverage side of the operation.

Ellen Bok

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FTTSA recognized by Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)

FTTSA is one of the 10 first certification bodies to be recognized by Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). We would like to share with you what this means and why we are proud of being recognized by GSTC.


GSTC serves as the international body for raising increased knowledge and understanding of sustainable tourism practices, promoting the adoption of universal sustainable tourism principles and building demand for sustainable travel.

GSTCis the first global, multi-stakeholder organization focused on promoting sustainable tourism and is currently active in all World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) regions, including Africa, The Americas, East Asia and the Pacific, South Asia, Europe and Middle East.

There are so many certification bodies within tourism around the world and GTSC’s goal is to unite the labels and create a common standard for tourism certification labels.

Some of you might be familiar with the international ISO 65 standard, focusing on best practice for bodies operating a product certification system and the South African SANS 1162, The National Minimum Standard for Responsible Tourism. But globally GSTC is the only organisation promoting sustainable tourism.

At the heart of this work are the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria. These are the guiding principles and minimum requirements that any tourism business or destination should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources, while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.

To develop these criteria, the GSTC Partnership consulted with sustainability experts and the tourism industry and reviewed more than 60 existing certification and voluntary sets of criteria already being implemented around the globe. In all, more than 4,500 criteria were analysed and the resulting draft criteria received comments from over 2000 stakeholders. Since the launch of the criteria in October 2008, the GSTC Partnership focused on engaging all tourism stakeholders – from purchasers to suppliers to consumers – to adopt the criteria.

Why apply for recognition?

The purpose of the GSTC Process is to recognize and reward genuine practitioners of sustainable tourism, which in turn builds confidence and credibility with consumers. Based on this, many travel and tourism organizations and major distributors have publically committed to offering sustainable products and service that have been through the GSTC Process exclusively. GSTC-Recognized standards (such as FTTSA) are the foundation of the GSTC Process and will give certifications programs the necessary credibility to provide GSTC-Approved or GSTC-Accredited status.


We will try to explain to you how GTSC’s process works. GSTC has 3 steps and a standard can be 1. Recognised 2. Approved and 3. Accredited

1.      Recognised

The first step is to get recognized by GSTC. Any entity that has developed or owns the rights to a sustainable tourism standard can apply for recognition. The standard must take into account the socioeconomic, cultural, and environmental impacts of tourism, both positive and negative, as well as sustainable management. This can be a certification or verification program, standardization body, hotel chain, tour operator for its commercialization chain, etc.

GSTC-Recognized means that your sustainable tourism standard has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Accreditation Panel and deemed equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism.


 2.     Approved

Going forward from recognition you can apply to get GSTC-Approval. GSTC Approved means that a certification program is using a GSTC-recognized standard and is following processes and procedures that have been reviewed and approved by the GSTC. Businesses certified by an approved certification program can also use the GSTC Approved language and logos and can expect favourable positioning in the market place, among other benefits.

Any certification program that uses an already GSTC-Recognized Standard may apply for GSTC-Approval. The program should also have rules for the application of the standard, transparent and impartial verification procedures, and auditors who are technically competent in sustainable tourism and conformity assessment. GSTC will follow ISO trends in verification and conformity assessment procedures.


3.      Accredited

The third step of the process is the full accreditation of a certification program. This is the most comprehensive and strenuous status of the three stages, meaning that the accreditation body has determined that the certification procedures meet international standards for transparency, impartiality, and competence.

The process to become accredited requires working with a GSTC endorsed accreditation body. To be endorsed, an accreditation body must be a member of the ISEAL Alliance or a member of IAF with a Multilateral Recognition Agreement, as well as be in compliance with ISO/IEC 17011and GSTC requirements.

A certification body using a GSTC-Recognized standard submits an application and other required documentation to a GSTC endorsed accreditation body of the Certification Body’s choosing. The complete process and fee structure for evaluation are set by the accreditation body; GSTC does not influence or intervene in this process.

As the system is still in its infancy, only GSTC-recognition is currently available with Approved and Accredited steps to be added shortly. FTTSA is very pleased to be recognized and will work towards accreditation going forward.




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FTTSA and SAT have signed a joint marketing agreement to introduce the concept of Fair Trade Tourism to the Australian market. As part of this, our Marketing Manager recently participated in a 10-day whirlwind road-show of New Zealand and Australia. Close to 900 travel agent, as well as all major wholesales selling Africa and media representatives attended the show as it visited Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. The show took the form of a talk-show, hosted by popular Australian drag-queen Verushka Darling, ensuring that all visiting South African products had optimal exposure to the invited guests.

Tim Charody (travel journalist and filmmaker) being interviewed by Verushka Darling (hostess)

FTTSA’s Marketing Manager Katarina is talking to Verushka Darling

The audience were very positive to the Fair Trade Tourism message, and FTTSA has already received numerous requests for more information on how to incorporate the Fair Trade Tourism message into collateral and sales efforts.

The Australian market has a high awareness of Fairtrade (the black, blue and green label below). 66% of the Australians have trust in the Fairtrade label and 45% recognize the Fairtrade label. In 2010 Australia experienced a 5% increase in awareness of the Fairtrade Label (now up to almost a quarter of the population) compared to the same time the previous year. And amongst consumers proactively engaged in sustainable behaviours (LOHAS), recognition of the Fairtrade Label was over 84%.

Why are we reporting on Fairtrade figuers? Well The FAIRTRADE Mark is now the most widely recognised social and development label in the world and the more awareness of the Fairtrade label the greater opportunites for creating awareness about Fair Trade and Fair Trade Tourism.

In 2011 South Africa welcomed over 100 000 Australian tourists and going forward, we hope to welcome many Fair Trade Tourism visitors from this (for FTTSA) new and vibrant market!

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Action packed weekend in Soweto

Chantal Stansfield

Chantal Stansfield was the lucky winner of an action packed weekend in Soweto in collaboration with FTTSA, Getaway MagazineSoWeToo, FTTSA-certified The Soweto Hotel & Confreence Centre and FTTSA-certified Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers. The weekend had a Fair Trade Tourism Focus and Chantal will be blogging about her trip on Getaway Blog.

Follow the blog to see what she was up to in Soweto. The first night she spent at The Soweto Hotel & Conference Centre located on Walter Sisulu Square.

Here is a sneak peak…Many more posts to come!..

The Soweto Hotel & Conference Centre

I won a fantastic weekend in Soweto through the Getaway, Fair Trade Tourism South Africa and SoWeToo. The weekend was to include various activities not usually associated with common tourist activities or air-conditioned tour buses.

I was picked up from Park Station Gautrain by Zandi (the owner) and Sipho (my driver for the weekend) from Aahaa Tours. They are a tour company which is part of ‘So We Too’ – an entity formed by seven Soweto-based tourism businesses owned by young entrepreneurs determined to give people a real, tactile experience of Soweto.

My first stop was the Soweto Hotel – a rather inconspicuous building in the bustle of Kliptown, adjacent to the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication. The hotel exterior is not elaborate or ostentatious at all but feels modest given its humble surroundings. I’ve been in the exact same square before but mistook the side of the hotel for an office building of sorts.

To read the whole blog go here.

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Travelmole writes about focus on sustainable tourism certifying

Tuesday 16 October Travelmole published an interview with FTTSA Excecutive Director Jennifer Seif.

Jennifer Seif of Fair Trade Tourism South Africa talks to Valere Tjolle of Vision on Sustainable Tourism: Tour operators – pay fair prices and be transparent

Valere Tjolle:  Can you give me a brief outline of the FTTSA current work?

Jennifer Seif: Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) is scaling up its programme of work, reaching out to Africa to grow supply of Fair Trade Tourism products while also stimulating demand in Europe and other key source markets. This work is funded primarily by the Swiss State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO) over a four year period. Fair Trade Tourism is based on a product standard that certifies sustainability at “firm” level, plus a trade standard that certifies fair commercial relationships in tourism value chains. Combined, these standards result in Fair Trade holidays to Africa.
There are currently 14 holidays for sale in Europe. Over the next four years we will grow demand by bringing products from eight countries into the system (Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Tanzania) and encouraging tour operators to develop and market holidays to the region. We hope that the model developed in the South will provide the basis for a future international Fairtrade mark for tourism, which will provide an effective means of bringing sustainable products to market. High volumes of consumers in Europe as well as North America know and trust the Fairtrade mark and expanding its scope to tourism will enable us to talk to travelers about sustainability in a language they understand and are loyal to.

VT: Which roles have climate change, halting the loss of biodiversity, supporting regional economy, travel slow, consume less, in your certification standards?

JS: The Fair Trade Tourism Standard is aligned to the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria and was one of the first globally to achieve GSTC recognition. The Fair Trade Tourism standard assures business commitment to sustainable production, biodiversity conservation, fair labour standards, local economic development and human rights. Additionally, Fair Trade Tourism highhlights the importance of sustainable trade in tourism, predicated on the principle that CSR and similar initiatives in the North must be accompanied by fair prices, equitable risk sharing and minimizing economic leakage from destinations and from economically poor communities within them.

VT:  Which e.g. 3-5 exemplary FTTSA businesses would you highlight to give our readers an idea of your accredited establishments in Europe?

JS: The Fair Trade Tourism product portfolio is extremely diverse, counting established as well as community based enterprises and targeting accommodation as well as activities, voluntourism programmes and packaged travel. There are Fair Trade Tourism places to stay and things to do for everyone from backpackers to families to luxury travelers. Check out:

  • Spier wine estate in Stellenbosch near Cape Town – a business committed to triple bottom line sustainability that has a huge positive impact on workers, communities, society and the environment.
  • Calabash city and shebeen tours in Port Elizabeth – responsible township tours that leave meaningful and lasting benefits in historically marginalized communities.
  • Bulungula Lodge on South Africa’s iconic Wild Coast – 40% owned by a rural community and delivering authentic cultural experiences to guests
  • Soweto Hotel– an urban chic experience in South Africa’s most famous township, providing a gateway for cultural and business tourism in Johannesburg
  • Motswari Private Game Reserve in the Timbavati (greater Kruger) – safaris that make a difference to staff and rural communities.

To view the full list of certified products visit http://www.fairtourismsa.org.za

VT: What added value do you think that GSTC will give you?

JS: FTTSA’s plans to scale up supply and demand are predicated on working collaboratively with sister certification programmes. GSTC recognition, approval and accreditation will help to facilitate this by providing third party endorsement of standards and labels.
Market access initiatives by the GSTC require higher volumes of certified products. Until we collectively address supply side gaps, certification won’t have the desired impacts. This is a common problem that all certifies should work to address collectively

VT. What is your opinion of Rio+20?

JS: Inclusion of tourism in the final outcome document was a significant achievement. Going forward, sustainable tourism will be framed within broader debates about sustainable consumption and production. The days of tourism being a “special” case for development are over. Tourism must embrace and in many instances catch up with debates taking place in other sectors, inclusive of sustainable trade, decent work and human rights.

VT: If you had 2 wishes

1 What should tour operators and travel agencies be committed to as a common rule?

JS: First and foremost: Paying fair prices and being transparent about pricing to customers. In addition, using products with reputable sustainability credentials and communicating this practice to customers. Sustainable is not automatically more expensive and the travel trade needs to help destinations communicate this reality to consumers.

2 What would you like the powers that are ie South Africa/African countries/UN/World governments to do that would foster the growth of organisations like FTTSA?

JS: Create incentives for businesses to operate more sustainably. Not simply subsidies for certification, which ultimately distort the market, but preferential access to training, showcasing by national tourism boards, access to public supply chains and investment mechanisms.

Find out more about the Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa certificate and see all their certified tourism businesses HERE

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

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Meet Joyce at Leshiba Wilderness

Shandukani Joyce Mulaudzi was born in 1973 on top of the Soutpansberg mountains on the western side of Louis Trichardt on the farm Bangor. In 1985, during the apartheid years, and the forced removals, Joyce’s father bought a house in the village of Saamkom. Here, Joyce continued with school and passed matric. After graduating she worked as a domestic worker and a shop assistant. The farm Bangor had by now been bought by the Rosmarin family and named Leshiba Wilderness. The family created a nature reserve and the village where Joyce was born was restored and turned into a lodge in the form of an authentic Venda village. In 2001, Joyce was asked to to cover for her sister as a housekeeper at Leshiba, during her maternity leave. John Rosmarin says that Joyce spoke English well, showed huge promise, had a shining personality and worked incredibly hard. After only three months, she was employed permanently.

Joyce went from being a domestic worker, to a chef’s assistant and eventually became the chef at the Venda village. With support from the Rosmarin family and hands-on training by her managers, Joyce gradually took on more responsibility at the lodge and became the manager, together with her colleague Lukas. Joyce and Lukas now handle the e-mail bookings, guest payments, manage the staff, do the buying and stock-taking, and are both chefs. They make a remarkable management team and the Rosmarin family are immensely proud of them. The circle has been completed and Joyce is back in the Venda village, which was once her father’s home and her own birthplace.

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FTTSA in Ethical Living

During 12 months you will be able to see FTTSA in Ethical Living, a magazine that caters to a small, but focussed target market in South Africa that wants to live an ethical and environmentally conscious lifestyle.

In the October issue we introduce the readers to Fair Trade Tourism to let them know what we are all about and we are helped by Bernie and Betty (whose stories you know by now if you have been reading our blog) telling their stories how Fair Trade Tourism changed their lives and careers.

You are able to see a teaser on http://www.ethicalliving.co.za/magazine-2/october-2012/south-africa-a-fair-tourism-destination/.

The October issue is out on the racks now; make sure you pick it up so you can read the whole article.

Ethical Living has a nice website with news and comments from all over the world and is a good source for information if you are interested in an ethical lifestyle.


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Go on a Fair Trade Holiday

Are you thinking of where to go on holiday next? Well, South Africa is a given, but where to go in South Africa? Let us give you some tips of already packaged Fair Trade Holidays.

You going on a Fair Trade Holiday will benefit the people working in tourism in South Africa. How?

Unfortunately many establishments in South Africa pay very little wage and the employees are often not contracted, which leaves them unprotected and very vulnerable under their employer. At a FTTSA-certified establishment, the employees are ensured to receive a fair pay for their work and they work under fair conditions, meaning e.g. that all employees have a contract, they are treated equally and have the right to training, well many of the criteria you and I probably take for granted as an employee.

There are more benefits involved in a Fair Trade Holiday. A tour operator selling a Fair Trade certified package guarantees to pay the establishment before the guest arrives and the tour operator have long term contracts with the lodge, which brings a lot of security, especially for smaller establishments, having a hard time recover from a last minute cancellation or breach of a short term contact.

In addition to this, a part of your payment for the holiday will end up in a development fund which will be used for development projects across South Africa.

There are currently 14 Fair Trade Tourism certified holiday packages on the market in various source markets. 8 European tour operators and 6 South African tour operators are selling Fair Trade Tourism certified packages.


Imagine Reisen (4 packages)

Kuoni (1 package)

Dreamtime (1 package)


SKR (1 package)


Kuoni (1 package)

Baobab (4 packages)


Travelunique (1 package)

TUI (1 package)


Abang Africa

Uluntu Africa

Private Safaris



XO Africa

So book your next Fair Trade Holiday and explore wonderful South Africa!

To read more about the development fund you can read a previous blog post here. For more information about  certification standards required for staff and other functions at an establishment, click here.

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Meet Jason Arends at Stormsriver Adventures

Born and bred in Port Elizabeth, nature was not part of Jason Arend’s life. Nice times, parties and the wrong friends were. He did a short stint in the St Albans prison, but made it through and came out alive. That was the point where Jason decided to change his life for the better.

He wanted to move away from PE, so Jason and his girlfriend moved to her mother’s house in Tsitsikamma. Jason’s future mother-in-law organised a job for him at Stormsriver Adventures during the summer holidays, where he attended a canopy tour safety guide training and became a qualified safety guide. This is when he fell in love with nature and guiding. Time flew, the summer holiday passed and Jason found himself jobless again. But eventually, through much perseverance, he managed to get a position in maintenance at Stormsriver. “I knew I had to grab this chance with both hands so I did everything to the best of my abilities”. Another chance came along when Jason was afforded the opportunity to attend a Field Guide course. With support from the Stormsriver management and an inspiring mentor, Jason successfully completed the course. This means that he is now ready to take the next step in his career and become a full-time guide.

“I enjoy my job very much and I never want to do anything else! I was swimming in a deep ocean and Stormsriver Adventures’ ship came past and took me on board and gave me the chance to become a better person, developing me with life skills and practical skills. My message to the youth is: no matter how hard it seems, it can be done!”

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