The historic Oude Werf hotel has become the latest tourism business to join the ranks of Fair Trade Tourism certified products, boosting the organisation’s foothold as the leading sustainable, responsible tourism practitioner in Africa.
Located in the heart of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape’s beautiful winelands, Oude Werf is the oldest hotel in the country, erected on the site of its first church which was built in 1687 and destroyed by fire in 1710. Its name means “old churchyard” and in its current incarnation has welcomed guests through its doors since 1802.
The hotel is run with a “living green” ethos which sees it recycle most of its waste, generate solar thermal energy and use energy and water efficient devices. In addition, it actively sources eco-friendly and ethically produced goods and produce from local entrepreneurs and emerging businesses.
Together with its sister hotels, The Townhouse and Vineyard Hotel, which are also Fair Trade Tourism certified, Oude Werf is also a founder of the Kids of the Cape Fund, a social investment initiative that supports nine children’s charities spanning education, health, HIV/Aids and feeding schemes.
“We are thrilled to have achieved FTT certification,” says Oude Werf general manager Elanie Fourie. “It shows our commitment towards the environment and our community, both pillars that play a very important role in our business. I would like to thank my team for their efforts and commitment to making this reality,” she adds.
“Becoming Fair Trade Tourism certified is a great achievement for Oude Werf, and means that our entire group of hotels is now part of the Fair Trade Tourism family,” says group sustainability manager Chris van Zyl. “It is justifiable recognition for our commitment to the principles of sustainable, responsible tourism and the lives of our diverse team of people and the communities around us.”
Fair Trade Tourism is a South African non-profit organisation promoting sustainable responsible tourism in southern Africa and beyond. It grows awareness about responsible tourism to travellers; assists tourism businesses to operate more sustainably and facilitates a world-renowned certification programme.
The Fair Trade Tourism-certification programme was developed in 2004 and in December 2011 became the first tourism certification programme in Africa to be recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. It is based on adherence to specific criteria including fair wages and working conditions, fair distribution of benefits, ethical business practice and respect for human rights, culture and the environment.
“We are pleased to see Oude Werf join its sister establishments – The Townhouse and Vineyard hotels – in the Fair Trade Tourism portfolio,” says the organisation’s managing director, Nivashnee Naidoo. “It’s incredible history contains many landmark events, and now it has a new, exciting chapter to add to both its story and ours,” she adds.
Fair Trade Tourism encourages and monitors fair and responsible practices in tourism establishments and activities. Its purpose is to create opportunities for business owners and employees of tourism businesses in developing countries to enter and trade in markets governed by fair practice and transparency.
Added to this, it aims to afford tourists travelling to developing countries the opportunity to travel responsibly and make a difference in the lives of the communities in the destinations they travel to, through responsible purchasing of Fair Trade Tourism products, making the Fair Trade Tourism logo the mark of a good holiday.