South American people standing on balcony

Fairtrade holidays: travel experiences that support local people

The Greenredeem team are big fans of Fairtrade Fortnight (Monday 24th February — Sunday 8th March 2020). For each week of February on the Greener Living blog, we’re featuring an industry in which fair trade is flourishing. 

This week we’re looking at some exciting developments in fairer travel. But before we get on the road with that, we need to talk about our big message for this month…  

Not many people know that Fairtrade supports the planet, as well as its people

Asked to define “fair trade”, most of us would talk about how fair trade helps improve the lives of small-scale producers across the world. Those immensely hard-working people who grow our food and harvest the resources used to manufacture the goods that we buy. 

We might mention how fair trade brings them reliable prices, living wages, safer working conditions, regulated working hours or even investment into local schools and medical facilities. 

How many of us would remember to point out how good the Fairtrade movement is for the environment? Very few of us, if we go by a quick poll of the Greenredeem team! 

Tune in next week to find out how fairer trade is bringing ecosystems back to life… 

…in the meantime, have you ever heard of fair trade travel? 

There’s no sugar-coating it. We have to acknowledge how damaging travel can be. Not only for the environment. Due to emissions and damage caused by over-tourism at must-see ‘beauty spots’, but also for the people who live in the places we want to visit. 

The local jobs associated with tourism in developing countries generally pay very little. The bulk of the profits creamed off by owners and tour operators. Working conditions can be very harsh. Long hours, little regard for proper health and safety, and almost no job security are common. 

On our sun-loungers, we feel like we’re in paradise. Yet the waiters that bring our cocktails, the chefs that prepare our breakfast buffets and the maids that plump our pillows each morning might feel very differently. 

Fair trade resort in the Seychelles

One answer? Fair trade package holidays

If a holiday of a lifetime in southern or eastern Africa is on your bucket list, make sure that your luxurious stay doesn’t come at the expense of local people. Look for the Fair Trade Tourism mark.  

Fair Trade Tourism certifies dozens of resorts, guest houses and excursions across South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Botswana, Namibia, the Seychelles (pictured above), Tanzania and Kenya.

To gain the certification, resort and tour operators have to demonstrate strong links with local communities and suppliers. They must invest in job security, educational projects, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy infrastructure plus safer water and sanitation. Tourism operations also have to work to reduce their own consumption of water and energy, and commit to reducing, reusing and recycling their guests’ waste.

People walking through a plantation in Sri Lanka

A holiday that digs deeper into fair trade

If you’re more of a doer than a lounger, how about a holiday with the opportunity to spend time with the people behind the Fairtrade products we buy? 

Much more than a holiday, Meet The People Tours offer an unforgettable cultural experience. Small groups are taken to meet fair trade producers and see development projects far off the beaten track. These ‘light footprint’ tours are organised in partnership with Traidcraft, a UK-based charity devoted to fighting poverty through trade.

These ‘light footprint’ tours are organised in partnership with Traidcraft, a UK-based charity fighting poverty through trade

Meet The People Tours blend genuine cultural exchange through guided trips to Fairtrade-certified farms and factories with chances to revel in incredible scenery, encounter fascinating wildlife and take in the more ‘touristy’ cultural sites. 

Teacher showing a traveller how to throw a pot

Would you like to see more holiday and tourism operations become fair trade certified? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter

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