We can hardly believe it ourselves, but it was 10 years ago today that we launched Baobab Travel. Initially it was a dream that started with a strong love for Africa and a desire to make a difference. Even if that difference was only small. Baobab Travel, as an UK-based tour operator, started with only two destinations, Tanzania, and Egypt. Here we are 10 years later with a strong portfolio of sustainable travel destinations in northern, eastern, and southern Africa.
The icing on the cake came today with the certification of four of our South Africa holidays as Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) travel packages. We are immensely proud of this achievement, as we are the first tour operator in the UK to provide a portfolio of trips that have been given the stamp of approval by Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA). We now proudly display the official FTT mark, which is endorsed by Fairtrade International (FLO), Transfair Germany, and South African Tourism.
FTTSA developed a system to measure and certify Fair Trade practices in tourism in 2003. Originally designed for individual accommodation owners and local activity providers, now over 60 tourism products in South Africa have been certified. Recently, the certification was extended to tour operators, who support the various Fair Trade partners in South Africa. This ground-breaking initiative allows you as a consumer to extend your ethical purchasing decisions beyond everyday products, such as coffee, tea and fruit, and to include holidays that guarantee a better life for the people of South Africa. Fair Trade Tourism offers Baobab the opportunity to promote and sell certified forms of Fair Trade travel that are economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable.
Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) provides the framework for fair and sustainable development in tourism. It has clear standards of supporting disadvantaged producers and staff along the whole supply chain, paying a fair price, and a fair trade premium for social development in South Africa. Along the lines of fair trade in products, FTT is aimed at improving the living conditions of disadvantaged small entrepreneurs and employees in tourism, at securing their livelihoods, and at enabling them to live in dignity. For the first time, with the new certified Fair Trade Tourism packages, this can be guaranteed to you as tourists.
The Fair Trade Premium is an essential component of the Fairtrade International (FLO) system. It is therefore also an integral part of the Fair Trade Tourism system, with a 5% levy being raised on each travel package. This premium is invested in social development projects in South Africa. However the Fair Trade Premium is NOT passed on to you as a customer, as it is with e.g. coffee & tea. Baobab Travel and its South African partner, Uluntu Africa, decided that we will pay that premium as an indication of our commitment to the cause.
We designed these brand new FTT packages specifically so you can combine a week of Fair Trade holiday with a week of other responsible travelling or the different FTT packages can be combined into longer Fair Trade holidays. We now offer a Fair Trade Tourism certified Cape & Garden Route trip, a Whale Watching trip, Johannesburg, Kruger & Limpopo tour, and a Southern Drakensberg Hiking Trail. Even where we arrange tours in regions, where South Africa has yet to offer FTTSA certified accommodation and/or activities, we always seek out the most responsible options to ensure all our itineraries are themed in a fair trade style.
And our Fair Trade products do actually speak 🙂