Fair deal wanted in sub-Saharan Africa tourism
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
During the just concluded World Travel Market in London last week, November 10-13, the United Nations is being urged to introduce an international registration system to power Fair-trade Tourism to new levels in sub-Saharan Africa.
This needs the seriousness of a body such as the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to reassure travellers that fair-trade claims are genuine, says the WTM Global Trends Report, in association with Euromonitor International.
According to Fiona Jeffrey, chairman of WTM, "this would encourage major tour operators and travel agencies to broaden appeal, development, and distribution of fair-trade trips beyond the niche market." He added that combined influence can inspire and replicate the boom that came after supermarkets put fair-trade, branded items on their shelves.
Jeffrey further said "there is evidence to suggest a much wider audience is tourism. Certification would hasten an upsurge in ethical travel that benefits local communities and cultures, environment, and wildlife."
This can transform the labour force's economic lifestyle, and tourists are increasingly seeking real-life experiences. They are conscious of conservation issues and want to spread financial spin-offs from leisure stays in locally-owned lodges and game reserve, guided tours and adventures.
"The current trends resonating with travellers across all regions include the desire for environmental responsibility, social interaction, authentic travel experiences and fair trade practices," Caroline Bremner, head of Travel and Tourism Research at Euromonitor International commented.
There is enormous scope for Africa to build on the potential. The fair-trade movement first began in Europe during the 60s. It was launched by South Africa in 2001 when they saw its significance for tourism and fair play.
The Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa trademark has been awarded to thirty companies adhering to criteria, decent wages. However, twenty-five international tour operators carry the logo in their catalogues. The FTTSA example may expand into Mozambique and Botswana.
Author: by Yunus Salieu