Responsible Tourism Tanzania and Fair Trade Tourism signed a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) this month, allowing Fair Trade Tourism to expand into East Africa.
Camps, lodges, and hotels in Tanzania that achieve Level 3 certification criteria from Responsible Tourism Tanzania will now be able to market themselves under the Fair Trade Holiday brand, exposing them to approved travel agents and tour operators worldwide. This provides fair and responsible tourism hotels in Tanzania the ability to achieve certification to market under the Fair Trade Holiday brand and benefit from being fair and responsible travel organizations in a growing industry that is favoring this focus on of tourism.
Responsible Tourism Tanzania’s Level 3 certification is currently the highest certification standard offered by the non-profit organization, whose mission is to promote sustainable tourism development in Tanzania. Level 3 certification is also referred to as the “Tree” level:
“Having operated for a period of time, the member can now prove that their working culture and daily operations are fully integrated into a sustainable and responsible management approach. Systems are in place to monitor and redirect the operations and all the employees understand the triple bottom line approach. This step forms the core of the company culture.” – RTTZ
Level 3 or “Tree” level certification, under the new agreement, now aligns with the standards of South Africa’s Fair Trade Tourism. Other levels include Seed (level 1), Sapling (level 2), and a future fourth level currently in development. Twelve organizations in Tanzania currently have achieved Level 2 (or Sapling) level certification. These include: Kilindi Zanzibar, Manyara Wildlife Safari Camp, Blue Oyster Hotel, Red Monkey Lodge, Unguja Lodge, Mangrove Lodge, Sayari Camp, Olakira Camp, Oliver’s Camp, Dunia Camp, Chumbe Island lodge, and Isoitok Camp.
The agreement between Responsible Tourism Tanzania and Fair Trade Tourism expands Fair Trade Tourism’s reach to now include Tanzania in addition to South Africa, Seychelles, Mozambique, and Madagascar. Fair Trade Tourism, a leading South African non-profit that promotes sustainable tourism development and helps tourism businesses operate sustainably, also operates a certification program. In 2011, the Fair Trade Tourism certification program became the first in Africa to be globally recognized by the GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council).
The agreement between both non-profit organizations shows Tanzania’s dedication to incorporating sustainability in their tourism product to benefit the local community and conserve and protect the local culture and environment. Tourism plays and important role in Tanzania’s economy, contributing to 12.7% of its GDP and 11% of its workforce.
Photo Credit: “Giraffes Arusha Tanzania” by Geir Kiste – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Giraffes_Arusha_Tanzania.jpg#/media/File:Giraffes_Arusha_Tanzania.jpg
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