1. Sustainability Management & Legal compliance
We commit to sustainability management, practiced by these following actions:
- Sustainability and responsible tourism being the core value of HERITAGE TOURS, the Founder cum Proprietor monitors and takes the responsibility to implement the same.
- To have a sustainability mission statement that is communicated to customers, partners and suppliers and in website for public communication.
- To have an accessible and written sustainability policy that aims for a reduction of the negative social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts of the company’s activities; and includes employee related health and safety aspects;
- To collaborate and actively involved in external forums and working groups which are supportive to sustainability in tourism;
- To ensure company’s transparency in sustainability by public reporting and communicating;
- To ensure that all staff are fully aware of our Sustainability Policy and are committed to implementing and improving it.
We commit to complying with all national legislation, regulations and codes of practice.
2. Internal management: social policy & human rights
We commit to sustainable internal management by having clear written and well-communicated social policy that includes the following principles:
- To grant employees the freedom of employment and contract termination with notice (ideally minimum one month) and without penalty
- To include labor conditions according to national labor law and a job description in the employment contract;
- To provide medical and liability insurance according to the national law;
- To grant employees fixed paid yearly holiday and sick leave and unpaid annual leave allowance;
- To have health and safety policy for employees which complies to national legal standards;
- To obey national concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment
- To provide periodic guidance and training for employees on roles, rights and responsibilities regarding health and safety issues. This includes fire and relevant natural disasters;
We commit to practice human rights by ensure the enforcement of following practices:
- To declare not to hinder trade union membership, collective labor negotiations and representation of members by trade unions;
- To prohibit discriminations, regard to recruitment, conditions of employment, access to training and senior positions, or promotion in terms of gender, race, age, disability, ethnicity, religion/beliefs or sexual orientation;
- To ensure all employees have an equal chance and access to resources and opportunities for personal development through regular training, education;
3. Internal Management: Environment and community relations
We commit to practice environmental protection and enhance community relations by ensuring the enforcement of following practices:
- Set copy and printing machines by default to double-sided printing or other forms of paper saving modes;
- Implement measurements to reduce brochure wastage or an ‘internet only’ policy;
- Comply with the national legislation concerning waste disposal;
- Take action to reduce the amount of (non-refillable) plastic bottles of drinking water for office use;
- Implement waste reducing methods when using ink and toner cartridges for printing and copying, whenever feasible;
- Financially encourage employees to use public transport or sustainable means of transport;
- Reduce transport related impacts by tele-work, tele/video meetings, work-at-home policies or other means;
- Maintain and properly check motorized company vehicles, to reduce emissions and energy use and make sure they comply with the legal emission standards,
- Provide periodic guidance, training and/or information to all staff members, about their roles and responsibilities with respect to internal environmental practices;
- Contribute to the protection and preservation of local historical, archaeological, culturally, and spiritually important properties and sites, and not impede access to them by local residents;
We try to ensure that vehicles used on tours do not cause more than average pollution. We believe that transport is an important aspect of sustainable tourism, and we do our best to decrease the average pollution level.
We commit to this by;
- Selecting the most sustainable options considering price and comfort when selecting transport options to the destination;
- Including sustainable (public) transport to the point of departure for the international/long distance journey;
- Considering and giving preference to more sustainable alternatives when selecting transport options for transfers and excursions in the destination, taking into account price, comfort, and practical considerations;
- Integrating and/or promoting one or more sustainable holiday products/packages based on a recognised methodology, including sustainable transport, sustainable accommodations, and sustainable activities.
Wetry to achieve a tourism supply chain that is fully sustainable. The partner accommodations play an important role in achieving this, and are stimulated and motivated to adapt sustainable practices.
We commit to this by;
- Motivating and encouraging partner accommodations to become sustainably certified;
- Preferring and selecting accommodations that are locally owned and managed;
- Selecting accommodations that employ local communities;
- Encouraging accommodations to follow best practices/trainings on responsible tourism;
- Giving clear preference to accommodations that work with internationally acknowledged (e.g. GSTC recognised) and/or Travelife certification;
- Offering incentives to accommodations that are actively engaging in sustainability;
- Ensuring that through our accommodation supply chain, the rights of children are respected and safeguarded.
- Working with accommodations and restaurants that incorporate elements of local art, architecture, or cultural heritage; while respecting the intellectual property rights of local communities;
6. Excursions and activities
We value animal and community welfare extremely high and aims at tours that only leave a minor footprint. We are safeguarding the authenticity of the communities and the natural environment, and are strongly against harming wildlife and polluting the environment.
We commit to this by;
- Advising guests on behaviour standards during excursions and activities with a focus on respecting the local culture, nature, and environment;
- Not offering any excursions that harm humans, animals, plants, natural resources such as water and energy, or which are socially and culturally unacceptable;
- Not offering any excursions in which wildlife is held captive, except for properly regulated activities in compliance with local, national, and international law;
- Not being involved with companies that harvest, consume, display, sell, or trade wildlife species unless it is part of a regulated activity that ensures that their utilisation is sustainable and in compliance with local, national, and international law;
- Promoting and advise our guests on excursions and activities which directly involve and support local communities by purchasing services or goods, traditional crafts and local (food) production methods, or visiting social projects;
- Promoting and advising our guests on excursions and activities which support local environment and biodiversity such as visiting protected areas or environmental protection projects;
7. Tour leaders, local representatives and guides
Weaim at involving as many locals as possible by employing them in the tourism business. We stand for a fair and safe working environment that supports and respects local communities.
We commit to this by;
- Ensuring that all employees have a written employment contract, including labour conditions and a job description, and fully understand the terms and conditions;
- Preferring to work with local tour leaders, local representatives, local tour guides, porters, drivers, cooks, and other local staff in case of equal ability, and provide training as required;
- Paying tour leaders, local representatives, guides, porters and other local staff contracted by us at least a living wage that is equal to or above the legal minimum or relevant industry standard;
- Ensuring that our tour guides, hosts, and other employees under contract are qualified and trained regularly;
- Having our tour leaders, local representatives and guides inform clients on relevant sustainability matters in the destination (e.g. protection of flora, fauna, and cultural heritage, resource use), social norms and values (e.g. tips, dressing code and photography) and human rights (e.g. sexual exploitation);
- Training our employed tour leaders and local representatives on the avoidance of sexual exploitation of children. This will include training on how to check the requirements concerning exclusion of child abuse;
We aim to maximize positive impacts and minimize negative impacts at destination to ensure the sustainable development of the places that we operate in.
We commit to this by:
- Consider sustainability aspects in the selection process of new destinations and possibly offer alternative, non-mainstream destinations;
- Not selecting destinations in which tourism leads to structural negative local effects, (unless the company’s involvement results in clear counter balancing effects);
- Support biodiversity conservation, including protected areas and areas of high biodiversity, through financial contribution, political support, and integration in product offers;
- Not promote souvenirs which contain threatened flora and fauna species as indicated in the CITES treaty and the IUCN ‘Red List’; or historic and archaeological artefacts (except as permitted by law);
9. Customer communication and protection
Customers welfare and information are very important to us. At HERITAGE TOURS, we ensure clear and constant communication and high protection to our clients.
Prior to booking, we commit to this by:
- Ensure that customer privacy is not compromised;
- Make product and price information clear, complete and accurate, with regard to the company and its products and services, including sustainability claims;
- Provide destination information, including sustainability aspects, which is factually correct, balanced and complete;
- Clearly inform (potential) direct customers, about sustainability commitments and actions;
After booking and during holidays, we commit to this by:
- Provide Information to consumers about the natural surroundings, local culture and cultural heritage in the holiday destination;
- Inform consumers about key sustainability aspects and issues in the destination and receive recommendations on how to make a positive contribution;
- Inform customers about risks and precautions related to health and safety matters in the destination;
- Keep a contact person and a telephone number permanently available for emergency situations;
- Provide clients with documented guidelines and/or codes of conduct for sensitive excursions and activities, to minimize negative visitor impact and maximize enjoyment. When possible, guidelines are developed in collaboration with relevant NGO’s and the affected community;
- Provide customers with information about commercial, sexual or any other form of exploitation and harassment, particularly of children and adolescents;
- Inform clients about applicable legislation concerning the purchasing, sales, import and export of historic or religious artefacts and articles containing materials of threatened flora and/or fauna in the destination;
- Motivate clients to use local restaurants and shops (where appropriate);
- Inform clients on sustainable transport options in destinations, when feasible;
- Encourage clients to donate to local charity and sustainable initiatives;
After holidays, we commit to this by:
- Measure systematically client satisfaction and take into account the results, for service and product improvements;
- Include sustainability as an integral part of the research into client satisfaction;
- Have clear procedures in case of complaints from clients;