(Eastern Cape) – Fair Trade Tourism has started 2017 with a bang thanks to the addition of Shamwari Game Reserve to its portfolio of South African tourism businesses.
Shamwari – one of South Africa’s most high-profile and innovative wildlife conservation areas – has marked its 25th anniversary this year by achieving Fair Trade Tourism certification for all eight of its tourism products. Set on 25,000ha of reclaimed farmland, Shamwari is renowned for its wildlife conservation initiatives and commitment to surrounding communities. In addition to offering a classic wildlife experience, the reserve incorporates the Ian Player Rhino Centre, the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary and its own Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre with a team of veterinarians on hand.
Shamwari’s six five-star lodges, Eagle’s Crag, Bayethe Tented Lodge, Long Lee Manor, Riverdene Family Lodge, Lobengula and Sarili, its wilderness bush camp, Explorer Camp, and volunteer programme, Shamwari Conservation Experience, were all awarded Fair Trade Tourism certification last week.
Shamwari Group General Manager, Joe Cloete, says becoming Fair Trade Tourism certified was a logical next-step in the mission to raise awareness of its sustainable tourism initiatives.
“We are proud to be associated with Fair Trade Tourism’s globally recognized brand and to have met the stringent certification criteria,” says Cloete. “We expect this certification will help us to attract conscientious travelers and create greater awareness about our conservation efforts and engagement with communities.”
Fair Trade Tourism Acting Managing Director Jane Edge adds that a number of additional tourism establishments have been audited and are expected to achieve certification in the coming two months. “This includes our first group comprising community-owned lodges, as well as other lodges and city hotels, she says. “We are close to achieving a portfolio of 200 tourism products across eight countries in Africa,” adds Edge.
Fair Trade Tourism is a not-for-profit company operating Africa’s largest responsible tourism certification programme. Fair Trade Tourism offers certification in South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar and Zimbabwe, and has mutual recognition agreements with certification programmes in Botswana, Namibia, Seychelles, Kenya and Tanzania. There are currently 170 tourism businesses across eight countries in the Fair Trade Tourism portfolio.
Fair Trade Tourism represents global best-practice in responsible tourism and was the first African certification scheme to be recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Applicants need to meet more than 200 criteria pertaining to fair wages and working conditions, equitable distribution of benefits, ethical business practice and respect for human rights, culture and environment.
Fair Trade Tourism certification is based on adherence to stringent criteria including fair wages and working conditions, fair distribution of benefits, ethical business practice and respect for human rights, culture and the environment.