Thesis

From “Fair Trade Tourism” to “Fair Trade Holidays” – A Tourism Innovation Based on a Sustainability Standard

Yannic Fischer (June 2015)

Holidays or Fair Trade Travel Packages1 to South Africa since 2010, which are certified travel packages meeting certain requirements to enhance sustainable development in the destination (FAIRUNTERWEGS 2010c). This concept was launched by Fair Trade Tourism (FTT), a South African-based tourism NGO which has been certifying tourism service providers in southern Africa since 2003 as the first fair trade label in tourism (FTTSA 2012, p. 10). FTT represents a very innovative service standard including a strong focus on social issues (STRAMBACH & SURMEIER 2013, p. 736). While FTT has been regarded as an approach to improve operations on the local level in the framework of national strategies, the initial fair trade concept from Europe referring to commodities was established with the focus on trade practices and agreements that ensure fair trade relationships (MAHONY 2007, p. 400). This is the point where the Fair Trade Holiday approach comes into play since it puts emphases on fair trading relationships along the whole value chain. Tourism business owners and workers in southern Africa are supposed to benefit from this concept by guaranteeing:

  • A fair share of the profits from tourism
  • Fair wages and working conditions
  • Long-term trading security
  • Community development opportunities
  • Access to new markets

Indeed, Fair Trade Holidays represent the first realised attempt to implement such a system for international trade in tourism services (FAIR TRADE TOURISM 2015b). The concept of Fair Trade Holidays is innovative in two respects: 1. It is the first attempt to certify an entire service as it has been done already with commodities such as agricultural products (e.g. bananas or coffee). 2. It represents an initiative stemming from the South being implemented by actors from the North. Usually, it is the other way around.

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