Sustainable tourism in Africa has received a boost with the signing of a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) between Fair Trade Tourism and Ecotourism Kenya. The MRA sees Fair Trade Tourism recognising Ecotourism Kenya’s Gold eco-certified camps, lodges and hotels which can now be incorporated by approved tour operators into Fair Trade Holidays – holiday packages that represent global best practice in responsible tourism.
These packages feature a minimum of 50% bednights spent in a Fair Trade Tourism certified (or recognised) property, and can also feature certified activities and tours which contribute towards this percentage.
Launched in 2002 and recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Ecotourism Kenya’s Eco-rating Certification Scheme is a sustainable tourism voluntary certification programme that has certified more than 100 facilities across Kenya.
“In line with Fair Trade Tourism, Ecotourism Kenya has a mission to ensure that hotels, camps and lodges have a minimum effect on the environment; that staff are treated fairly and employed ethically; and that, where possible, income generated by tourism finds its way back into the local community” says Ecotourism Kenya Chairman Dr Mohanjeet Brar. “Our MRA with Fair Trade Tourism is an endorsement of Kenya’s leading green accommodation facilities that have demonstrated outstanding best practices in responsible resource use, environmental conservation and are mindful of the welfare of local people” says Ecotourism Kenya CEO, Grace Nderitu.
Fair Trade Tourism is a leading Southern African non-profit organisation promoting responsible tourism development. It grows awareness about responsible tourism to travellers, assists tourism businesses to operate more sustainably and facilitates a globally recognised certification programme. In 2011 its certification standard became the first in Africa to be recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
The organisation’s steady expansion into Africa through direct product certification and partnerships with like-minded certification programmes has positioned it at the forefront of the sub-continent’s sustainable, responsible tourism efforts.
“We are thrilled to have formalised our partnership with Ecotourism Kenya,” says Fair Trade Tourism non-executive director, Jane Edge. “This means that it is now possible to travel the Fair Trade way in eight countries – Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, Seychelles, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana, as well as Kenya.”