sabi sabi awarded fair trade in tourism mark

October 2004

Sabi Sabi is one of four properties - and the only 5-Star lodge - to become South Africa's first recipients of the Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) trademark.

FTTSA is an independent initiative of IUCN (the World Conservation Union) South Africa that works towards equitable and sustainable tourism growth and development in South Africa.

The accreditation is part of an ongoing commitment by Sabi Sabi to ensure that it's business is responsible and sustainable, and is the latest in a string of awards and accreditations that include a prestigious Imvelo Award for responsible tourism presented last year.

Commenting on the trademark award, Sabi Sabi managing director, Patrick Shorten, said that the company's commitment to the practice of fair trade with regards to working conditions, employment principles, conservation and sustainability go back to it's earliest days, before these issues were in the spotlight.

"As early as 1985, we had instituted employment practises that saw staff rewarded and recognised for their efforts, to the degree that there was a fine line between what we were doing and what was legal under the previous government structures.

"We realised, however, that laying the foundations of a sustainable business that embraced local communities was the only way we would survive and flourish into the future. The policies and decades of groundwork have paid off, and we are proud to put the FTTSA trademark next to the Sabi Sabi logo.

"Our conservation record speaks for itself - our commitment to preserving the habitat and environment for future generations is something that forms the core of Sabi Sabi's philosophy," he said.

Shorten explained that the Sabi Sabi management team is realistic about the coexistence of tourism income and conservation. "It is virtually impossible to have one without the other, and we have to ensure that the funds generated by tourism contribute to conservation; and that on the other hand the conservation policies ensure tourism funds keep coming in.

"This award also proves that it is possible to offer guests an experience comparable with the best in the world, and still subscribe to FTTSA principles," concludes Shorten.

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