we certainly didn't see this coming... Travel and tourism launched into
2020 with optimism and energy, yet has ground to a painful halt.
Uncertainty dominates the dialogue, both regarding the trajectory of the
pandemic worldwide and the ability of the tourism sector to recover
from its implications.
Although FTT does not profess to offer insights beyond those already on
the table, the world has certainly been shaken to the reality of our
interconnectedness and fragility. Also to the power of an individual and
of a single business to make a real difference in their community, the
power of the natural environment to bounce back, and the shared humanity
that so many had forgotten.
We have been inspired - though not surprised - by the lengths to which
the #FTTFamily has gone during the initial stage of the crisis to ensure
that people are taken care of. We are convinced more than ever that
industry will realise that these interpersonal connections - and
ecosystem ones - have to be respected not just in times of crisis, but
in every-day business.
crisis has shone a light on many of the unFair Trade dynamics in the
sector and the pause over the coming weeks gives us all time to reflect,
to assess, and to redefine how we want travel and tourism to look going
forward; to acknowledge the impacts we have; and to unpack the trade
dynamics that need to be addressed. It has given us time to remember
that humanity comes before commerce and that we need to look out for
each other however we can. That is what friends and family do and we
humbly salute the unity we have witnessed during this time.
FTT FAMILY RALLIES & REPURPOSES
sooner had the global shutdown commenced than the Fair Trade Tourism
Family started to accept the inevitable - that their tourism businesses
would suffer catastrophic impacts. Bearing the burden of that knowledge
did not, however, deter them from using any and every asset in their
arsenal to do what comes naturally to a business that commits to Fair
Trade Tourism principles: take care of its people.
From navigating the ever-changing goalposts set out under the UIF's
COVID-19 TERS (temporary employee relief scheme) fund to fundraising to
supplement residual salaries, staff were front of mind. Surrounding
communities were right there too and FTT-certified businesses innovated
and repurposed their operating environments to ensure that no one would
be left behind.
Shack opted for a straight donation campaign on BackaBuddy and at the
time of writing had raised over R20,000 of its R100k target.
Umlani opted for raffle ticket sales on Quicket, offering 2 prizes for a complimentary stay at Umlani to entice donations.
customers have been targeted in both campaigns with reminders of the
personal connections made over the years, all in the spirit of Ubuntu.
Uthando (Love) SA has
always had a business model whereby traveller's philanthropy supports
social development projects. During the pandemic lockdown, it has used
the existing operating infrastructure in place to ensure that projects
in most urgent need and those in a position to alleviate some of the
lockdown pressures were recipients of its stepped up drive for this
At the time of writing, more than R1.2 million had been
directed to organisations in the greater Cape Town area, including
feeding schemes, sustainable agriculture projects and food gardens,
animal welfare organisations, old age homes, and more.
has come both from from the travel-trade and from travellers who have
experienced Uthando's model through project tours in the past and
connected with the spirit of the organisation and the people whose lives
has continued to support its partnerships with local communities, as it
has done for many years. At this time, food was deemed the most urgent
need. Their initial focus was on the provision of food parcels and
delivery, then rapidly shifted to ramping up sustainable food production
in their gardens and providing sustainable food garden training and
basic supplies to local people.
Sani Lodge Backpackers
in KwaZulu Natal also focused on food security and has also been
investing in building related value derived from its on site organic and
home-made production to appeal to future travellers. Wholesome,
healthy, natural ingredients on offer in a pristine, remote location
will have certain appeal for the traveller of tomorrow.
Isibindi Africa Lodges
teamed up in KwaZulu Natal, raising funds through the Isibindi
Foundation to purchase and deliver needs identified as most urgent -
masks, sanitisers and food parcels - to the communities surrounding its
was quickly followed by an enterprise development initiative to produce
masks! Women in local communities were taught how to sew protective,
cloth face masks and the Isibindi teams donated material, equipment and
their time to make sure it all came together.
Isibindi has also started a COVID-19 Courage Campaign fundraiser on www.givengain.com
to provide emergency relief to the +/- 30,000 people living in the
communities around its operations. At the time of writing, they had
raised over R18,000 of the R700,000 target.
took a different approach based on it context and completely repurposed
the lodge: it was closed to travellers and converted into a Safe Home
for the elderly and those deemed most vulnerable.
prospective residents all understood that although they would be free
to leave the Safe Home at any time, they would not be able to return to
the fenced compound of the lodge. Additional measures to prevent
contamination included all goods entering the premises being sanitised,
while operating considerations and staff training were informed by
Although the Safe Home was a rather foreign concept for a culture
accustomed to such an open, rural lifestyle, 71 local people were
welcomed on "check-in" day!
During their stay, some of resident gogos
were more than happy to get stuck into a range of activities to keep
them occupied and to give back to their lodge, including weaving brand
new mats from grass that grows around the property. They also repaired
zips on the tents and took every opportunity to give thanks to the
ancestors through song and dance.
no time to waste, the Bulungula Incubator set up a fundraising campaign
to offset some of the ongoing operational costs related to the Safe
Home and then set its focus on the next task - creating educational
videos in isiXhosa for the neighbouring communities.
Qulela le Corona! - a series of 8 educational videos in isiXhosa
Finally, Ubuntu Beds, which was co-founded by Once in Cape Town
owner, Kim Whitaker, after herself recovering from COVID-19. Building
on the experience of how other countries responded to the corona virus
and, more importantly, what they would have done differently, Ubuntu
Beds was set up to unite hospitality businesses (and their empty beds)
with the healthcare professionals fighting COVID-19 on the front lines.
providers can become an Ubuntu Beds partner by offering their rooms in
the vicinity of health care facilities and agreeing to adhere to strict
health and safety protocols. Health professionals can then avoid lengthy
commutes to and from their shifts, affording them a bit more rest,
while also avoiding the risk of bringing the virus home to their
the time of writing, over 250 healthcare professionals had signed up
for this initiative while just over 200 hospitality partners had joined
the cause. But there are many more healthcare bums than there are beds
in the Ubuntu database - can you help?
Play your part.
like these by the FTT family of tourism businesses affirm exactly what
Fair Trade Tourism is all about - recognising that businesses are part
of a broader community and that one always has a choice to do good. We
hope that the sector re-set will show clearly that this is what the
entire industry should be pursuing in terms of trade ethics going
Thank you #FTTFamily for shining a light on the path.
want to interrupt the dominant theme to bring your attention to cause
for celebration: the #FTTFamily has, yet again, been honoured for its
achievements at doing tourism in a way that creates better places for
people to live in, and better places to visit. We thank them for leading
the way and showing the world that Fair Trade Tourism businesses are
here for good.
2020 INSPIRATIONAL AFRICA RT AWARDS
2020 Inspirational Africa Responsible Tourism Award winners were chosen
from the accolade's gold winners over the past five years.
finalists are celebrated at an awards ceremony at WTM Africa; this
year, however, they were announced online due to the
"postponement" of the event. They were, nonetheless, truly
Of no surprise at all to us, FTT-certified businesses completely dominated the winners of the 2020 awards:
To learn why these were chosen by the judges, visit the Responsible Tourism Partnership website here.
course, there are a thousand questions being debated online, in every
Zoom meeting, and in our dreams (or nightmares) about the future of
travel and tourism. And the truth is that we will only have answers to
them when the gift of hindsight is upon us...
Among the topics that have recurred on the myriad discussion boards and
online groups, four are: what the future of travel will look like;
whether sustainable tourism will emerge as the dominant path; how
pricing should be set going forward; and how destinations are continuing
to market in the meantime. Below, we've provided some links to
interesting articles and discussions for you to peruse.
those of you who missed the very candid and very public debate on
Tourvest CEO Martin Wiest's Facebook page about cancellations, pricing
going forward and whether the traditional trade structures have any
place in the future of travel and tourism, too bad... it has been taken
It prompted some critical thinking and a very eloquent related communication from Transfrontier Parks Destinations
in which they confirm that they will not be freezing rates for 2021 - a
year in which occupancies will most certainly be lower than in
reasons rest on the fact that with a business model that relies on
being lean, the only place they could further reduce costs is to cut
employment. They "will not be part of a business system that will take
money from the marginalized of our country to offer a cheaper holiday to
the tourists of the Wealthy North. There is a point at which we have to
stand up and say, 'This is fair value based on our cost structure and we are going to walk the path of sustainability.'"
encourage travellers to daydream about our Island now and consider a
visit later, when the time is right. In the meantime, we’re excited to
join them in their living rooms for this virtual getaway,” said Brad
Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico.
Cape Town Tourism entices future travellers with the promise that the Mother City is "worth waiting for":
may be miles away right now and you may not be able to reach us, but we
promise you that when you get here, you will experience exactly why
Cape Town is worth waiting for."
Visit Scotland put together a video focusing on the age-old pining call that "Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder". Watch it below:
are all learning how precious life is in these difficult times. Life is
enjoying a meal with friends and family. Life is roaming in the
mountains and glens or relaxing by the seaside. Life is the excitement
of exploring a new city or town. No one knows what the future holds, but
we are all in this struggle together. We must live apart to save lives,
for now. Let this distance bring us closer. [...]"
Visit Rwanda's #VisitRwandaSoon campaign that features culture, history and nature
"We stand for unity, for being together.
That's why we know this difficult time will pass. ❤️"
SA GOVERNMENT'S CORONA VIRUS RESOURCE PORTAL
The national government portal includes
an overview of relief mechanisms in place
guidelines for health and safety
toolkits and posters in a range of official languages
fitness guidelines during lockdown
tips on how to explain COVID-19 to kids
expert opinion on the virus
a full repository of related regulations
emergency hotline and Whatsapp support line numbers
Access the resource portal here. NB .co.za domains are required to post this website on their home page.
news, stories and resource repository compiled to support a sustainable
tourism response to COVID-19. Key resources include:
Company policy examples
Hospitality in downturn - An Emergency Toolkit
Food Safety and Coronavirus: a comprehensive guide
Destination recovery plans
Keep Calm: A (Coronavirus) communicator's guide to crisis management
UN WORLD TOURISM ORGANIZATION (UNWTO) COVID-19 RESPONSE
UNWTO has compiled a number of resources, news articles and global
reports related to the status and impact of COVID-19 on the tourism
sector. It can be accessed through the link below (click on the photo).
Two of the most recent reports released by the UNWTO include "COVID-19 - a global insight on travel and tourism impacts" (21 April 2020), accessed here
And "100% of Global Destinations Now Have COVID-19 Travel Restrictions" (28 April 2020), accessed here