Dear FTT friends & family,

As the year draws rapidly to a close, we would like to applaud you for your continued dedication to supporting and doing tourism the Fair Trade and responsible way.

Despite weathering some very difficult times over the past few years, you diligently maintained your passion for, and commitment to, people, planet and providing a quality experience. May you reap the rewards of a happy and loyal team, a supportive and engaged community, and being the preferred choice for travellers and trade partners who recognise that the resultant experience you offer is the future of tourism.

Before embarking on an exciting year ahead, here are a few highlights from the year that was. The journey has reminded us in countless ways how much stronger we are together…

Face-to-face at last!

A huge thank you to Point B Guest House and its team for welcoming us into its beautiful, typically Capetonian venue, to Uthando South Africa (& Sadeika) and The Vineyard Hotel & Spa for delicious snacks, and to Spier and Jan Harmsgat Country House for the wine tasting.

And, of course, to all of the businesses who made the evening so inspiring by sharing a story and a gift of how they embrace Fair Trade and responsible tourism in their businesses even in - and sometimes especially in - the toughest of times.

What a privilege to be part of such an amazing group of businesses and individuals... Let’s continue to support each other and to welcome more into the fold.

Sharing experience & innovation

A spirit of transparency and willingness to share is characteristic of the FTT family, and the past year+ has given us an opportunity to network how we have pivoted, innovated, and dug in even deeper to make sure tourism is a force for good.

Quarterly webinars in 2022 included:

  • Creating a local, sustainable F&B experience - experience shared by Three Tree Hill and !Kwattu - San Spirit Shared

  • Impact monitoring - lessons from Witsieshoek’s global best accolade at WTM for monitoring its local economic impact, and global developments shared by FTT

  • Collective efforts and consolidation of back end tourism services and innovative benefit sharing to maximise efficiencies for small / independently owned accommodation providers - experience of the African Safari Collective

  • Demonstration of the new online framework and sustainability management system by FTT

For those of you who weren’t there, the year before included selected topics of relevance to address the challenges of the times and concurrent priorities for sustainability in tourism. A recap of our quarterly line-up for 2021 included:

  • Communicating your FTT USP - Green Heart Tourism and FTT on shifting market trends, demand for sustainability, and FTT’s “Keep it Real” sustainability marketing and communications toolkit

  • Plastic pollution in times of COVID - BDO-South Africa shared impact context and realities, while Bahia Mar in Mozambique shared how they’ve eliminated single-use plastic in their operations

  • Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency presented the new global platform to unite the industry around taking tangible, immediate climate action

  • FTT shared its new strategy and vision for the way forward, based on member feedback and priorities

2023 already has an exciting list of potential topics and we’ll be canvassing members in January 2023 to see which ones are of interest and importance to them.

New sustainability framework

View the detailed standard

Digital support platform

There is also an option for users to provide their own recommendations about relevant goods & services that they have sourced. These “peer pointers” provide a centralised repository of locally available options as tested by industry.

The entire system will serve as a dynamic, ‘living’ pool of support, being co-populated by FTT and users over time, thus providing ongoing opportunities to improve and adapt as technology and best practice evolve.

Digital platform available to all members of FTT

Marketing & market access

We have also continued to secure opportunities for preferential market access for FTT members and to raise awareness of the brand globally. Activities included:

  • pursuing and securing partnerships with online booking platforms to feature FTT-certified businesses;

  • participating in select, high-profile global movements such as the Glasgow Declaration, Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency, and the Tourism Impact Alliance; and

  • supporting destination marketing organisations by providing product presentations to global offices, and co-developing Fair Trade and responsible tourism-themed itineraries.

FTT will persist in its efforts to ensure that businesses that embrace the Fair Trade way of doing tourism are featured as leaders in the destination. Through collaboration and partnerships, we hope to normalise the practice of transparently demonstrating benefits to the destination as integral to a quality offering based on sustainability principles. Our vision is that this way of doing business may become the basis for destination positioning and branding. Stay tuned for updates…

May the year ahead be prosperous and peaceful, and may we continue to co-create just, inclusive, and sustainable travel & tourism.

Yours in Fair Trade & responsible tourism,

Lisa Scriven

Program Manager, Fair Trade Tourism