When it comes to sustainable tourism, it’s safe to say most of the industry is beginning to know the ropes.
More travel companies are introducing practices that give travellers the option to reduce their impact on the environment. From carbon offsetting to shunning orphanage tourism, sustainable consumer practices are becoming widespread.
But when it comes to internal practices, we tend to hear more crickets than the buzz of wind turbines.
World Expeditions wants to change this. The adventure travel company has introduced a new program designed to challenge its staff to make a difference in their every day lives. And they want to spread their practices throughout the industry.
World Expeditions CEO Sue Badyari told Travel Weekly the new program is called the Pillars of Positive Change initiative.
“It’s a new concept to engage our staff and create awareness for a whole lot of important global issues that we see around the world and to foster a sort of best practice and behavioural change within our staff,” Badyari said.
The program is made up of 12 separate pillars– one for each month– which will shine a spotlight on issues such as global warming, single-use plastic, health and fitness and community service.
“July was our single-use plastics month, which meant that everyone in the company was asked to avoid single-use plastics, so no bottles, no coffee cups, or plastic take away containers at lunchtime, you’ve got to take your container with you,” Badyari told us.
“So far the enthusiasm and how the staff has embraced that has been quite profound.
“Going through a whole month of following these recommendations will have a carryon effect, creating behaviour they will carry forward or pass onto their families and friends.”
The program has been set up in the form of a closed Facebook group where World Expeditions employees across the globe can keep track of each pillar and access resources as well as track their own progress and post tips. The program is being overseen by the company’s responsible travel manager, Donna Lawrence, who will be collecting data and content from the program which Badyari hopes can be used as a valuable resource for the rest of the industry.
“If it is a really useful thing, which we will assess, we can share it out to other companies to potentially adopt for their own internal projects as a template.”
“This is where all sectors of our industry need to change and it starts with your staff. Travel industry people are able to give advice to consumers and out in the field on how we can make the world a more sustainable place.
“We’ve all got to have the tools and knowledge to make those recommendations of things that have worked.”
World Expeditions has also been focusing on weeding out unethical or unsustainable practices in their trips, for example, it recently cut ties with providers who engage in Mongolian eagle hunting.
“We are constantly auditing and assessing our trips with World Animal Protection and weeding out companies with bad practices and there have been a lot. I think the industry is catching onto this but there’s still so far to go,” Badyari said.
“That’s what all of us need to do, there should never be a set and forget in the development of itineraries. As operators, we have to be continuously auditing what we’re doing and making sure it is living up to our own operational standards and philosophies around responsible tourism.”
Want more tips on how to make your business more sustainable? You’re in luck! This year’s Travel DAZE focuses on sustainability, and we’re not just talking about planting trees. Find out more here.