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Report Sustainable Tourism 2018

Klaartje Geerts
Thursday, June 6, 2019

Report Sustainable Tourism 2018

We achieved plenty again in 2018! Read more on this and about our plans for 2019!

PUBLIC REPORT Sustainable Tourism - RESULTS IN 2018

CO2-emissions

  • We compensate CO2 emissions from all Shoestring, Koning Aap and YourWay2GO trips (as a whole, I.e. both flight and land arrangement) as standard. In addition, we compensate the C02 emissions from the study trips of our staff. Lastly, we compensate the C02 emissions from trips made by all of our Dutch tour leaders.
  • In 2018 we made your journey CO2 neutral by investing in climate projects in Ghana (clean ovens), Taiwan (wind energy) and Thailand (solar energy), in collaboration with South Pole (www.southpole.com ). These three climate projects reduce or avoid greenhouse gases and in compensating, we not only help the climate but also more than 33,000 people! Read here how this works: https://feelingresponsible.org/en/co2 . We jointly purchase CO2 credits with a number of other travel organisations and this group is growing!
  • In 2018, we compensated 33,467 tonnes of CO2 emitted through the trips of Koning Aap, Shoestring, YourWay2GO and Entdeck die Welt via the aforementioned projects.
  • Together with 10 other Dutch tour operators and 2 universities of applied sciences, we have set ourselves the goal of easily mapping out CO2 emissions from travel packages. A special calculator has been developed for this purpose and is used in calculating the emissions of all Koning Aap and Shoestring trips.

Website

  • All information concerning the green character of our tours for all brands (Koning Aap, Shoestring, YourWay2GO and Entdeck die Welt) is now easily found together in one place. See:  www.feelingresponsible.org 
  • Within this dedicated site, the blog section includes interesting articles, facts and information: https://feelingresponsible.org/en/blog
  • Our websites show a number of green tips (in a broad sense). These tips are named Écht op reis? for Koning Aap and Hoe groen kun je gaan? TIP for Shoestring. You will find these tips spread between the day-to-day descriptions of most of our trips with approximately 3 to 4 of them appearing per trip.

2019: We want to continue to develop the website by adding information about the tour leaders, their stories and photos. We continue to develop the blog section of the site together with our IT department.

Tour leaders

  • We use more and more local tour leaders. We already use (only) local tour leaders for Shoestring but this is happening more often with Koning Aap too.
  • In March 2018, the Dutch tour leaders received training as mentioned below and ECPAT gave a presentation.
  • All tour leaders are informed about the sustainability training program "Leading the Way". Dutch tour leaders must have completed this by 1/1/20. Local agents have been informed and must encourage their own tour leaders and guides to follow the training. Quarterly updates are given to those that have successfully completed the training. Over 200 tour leaders have followed this training so far.
  • In May 2018, the tour leaders in South Africa received training. Particular attention was given to sustainability and there was a brainstorming session with practical examples.

 

2019: Training was given in Indonesia and Malaysia in February 2019.  Leading the Way training for tour leaders and motivation to local agents and tour leaders to continue to follow it. 

Local agents

  • Through the certification of our local agents (I.e. Travelife, Tourcert or local variant) the likelihood of more sustainable product (accommodation and transport) is naturally increased. At last count no fewer than 29 of our local agents are certified or on the way there!
  • Our local agents undertake many local initiatives in the field of sustainability. Some examples are; The Cook Islands where our agent aims to rid the islands of plastic by using re-usable aluminum water bottles; our local agent in Nepal, Royal Mountain Travel, contributes to a cleaner climate! They have invested in 2 new electric cars and employed female drivers to drive them; Charmission, our local China agent has donated 4000 trees in the Tengger Desert in collaboration with China Green Foundation's Million Forest Project and our agent in Madagascar organises team building events for office staff, guides and drivers that include the planting of trees and reforestation.   

 

2019: All local agents have signed our new Code of Conduct (Der Touristik Group)We continue to encourage certification and a forward-looking approach. We will make an inventory to see how we can improve the sustainability of transportations and accommodations used.

 

Projects

  • Travellers with Koning Aap and Shoestring can choose to donate to one of our local projects. This is now possible via the online booking system. In 2018, an amount of €7560 was donated. For comparison, in 2017, that amount was only €1505!
  • On Feeling Responsible (https://feelingresponsible.org/en/projects) it is clearly shown where our contributions go for each of the projects and annual updates are given.

 

2019: We further stimulate our clients to make these donations. During the booking process clients can elect to give a donation in place of their loyal client discount.

 

Voluntary work

We offer two volunteer projects and both are related to animals. In Ecuador we have the primate center and in Thailand, the elephant camp. We do not want to offer any volunteer projects that involve work with children. YourWay2GO is our brand that offer the volunteer projects. This is because the organisation of these extensions takes a lot of time and individual customisation making it less suitable for the group travel departments.

Excursions

Guidelines and codes of conduct with regard to 'sensitive' excursions (for example visiting national parks and indigenous peoples) to be communicated to our clients via Feeling Responsible. For example, the following blog post talks about animal excursions (https://feelingresponsible.org/en/blog/excursions-with-animals).

 

2019: Continue to keep informing local agents, staff and tour leaders concerning animal excursions and encourage tour leaders to inform our clients locally about this.

 

Office

  • In August 2018, 20 staff participated in the Beach Clean Up day. Between the beaches of IJmuiden and Zandvoort they cleared up all the plastic.
  • In October 2018, the entire office emptied out into the surrounding area and removed all waste.
  • In November 2018, 20 staff were involved in the Nature work day at Lange Bretten in Amsterdam. During the Nature work day, they worked hard to restore a piece of land in their own country.
  • In December 2018, the whole office collected foodstuffs to be donated to the local food bank.
  • Our office is equipped with all kinds of oxygen-containing plants, for a better internal climate.
  • The Sustainability team consists of Klaartje Geerts (Product), Marisa Luijks (Sales groups), Brigit van Luijk (YourWay2GO), Arbel Goudriaan (Sales groups), Marleen Blikman (Tour leader coordinator) and Simone Rijs (Marketing).
  • Every 3 weeks we have someone come to the office to give massages; furthermore, we offer a discount for staff wanting to join Sport City and Onefit (gyms).
  • Once every 3 months we show documentaries with a sustainability theme. These take place in the morning between 09.00 and 10.00 and are mandatory for our staff.
  • 2018 Christmas packet: organised by our office in Belgium with local products. Staff had the option to donate the full cost of their packet to charity and over 25 people did this.
  • We monitor our energy, gas and water usage so that we can work out where to reduce in the future.
  • The Sustainability team meet together once every month. There is more money/time/room available for activities in and around the office.

 

2019: Koning Aap (also in Belgium), Shoestring and YourWay2GO must apply again for Travelife certification.