Travel and tourism is hailed as one of the world’s largest industries, but the increased movement of people puts a strain on communities and their environment. If sustainable tourism is the goal, responsible tourism is the process and attitude to achieve that goal.
As an enthusiastic supporter of the TreadRight Foundation, Thompsons Travel takes sustainable tourism to heart. “We encourage responsible business travel that employs environmentally friendly practices, protects cultural and natural heritage, and provides tangible social and economic benefits for local communities,” says Chantal Kliche, Retail Manager of Thompsons Travel, Cape Region.
So, how do you lead by example and encourage your staff and clients to be responsible travellers? “While green leadership will vary between industries and businesses, every company can do their part to highlight the importance of responsible travel and its impact,” says Kliche. Here’s how:
1) Create a Culture of Responsible Travel
Don’t view sustainable tourism as an add-on or afterthought. Instead, make it part of your company culture by including it to your travel policy. Corporate travel management is a matter of balancing multiple objectives, from cost control and duty of care to employee satisfaction and efficient reporting. Incorporating environmental sustainability into your company’s travel policy can help achieve these goals and benefit your business by:
- Reducing cost
- Minimising waste
- Avoiding uncertain regulatory exposure
- Improving your brand’s reputation
“Responsible travel means making conscious decisions that positively impact on the places we visit,” says Kliche. “Empower your travellers by giving them choices that promote sustainable travel in some way, be these eco-friendly accommodation or transport options.
“We believe that by aligning incentives, a business can motivate its employees to be willing partners in achieving organisational travel goals when it comes to environmental sustainability.”
2) Encourage Education
Before your travellers depart on their trips, encourage them to research their destinations according to location-specific issues – whether these are water-scarcity facts, biodiversity issues, or opportunities to support local communities.
Top tip: put together some educational collateral for your travellers about their destination to encourage them to make choices that promote sustainability.
3) Do Some House Cleaning
Are you monitoring the effect your business travel is having on the environment? Information is critical – without data, it is impossible to make the necessary improvements. “Besides reporting on the success of your business travel management programme, we can provide you with a quarterly report on your CO2 emissions,” says Kliche. “Take advantage of our experience – we can help you make small changes to meet your overall green travel goals.”
Top tip: read up on how leaders in the hotel industry are monitoring and minimising the environmental impact of their operations.
For more information on the TreadRight Foundation, please visit www.treadright.org
To chat about how we can work together to encourage responsible tourism best practices in your business travel planning, meetings, incentives, conferences and events, contact Thompsons Travel today.