Khiri Travel has taken a big step in boosting its responsible tourism credentials by becoming Travelife certified. Khiri is now Travelife certified for its tour operations in Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam.
The CEO and co-founder of Khiri Travel, Willem Niemeijer, accepted the award from Janet Salem, Program Officer of the United Nations Environment Programme at a presentation at PATA headquarters in Bangkok, 23 June.
Travelife was established with the support of the European travel associations in 2007. It is now the leading international sustainability certification for the travel sector.
Awarded companies comply with more than 200 criteria related to tour operator office management, product range, supply chain and customer information. Travelife certification covers ISO 26000 Corporate Social Responsibility themes, including environment, biodiversity, human rights and labor relations. Certification is formally recognized as being in full compliance with UN-supported Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria.
“With growing social and environmental issues, business needs to lead by example by implementing sustainability in everything it does,” said Niemeijer at the presentation. “This is especially true for the travel and tourism industry, being the largest employer in Asia with over 65 million direct jobs.”
Niemeijer added: “Three Travelife certified Khiri offices are now geared to exceeding the expectations of clients who need to know that they are working with an operator that has effective green, social and labor practices in place.”
Other certified companies include TUI-UK, Sawadee Reizen, and SNP Natuurreizen.
At the presentation, Khiri’s Sustainability and Responsible Tourism Manager, Graham Read, who led the Travelife certification process, said that Travelife auditors conducted in-depth interviews with staff and fully scrutinized Khiri Travel’s internal and external policies and procedures.
“Key to the process is engaging people, from employees at Khiri offices to our suppliers in the field,” said Read. “The whole experience has been an incredibly beneficial experience for Khiri.”
After its initial Travelife success, Niemeijer said that Khiri Travel would seek to expand Travelife certification to its other operations in Asia.
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