Of course: just staying home is best for our planet. But do you want to experience the world with your own senses? Then choose the most sustainable travel organization!
We try to organise our trips as sustainably as possible. However, this is easier said than done. To prevent misunderstandings, we hereby describe the preconditions within which we organise our trips.
We remain a travel organisation that organises trips to destinations within and outside of Europe. That means that we continue to use international flights, now and in the future. We do, however, try to limit the negative effects of this as much as possible by promoting non-stop flights, offering destinations in Europe that are accessible by train and also by reducing flights in the destination itself.
Naturally, we also continue to strive to make a healthy profit. Without profit, we have no basis to exist. This gives us plenty to consider and often trade-offs have to be made when taking both sustainability and commerciality into account. For example, from a sustainability point of view, it may be better to travel by public bus from Cuzco to Lima (Peru) instead of using a domestic flight. However, the 17-hour night bus along deep canyons will, for many travellers, be a step too far. In this scenario, we make a customer-oriented and commercial decision by using the domestic flight. We have to make these kinds of assessments on a daily basis, while striking a good balance between sustainability and commerce. We want to share these considerations with you in a transparent way.
We want to become the most sustainable travel organisation in Europe (or even the world). It goes without saying that we are certainly not there yet and still have a (long) way to go. We can improve greatly on a number of topics. We want to take many drastic measures in the short term to achieve this goal. For some of you, these steps will not go far enough and implementation will be too slow. That is unavoidable. Within the framework in which we work and in comparison with other travel organisations however, these will be major steps. We would also love to hear your comments in order to improve further still.
For every trip we organize, we strive for a minimal impact on the climate and a maximum positive impact on the local environment. We have listed our sustainable objectives & ambitions. What are we doing now and where do we want to go in the future?
Your trip is CO2 positive - we compensate more than the entire CO2 emissions of your journey. That is not enough though. We also want to reduce average emissions per traveller.
★ Our goal is to reduce these emissions by 10% per traveller in 2020 and by 20% per traveller by the end of 2021.
A non-stop flight has significantly lower emissions than a flight with a transfer. That is why we want to actively encourage our travellers to opt for a non-stop flight. We do this by, among other things, giving our travellers a discount of € 100 per person if they opt for an alternative non-stop flight. In addition, we offer more non-stop flights.
★ We want to ensure that 20% of our travellers opt for a non-stop flight by 2020. For 2021, we have set a target of 30%.
In addition to our steps to limit and offset emissions from our trips and from our office, we also want to organise our information days and club days so that they are climate neutral.
★ From 2020, all our information days and club days will be 100% climate neutral.
In addition to our steps to limit and compensate our travel emissions, it is also important that our office becomes CO2 positive.
★ In 2020, we will compensate 125% of our CO2 emissions.
Domestic flights also contribute towards pollution. However, there are often good alternatives such as the train and bus. This is not possible for all routes.
★ We want to reduce the number of domestic flights within our trips by 30% in 2020 and 40% by the end of 2021. For those domestic flights that we continue to offer, we will explain why we have made this choice.
Traditionally, we have mainly organised trips outside of Europe therefore, an international flight is almost inevitable. By developing more trips in Europe, we offer our customers more options to travel with a reduced carbon footprint.
★ In 2020, we offer 40 different trips in Europe and by 2021; this number will rise to around 100.
The increased number of trips in Europe means it may be possible for our travellers to travel by train to their destination. We want to promote this further still.
★ It is our aim that at the end of 2021 at least 20% of our travellers choose to travel by train to their European destination (instead of by plane).
The most environmentally friendly way to travel to the airport is by train.
★ Our aim is that in 2020 at least 70% of our travellers choose to travel by train to the airport of their departure (instead of by car).
We choose to support a large number of projects in our destinations. We work together with our local agencies for this. Our travellers can also support these projects.
★ We aim to double the donations for our local projects in 2020 and quadruple them in 2021.
We want to give the projects more attention on our websites. This gives our travellers a better picture of what they involve and in this way; we expect to be able to provide more support.
★ In 2020, we will gather further information on our projects and then in 2021 we want to start providing annual comprehensive updates to travellers who have made donations.
By offering local excursions, extra money is spent in situ, directly benefitting the local people.
★ By 2021, we will offer at least 2 optional excursions or tips for each trip so that you can make your visit more sustainable and reduce your carbon footprint.
We have held Travelife certification for a number of years already. In the future, we only want to work on location with agencies that have the same standards and values that we consider important. The best guarantee of this is if they are also certified.
★ At present, 35% of our local agencies have a sustainability certification. We want to increase this percentage to 70% in 2020. All agencies must be certified by the end of 2021.
Animal Welfare is inextricably linked to our policy. After all, travelling and animal suffering do not go together. For this reason, we have nothing to do with any excursions that are linked with animal suffering. Examples of such excursions are elephant rides and swimming with Dolphins.
★ In 2021, we will no longer offer excursions where direct contact with elephants and other animals is possible. Washing elephants for example, will no longer be possible.
At present, we do not measure how much money from our trips ends up with local entrepreneurs and the local community (accommodations, restaurants and transportation). We have decided to develop an Impact Score to provide insight into which part of the payments ultimately ends up locally.
★ In 2020, we want to have calculated the Impact Score for all our trips and in 2021 we want to increase this percentage by 10%.
Our travellers often sleep in small-scale accommodations. These accommodations have more atmosphere and many of our expenses end up in the local economy.
★ With the help of our local agencies, we aim to review our accommodations in 2020. In 2021, we will only use small-scale, locally owned hotels / accommodations. We will no longer use (international) hotel chains.
Plastic waste is becoming a bigger problem. In many places, the plastic accumulates and the waste is harmful. More and more projects are trying to combat the growing mountain of waste.
★ We aim to ensure that by 2021 our travellers no longer use disposable plastic water bottles & plastic bags during their tour. We want to achieve this by actively providing all travellers with tips in 2020 and by working together with our tour leaders/ guides and local partners to greatly reduce the use of plastic.
Tour leaders play a major role during our trips. Fortunately, our travellers greatly appreciate their contribution and rate them highly in the post-trip survey. Their central role means that they play a major part in making our trips more sustainable.
★ They provide tips and encourage our travellers to buy local products and eat in small, local restaurants.
Regular tour leader training keeps them up-to-date on sustainable travel and our policies.
★ By 2020, 100% of our tour leaders will have completed the "Leading the Way" training. We also want to expand our "sustainability module" - which we discuss during training sessions - and be more active with tips for our tour leaders.
On those trips with Dutch-speaking tour leaders, we aim to line up more trips in succession so that we can minimise the CO2 emissions per trip.
★ In addition to fully compensating the CO2 emissions of airline tickets, we want to increase the percentage of Dutch-speaking tour leaders who fly directly to his/her destination to 50% in 2020 and ultimately to 70% by the end of 2021.