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Best Practices voor een duurzame toekomst
22 september 2007

Dutch Tour operators into partnership with Rainforest Alliance

The new partnership is the latest example of the growing cooperation between NGOs and tour operators in this field. The Dutch branch of the Worldwide Fund for Nature (Wereld Natuur Fonds), for example, has developed its own travel programme in cooperation with tour operators Thika Travel, SNP and Sawadee. Recently too, several tour operators have also entered into partnerships with national organisations that promote sustainable tourism, such as Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA). This NGO encourages fair and responsible business practices by South African tourism establishments. It does so by its own independent trademark, which has so far been awarded to 28 lodges, guesthouses and bush camps in the country that meet the stringent criteria. The big Dutch tour operator, OAD has already integrated several of these accommodations into its South Africa travel programme.
According to Saskia Griep, tour operating manager at Sawadee, the big advantage of the collaboration with NGOs for tour operators 'is that sustainable accommodation can be more easily identified. There are too many different trademarks in this field, so it's good to work with organisations you can trust. We can use the Rainforest Alliance's expertise and Latin American network and its marketing potential. With FTTSA, we can be sure about the accommodation because we know how thoroughly they screen their accommodation. And through our cooperation with Wereld Natuur Fonds we can offer our clients visits to the most beautiful nature spots in the world, while at the time we are supporting the WNF's efforts to conserve these areas.'
Another recent development is the creation of the PASEO programme, that assists small-scale producers with developing tourism products, like (day)tours and tourist accommodation. The programme is an initiative of fair trade organisation Solidaridad. Tour operators and tourists now have the opportunity to experience the daily life of local farmer families who produce coffee, cacao, fruit and cotton, most of them Fairtrade certified.
P+ webtip: Paseo