Six more Asian Trails branches – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia – have received the Travelife Partner award in recognition of their long-term efforts in sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility.
To be awarded, organisations must comply with more than 100 criteria relating to an operators’ office management, product range, international business partners and customer information.
The Travelife standard covers the ISO 26000 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) themes, including environment, biodiversity, human rights and labour relations; and is formally recognised as being in full compliance with the United Nations-supported Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria.
Describing the new awards as a milestone for the company – as all of Asian Trails’ offices in South-east Asia are now Travelife Partners – CEO Laurent Kuenzle said Asian Trails’ commitment to sustainable practices has always existed.
“Whereas many of these criteria were already part of Asian Trails’ processes for years, others had to be newly implemented,” he told TTG Asia.
“Awareness and education are key criteria that needed to be addressed with managers and staff, suppliers and clients. Many of these may be understood in the Western world, but not in the Asian context of doing things today,” he added.
The latest achievement follows Asian Trails Vietnam’s acquisition of the award in 2018. With this, Asian Trails China is the only branch within the group that has yet to be awarded.
Kuenzle explained: “Due to the Covid-19 situation in China and the resulting skeleton crew at our China office for many weeks, we were not able to formalise all the necessary criteria in time to achieve Travelife Partner status in China. We will work on this during the course of 2020 and hopefully achieve our sustainability objectives in China in the next few months.”
Achieving Travelife Partner status is not the end of the road for Kuenzle’s team.
“Sustainability needs constant and continuous efforts in improving processes, raising awareness among suppliers, and education, etc. The Travelife Partner status is a recognition of our efforts towards sustainability, but it doesn’t end there,” he remarked.
“I believe that as good citizens on this planet, our industry needs to work towards more sustainable operations. This is the main objective.”
In a press statement, Naut Kusters, manager of Travelife for tour operators, said: “I am delighted to see that sustainability in the tour operators sector is gaining momentum. The award of… Asian Trails Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia will inspire other companies in those countries to follow the same path.”
Travelife, which has been established with the support of the European Commission, is the leading international sustainability certification for the travel sector. More than 35 national travel associations are promoting the scheme to their members, including the British Travel Association and the Pacific Asian Travel Association.
Since 2012, more than 600 Asian companies have been trained in CSR with the support of the Dutch government CBI programme. They are now working step-by-step towards more sustainable operations.