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Sustainability management for tour operators


Sustainability Management for Tour Operators

  • February 27h

  • The Hague

  • Naut Kusters


Sustainable tourism: definitions and principles

The market perspective: consumers & b2b

What can you, as a tour operator, do?

How will CBI support you?

S ustainable tourism world tourism organisation 1988


Sustainable tourismWorld Tourism Organisation, 1988

Sustainable Tourism meets the needs of the present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing the opportunity for the future.

It is leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled, while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and life support systems.

Sustainable Tourism - 12 Aims

UN-WTO, Making Tourism More Sustainable, 2007

Economic viability Local prosperity

Employment quality Social equity

Visitor fulfilment Local control

Community wellbeing Cultural richness

Physical integrity Biological diversity

Resource efficiency Environmental purity


Sustainable Tourism

Is not a niche market

All tourism types and products can and should become sustainable!








Sun and beach tourism

Community BasedTourism

Cultural tourism

It is more than visiting nature…

UN definition (2002)

Takes place in natural areas

Sustainable (environment, cultural, social)

Benefits for local communities

Information and Interpretation to visitors


It is more than visiting communities:

Community Based Tourism (CBT)


CBT is tourism managed and owned by the community; supporting environmental, social, and cultural sustainability; provides economic opportunities for local people and enables visitors to learn about the community and local ways of life. 

The responsibility of a company towards it’s stakeholders

(society at large, employees, clients, community, environment etc.)

ISO 26000  CSR Themes

Human rights

Labour practices


Fair operating practices

Consumer protection

Community involvement and development

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

2 the market perspective
2. The market perspective

Consumer trends

In European countries

3-10 serious consumer

studies were conducted

between 1995 and 2013

.... they provide a clear

and growing trend

Consumer awareness
Consumer awareness

87 % of the British (2002) find it very or fairly important that holiday does not damage the environment. 

71 % of British consumers would like to benefit local communities

46 % of the German’s think ‘it is an added value to stay in an environmentally friendly accommodation

80 % of the Dutch want informationon ethical issues in their travel information.

Ethical reputation of a company is an important selection criteria for 45 % of the British consumers.


  • I would like to know whether the holiday company I am travelling with is working to reduce it’s environmental impacts (55 %)

  • I want to be given facts about what the holiday company has achieved in terms of reducing environmental impacts (53%)

Global business trends
Global Business trends

Major Industries have defined clear objectives to become sustainable.

Larger multinationals are taking the lead: driven by brand reputation and investors.

Clear targets are set:

-> 25 % sustainable coffee globally in 2015

-> 75 % of EU cocoa (chocolate) import sustainable in 2020

 To reach the targets local suppliers should become sustainable

Global business trends1
Global business trends

In order to independently monitor performance sector specific global sustainability labels are defined.

 In co-operation between NGO’sand industries

  • Growing pressure on travel industry to take action!

  • Within Europe, ABTA and ANVR travel associations took the lead in supporting their members towards sustainability

  • Partnerships with NGO’s and universities. Supported by the European Union.

  • Develop common industry sustainability standards and tools

Integrated set of tools Tour operators and suppliers (e.g. hotels) - Training - Self check - Management system - Planning and reporting system - Certification - Market access

Commitment from 18 european associations

  • Belgium

  • Bulgaria

  • Czech Republic

  • Croatia

  • Cypress

  • Denmark

  • Ireland

  • Finland

  • France

  • Germany

  • Greece

  • Italy

  • Latvia

  • Netherlands

  • Spain

  • Poland

  • Sweden

  • UK

Commitment from 18 European associations

Brazil, Kenia, Thailand

3 what can you do as a tour operator


3. What can you do as a tour operator

  • Tour Operator

  • Internalmanagement

  • (office andretail operations)

Management control

  • Destination

  • Community

  • Biodiversity

  • Resources

  • Supply Chain

  • Transport

  • Accommodation

  • Excursion

  • Principles of sustainability management

  • Do you have management control?

  • Direct or indirect(e.g. via supply chain)

  • Can it be done without loosing competitive advantage

  • Is the solution / best practise locally available?

  • Do you have the support tools to do it (e.g. checklists)

  •  Travelife has collected best practices which are already implemented by some of the most competitive tour operators.

  •  Implementation tools have been made available for you through the Travelife online system.

  • Internal Management: Environment

  • Sustainable purchasing

  • Energy reduction

  • Waste reduction and recycling

  • Promotional materials fromsustainable paper

  • Water saving

  • Soft Mobility

  • Suppiers (transport, accommodation, excursions)

  • Product development

  • Selecting new more sustainable suppliers

  • Look for certifications, labels, awards, recognition

  •  However sustainable suppliers often not available !

  • B. Motivate your existing suppliers towards sustainability

  • Training and information

  • Distribution of codes of conducts

  • Contract conditions

  • Certification

  • Customer communication

  • Communicate your sustainability policy

  • Provide sustainable alternatives

  • Inform clients about carbon compensation opportunities

  • Inform about do’s and don’t in the destination

  • Inform about illegal souvenirs

  • Promote client donation to local projects

Airports c ould promote more sustainable options
Airports could promote more sustainable options…..

3 how will cbi support you


3. How will CBI support you

Your road towards sustainability

Travelife Certified

Travelife Partner

Travelife Engaged

Stage 1. Travelife Engaged

  • Online training and exam for your sustainability


  • Baseline assessment

  • Guidance on improving your performance.

  • Action planning tool

  • Reporting tool (towards Travelife Partner criteria)

Sustainability report

Planning and Reporting tool



Action Plan

Stage 2. Travelife Partner

  • After compliance with 49 Travelife Partner standards

  • Travelife Partner award and logo

  • B2B featuring of your company and products to

    all other Travelife member companies.

  • Improving and reporting towards Travelife Certified level (more criteria, more obligations)

Stage 3. TravelifeCertified

  • Compliance with 88 Travelife Certified criteria

  • On-site audit to confirm Certified level.

  • Use of “Travelife Certified” logo in your promotional materials and website(s).

  • International promotion of your company for its excellent sustainability achievements.

Mr. TalebRifai, General Secretary UNWTO, hands out

“Travelife Certified” awards to TUI Netherlands, SNP Nature Travel and Kuoni Specialists.