Our sourcing criteria and certification standards | Fair Voyage

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Our sourcing criteria and certification standards

We only promote ethical travel experiences and tour operators with a proven commitment to sustainability. To independently verify local adherence to responsible tourism standards, we mostly rely on credible third-party monitoring and certification organizations, to the extent available and as applicable for each destination.

Our vision is that all travel companies must be certified by a an audit standard that is also accredited by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). This means that they operate consistent with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), and can prove this through an independent on-site audit. Learn how the GSTC Criteria align with all 17 UN SGDs.

On this page, you will find a list of the responsible travel certification organizations which we have already identified as meaningful sourcing criteria for our current and near-term destinations. As we expand globally, we continue to screen and add more monitoring organizations and certification bodies as relevant for accommodations and tour operators in our new destinations.

What are your global responsible & sustainable travel criteria?

For many destinations globally, there are no credible local or regional responsible tourism initiatives in place that independently certify or monitor responsible and sustainable tourism standards. For all such cases, we rely on reputable global initiatives to independently verify our partners' commitment to sustainability. As a minimum, in the absence of more relevant local or regional certifications, we require our tour operator partners to have obtain at least Travelife Partner or TourCert Check status, depending on which scheme is available to them locally.

, Our sourcing criteria and certification standards

Travelife

For us, Travelife is the most credible international responsible tourism certification organization for tour operators and accommodations. They have the most comprehensive set of sustainability standards across social and environmental impact criteria. 

Travelife offers an entry-level award program called Travelife Partner. It serves to familiarize tour operators globally with internationally recognized sustainability standards and prove a basic commitment to sustainability. Furthermore, it helps businesses to improve how they manage their environmental and social impact on the destinations they operate in.

To monitor and verify actual practices for tour operators and accommodations who wish to advance to the certification level, Travelife conducts a rigorous on-site audit.

, Our sourcing criteria and certification standards

TourCert

TourCert is a credible responsible tourism certification organization for destinations and companies that is particularly well-known amongst tour operators and travellers in German-speaking countries. 

Similar to Travelife, TourCert offers an entry-level award program called TourCert Check – which serves to familiarize tour operators globally with internationally recognized sustainability standards and prove a basic commitment to sustainability.

What are your regional responsible & sustainable travel criteria?

In addition to local criteria, we also screen our tour operator partners against relevant regional responsible and sustainable tourism qualifications.

At the moment, we work with Rainforest Alliance Certified tour operators in Central America as well as Fair Trade Tourism approved tour operators and accommodations in Southern Africa.

We are actively screening regions globally for relevant standards and will add more responsible and sustainable partner organizations as we continue to add more destinations worldwide to our offering.

, Our sourcing criteria and certification standards

Fair Trade Tourism

Fair Trade Tourism is a non-profit organisation promoting best-practice responsible tourism in Africa. They spread awareness about responsible tourism to travellers, assist tourism businesses to operate more sustainably and facilitate the Fair Trade Tourism certification and memberships programmes.

Its certification label stands for fair wages and working conditions, fair purchasing and operations, equitable distribution of benefits and respect for human rights, culture and the environment.

Blood Lions 'Born to Live Wild'-pledge

Fair Voyage is a proud signatory of the Blood Lions' ‘Born To Live Wild’ tourism campaign and pledge. We are committed to promote and encourage Africa as an authentic, wild and responsible tourism destination and therefore do not support any breeders or facilities that offer interactive wildlife activities.

In addition, we support the conservation efforts of the recognized conservation community and only promote safaris from verified responsible tour operators. Captive-bred and hand-reared predators have no conservation value at all.

Blood Lions is a documentary that exposes the commercial breeding of predators, cub petting, walking with lions and canned hunting in South Africa. It reveals the unethical and malicious practices behind interactive wildlife tourism. This led to the 'Born To Live Wild' pledge as a powerful call to end these practices and promote responsible wildlife tourism.

 

, Our sourcing criteria and certification standards

Rainforest Alliance

The Rainforest Alliance is an international NGO that supports businesses and destinations to implement responsible principles. They work together with local forest and agriculture communities to help them create a sustainable balance between people and nature.

Rainforest Alliance is currently our main benchmark for sourcing new partners and experiences in Central America.

 

What are your local responsible & sustainable travel screening criteria?

We screen our tour operator partners against applicable local qualifications specific to a destination.

If there is:

  • an independent organization, that
  • offers a local monitoring program for the most relevant responsible and sustainable travel issues pertaining to a specific destination (or an activity at such destination), and
  • is open for all duly licensed tour operators to participate in without excessive costs;

Then we make it mandatory that:

  • All our tour operator partners who promote such destinations (or activity at the destination) must be participating with the available program and prove their commitment to sustainability by meeting the applicable minimum standards.
  • This requirement also applies to global or regional tour operators who wish to partner with us, even if such destinations are only an insignificant part of their global offering, and even if tour operators do not wish to promote such destinations via Fair Voyage.

, Our sourcing criteria and certification standards

Ecotourism Kenya

Ecotourism Kenya is the country’s own organisation that promotes sustainable and responsible tourism. They offer an eco-rating certification scheme that recognises best practices in business, conservation, community and cultural performance.

, Our sourcing criteria and certification standards

Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project

For Kilimanjaro climbs, we only promote verified ethical climbs that are independently monitored by the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP).

, Our sourcing criteria and certification standards

Responsible Tourism Tanzania

Responsible Tourism Tanzania (RTTZ) is a non-profit organization that encourages and promotes a more sustainable tourism industry within Tanzania. RTTZ believes that the best in Tanzanian tourism is yet to come. So do we! Through our affiliate KiliGATE, we are a member of RTTZ.

What are your sustainability criteria for destinations where credible independent responsible travel audits are currently not yet available?

, Our sourcing criteria and certification standards

Our "Fair Voyage Curated" Standard

Responsible and sustainable tourism certifications are still relatively new in most countries across Africa and lower income regions. Many countries do not yet have meaningful responsible travel audit programs. 

In order to not exclude such destinations completely from our offering, we currently screen individual companies based on our own set of strict criteria. Once meaningful independent audit programs have become available to local operators in a certain destination, we expect all our partner companies to obtain such locally available audit.

Are you a sustainable travel certification organization or non-profit?

Are you a responsible tourism monitoring or certification organization, an NGO dedicated to sustainability issues or an independent researcher, and you would like to cooperate with us?
Yana Pannecoucke
About the author

Yana is our Sustainable Travel Advisor. As Belgian semi-nomadic adventurer with a passion for travel and sustainability, Yana worked in development aid and research on sustainable tourism across continents. She has lived in Kenya, visited Kilimanjaro, climbed Mount Kenya, saw the mountain gorillas in Uganda and went on multiple hikes and safaris all over East Africa.
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