As part of being a sustainable tour operator in Ethiopia, we have outlined some actions we are taking internally and externally for the continuation of sustainable tourism in our beloved country, Ethiopia.
1. SUSTAINABILITY MANAGEMENT & LEGAL COMPLIANCE
Timeless Ethiopia commits to sustainability management by:
- Having an employee appointed who is responsible for sustainability coordinator tasks.
- Having a sustainability mission statement that is communicated to customers, partners and suppliers.
- Having an accessible and written sustainability policy that aims for a reduction of the negative social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts of the company’s activities; and includes employee related health and safety aspects.
- Working together and actively participating in external forums and working groups that encourage sustainability in the tourism industry.
- Conducting a baseline assessment of the company’s performance on sustainable practices.
- Having sustainability standards and an evaluation mechanism in place to gauge the performance of important partners and suppliers.
- Having a sustainable action plan with precise objectives, steps, metrics, roles, and timetables.
- Developing documented procedures to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the sustainability policy, objectives and targets.
- Ensuring company’s transparency on sustainability by public reporting and communicating.
- Ensuring that every employee understands our sustainability policy and is dedicated to putting it into practice and improving it according to the provided action plan.
Timeless Ethiopia pledges to abide by all national laws, rules, and standards of conduct.
2. INTERNAL MANAGEMENT: SOCIAL POLICY & HUMAN RIGHTS
Timeless Ethiopia commits to sustainable internal management by having clear written and well communicated social policy by:
- Granting employees, the freedom of employment and contract termination with advance notice (ideally minimum one month) and without penalty.
- Including labour conditions according to national labour law and a job description in the employment contract.
- Mentioning the wage rate in the contract which is equal to or above the national legal wage in our business sector.
- Granting employees fixed paid yearly holiday and sick leave and unpaid annual leave allowance.
- Having health and safety policies for employees which complies to national legal standards.
- Having first aid sets and trained staff available at all relevant locations.
- Obeying to national concerning minimum age for admission to employment.
- Having documented effective procedures in place for employees to voice out their complaints and expectations.
- Having a clear disciplinary procedure that is effectively communicated to employees.
- Having a measurement system for employee satisfaction on a regular basis.
- Providing periodic guidance and training for employees on roles, rights and responsibilities regarding health and safety issues. This includes fire and relevant natural disasters.
- Creating opportunities for students that participate in traineeship/internship/apprenticeship.
- Open to hiring people with disabilities if it would be a good fit for the job.
Timeless Ethiopia commits to practice human rights by:
- Prohibiting discriminations, regarding recruitment, conditions of employment, access to training and senior positions, or promotion in terms of gender, race, age, disability, ethnicity, religion/beliefs or sexual orientation.
- Ensuring that all employees receive regular training and education in order to give them equal access to resources and opportunity for personal development.
3. INTERNAL MANAGMENT: ENVIRONMENT AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS
Timeless Ethiopia commits to environment and community relations by.
- Actively reducing the use of disposable and consumer goods.
- Favouring the purchase of sustainable goods and services.
- Purchasing products in bulk, in order to reduce the amount of packaging materials.
- Setting copy and printing machines by default to double-sided printing or other forms of paper saving modes.
- Using cleaning materials which are non-hazardous, non-eutrophic and biodegradable and are certified with an Eco label.
- Printing brochures on environmentally friendly paper, with a printing company that works with a certified environmental management system, if locally available, and at reasonable costs.
- Implementing measurements to reduce brochure wastage or an ‘internet only’ policy.
- Having an active commitment to measure, monitor and reduce energy consumption.
- Purchasing green energy (solar energy and geothermal) and energy efficient lighting (LED) for our office.
- Preferring low energy equipment when buying new items, including considerations of cost and quality.
- Taking action to reduce the amount of (non-re-fillable) plastic bottles of drinking water for office use.
- Separating all materials which can be recycled and organize collection and proper disposal.
- Financially encouraging employees to use public transport or sustainable means of transport.
- Reducing transport related impacts by tele-work, tele/video meetings, work-at-home policies or other means.
- Maintaining and thoroughly inspecting company vehicles with motors in order to reduce energy consumption and emissions.
- Educating all staff members on a regular basis about their duties and responsibilities with regard to internal environmental practices.
- Complying with land use, zoning and protected or heritage area laws and regulations; when planning, designing, constructing, renovating, operating or demolishing company buildings and infrastructure.
- Sustainably planning, designing and constructing of new buildings or renovations, on locally appropriate and feasible sustainable practices and materials.
4. PARTNER AGENCIES
Timeless Ethiopia has created and executed a policy to enhance the sustainability of our partner organizations based on an inventory of our important partner organizations. Our goal is to provide our partner organizations with tangible examples of sustainable development.
Timeless Ethiopia commits to this by:
- Maintaining a list of the agencies and lodging partners' sustainability policies.
- Collaborating with businesses that are genuinely integrating sustainability into their tourism strategies.
- Minimizing the ecological footprint of the office by travelling mainly via public transport, working as paperless as possible, separating waste, and to make use of certified recycled paper.
- Paying attention to the local benefits of communities when selecting local accommodations and their social policy for employees.
- Raising awareness among key partners on sustainable consumption by organising (online) campaigns and trainings.
- Informing key partners about Travelife and national tourism standards.
- Regularly assessing the sustainability practices of our important partners to make sure they are actually sustainable. We do this by using a checklist we created, on-site visits by our staff, and customer feedback through post-trip surveys.
- Informing important partners about the sustainability policy of the travel firms and that they are expected to adhere to it and/or convey it to final clients where appropriate.
- Including significant sustainability provisions in agreements with external partners.
- Encouraging partners to take part in training sessions on sustainability for travel agencies.
- Having a written contract with partner agencies.
- Including provisions in the partner contracts that permit the contract parties to terminate the partnership early in the event that the partner business fails to take sufficient steps to prevent child sexual exploitation in the direct supply chain.
- Ensuring that partners companies abide by all pertinent national laws guarding employee rights.
Timeless Ethiopia makes an effort to minimize the pollution that tour vehicles generate. We make every effort to lower the average pollution level because we believe that transportation is a crucial component of sustainable tourism.
Timeless Ethiopia commits to this by:
- Selecting the most sustainable options considering price and comfort when selecting transport options to the destination.
- Including sustainable means of transport (public) to the point of departure for long distance journey by booking direct flights, when finds it possible in the itinerary/route.
- Considering and giving preference to more sustainable alternatives when selecting transport options for transfers and excursions in the destination, considering price, comfort, and practical considerations.
- Including and/or advertising one or more eco-friendly travel packages, including eco-friendly travel, eco-friendly lodging, and eco-friendly activities, based on a recognized approach.
Timeless Ethiopia strives to create a totally sustainable tourist supply chain. The partner accommodations play an important role in achieving this and are stimulated and motivated to adopt sustainable practices.
Timeless Ethiopia commits to this by:
- Selecting accommodations that comply with sustainability and quality standards with a special focus on the following items:
- Do they have a signed sustainability contract?
- Do they have a water saving program?
- Do they have an energy saving program?
- Do they have a waste management program?
- Do they have an energy reduction system?
- Do they have a sustainable supply chain?
- Do they have a child protection policy?
- Do they conduct CSR activities?
- Do they train employees in Health & Safety?
- Motivating and encouraging partner accommodations to become sustainably certified.
- Preferring and choosing accommodations that are run and owned locally. Selecting accommodations that employ local communities.
- Having accommodations provide evidence clarifying their sustainability goals and strategies.
- Encouraging accommodations to follow best practices/trainings on responsible tourism.
- Encouraging accommodations to fill in the sustainability questionnaire to gain insight in their practises.
- Clearly and actively communicating our sustainability objectives and requirements regarding accommodations to contracted and other relevant accommodations.
- Offering incentives to accommodations that are actively engaging in sustainability.
- Ensuring that through our accommodation supply chain, the rights of children are respected and safeguarded by.
- Having a clause in contracts throughout the value chain stating a common repudiation and zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children.
- Educating staff members on sexual exploitation prevention, children's rights, and reporting suspected incidents.
- Supporting, working with, and involving stakeholders in the fight against child sexual exploitation
- collaborating with accommodation providers that respect the rights of local communities to their intellectual property while incorporating aspects of local artwork, architecture, or cultural history.
7. EXCURSIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Timeless Ethiopia places a high focus on community and animal welfare and strives to offer trips with little environmental impact. We actively oppose endangering wildlife and destroying the environment while preserving the authenticity of the local communities and the surrounding landscape.
Timeless Ethiopia commits to this by:
- Having a list of excursions that are available in each destination that are attentive to the environment or culture.
- Advising visitors on appropriate conduct during excursions and activities, with an emphasis on preserving the ecology, nature, and culture of the area.
- By informing contracted and other relevant excursion providers of our sustainability goals and requirements through codes of conduct, representative agents, social media, email, talks, and/or meetings, we try to minimize the negative effects of visitors' presence while maximizing their satisfaction.
- Not providing any trips that endanger people, animals, plants, or energy and water resources, or that are socially or culturally inappropriate.
- Not offering any excursions in which wildlife is held captive, except for properly regulated activities in compliance with local, national, and international law.
- Unless it is a part of a regulated activity that guarantees their use is sustainable and in compliance with local, national, and international legislation, refrain from working with companies that harvest, consume, exhibit, sell, or trade wildlife species.
- Having knowledgeable and/or licensed tour guides to lead visitors through delicate cultural sites, heritage sites, or ecologically sensitive destinations.
- Recommending to visitors’ trips and activities that directly benefit local communities by supporting them through the purchase of goods or services, traditional crafts, local (food) production techniques, or visiting charitable endeavours.
- Encouraging and providing information to our visitors about trips and activities that benefit the local ecology and biodiversity, such visiting protected areas or environmental preservation projects.
8. TOUR LEADERS, LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES AND GUIDES
Timeless Ethiopia aims at involving as many locals as possible by employing them in the tourism business. We stand for a fair and safe working environment that supports and respects local communities.
Timeless Ethiopia commits to this by:
- Ensuring that all tour directors, local reps, and guides are aware of the email-communicated terms and conditions that govern their job.
- Preferring to work with local tour leaders, local representatives, local tour guides, porters, drivers, cooks, and other local staff in case of equal ability, and provide training as required.
- Ensuring that our local partners abide by all relevant international, national, and local laws and regulations, as well as any other applicable statutory requirements, whichever requirements are more onerous.
- Paying tour directors, local reps, guides, porters, and any other local workers we hire a living wage that is at least as high as the statutory minimum or comparable industry standard.
- Ensuring the regular training and certification of our tour guides, hosts, and other contract workers.
- Using newsletters, contracts that reference or add to our sustainability policy, emails, training, and information sessions, we make sure that our local employees are aware of and abide by the pertinent components of our sustainability policy.
- Offering a special sustainable travel module in the training program for local tour guides and hosts, in which the main responsible tourism aspects are brought to attention followed by the role expected from the employees. This module will also include knowledge regarding the destination and its relevant sustainability aspects.
- Including in the code of conduct and briefing at the head office information on relevant human rights (such as sexual exploitation), social norms and values (such as tips, dress code, and photography), and sustainability issues in the destination for our tour leaders, local representatives, and guides.
- Providing instruction on preventing child sexual exploitation to our employees and local representatives. Also, train on how to examine the prerequisites for the exclusion of child abuse.
Our objective as one of the top destination management organizations is to minimize negative effects and foster favourable impressions at the places where we perform our tours.
Timeless Ethiopia commits to a sustainable destination by:
- Consider sustainability factors when choosing new locations, and consider providing alternate, off-the-beaten-path locations.
- Avoiding locations where tourism has a systemic negative impact on the local community (unless the company's presence has obvious counterbalancing effects).
- Consider about choosing new locations that can be reached by ways of transportation that are more environmentally friendly.
- Obey statutory restrictions on heritage, protected places, and spatial planning. Also, with destination management strategies of local, regional and national authorities.
- Encourage programs that strengthen the connections between lodging and regional producers.
- Encourage and support local government in its efforts to promote sustainability, destination planning and management, the efficient use of natural resources, and sociocultural issues (where possible, in collaboration with other travel firms and stakeholders).
- Making a monetary donation, putting it in product offers, or by using any other suitable manner, we support the preservation of biodiversity, including in protected areas and places with rich biodiversity.
- Not promoting marketing trinkets that include endangered plant and animal species.
10. CUSTOMER COMMUNICATION AND PROTECTION
Timeless Ethiopia Touring PLC is committed to ensuring that client’s privacy is protected.
Prior to booking, Timeless Ethiopia commits to customer communication and protection by:
- Making sure that the privacy of the customer won't be violated.
- Adhering to pertinent norms and voluntary codes of conduct in marketing and advertising messaging, and refraining from making promises that cannot be kept.
- Making product and price information transparent, thorough, and accurate with reference to the business, its goods, and services, including statements about sustainability.
- Providing factually accurate, well-balanced, and comprehensive travel information, including information on sustainability.
- Educating customers on the environmental effects of various transportation methods to reach the destination and, when appropriate, providing sustainable substitutes.
- Using logos or other statements to advertise eco-friendly lodgings, outings, packages, and/or transportation alternatives; doing this will make them more recognized to customers and position them as the "better" choice.
- Provide the customer with information on environmentally friendly options for lodging, excursions, package vacations, and transportation.
- Clearly communicate our direct clients and partner agencies the sustainability commitments and steps we are taking.
After booking and during holidays, Timeless Ethiopia commits to:
- Provide information to consumers about the natural surroundings, local culture and cultural heritage in the holiday destination.
- Inform consumers about key sustainability aspects and issues in the destination and receive recommendations on how to make a positive contribution.
- Inform visitors of the destination's health and safety risks and safeguards.
- Have a phone number and a person to contact on hand in case of an emergency.
- Educate our team on how to handle emergency circumstances and make guidelines available.
- To reduce negative visitor effect and increase satisfaction, give customers written rules and/or codes of conduct for sensitive excursions and activities. Additionally, recommendations are created whenever possible in conjunction with pertinent NGO partners and the impacted neighbourhood.
- Inform customers about any sort of exploitation or harassment, including economic exploitation and sexual exploitation, especially of children and teenagers.
- Explain to customers the local laws that apply to the purchase, sale, import, and export of historic or religious artifacts and items that include threatened flora and/or animals.
- Encourage customers to patronize nearby eateries and stores (where appropriate).
- When possible, educate customers about available sustainable transportation options at locations.
- Prompt customers to make donations to neighbourhood charities and green projects.
After the client’s holiday, Timeless Ethiopia commits to:
- Measure customer satisfaction methodically and use the data to enhance services and products.
- Integrate sustainability as a key component into the study of client happiness.
- Have clear protocols in place for handling client complaints.