Sustainability Policy

As a travel company who engage with various stakeholders in tourism, namely consumers, tour guides, travel agencies, hotels, transport companies, restaurants, and attractions, Art Travel understands our key role and influence in the sustainability development of tourism. Therefore, we are committed to promoting sustainability. We aim to follow, implement, and promote good sustainability practices to maximize positive impacts and minimize negative impacts on tourism of our operations and to influence our clients and partners to do the same.

Our sustainability policy is divided into 10 themes. Each theme consists of a set of principles and practical actions accordingly.

Sustainability policy will be continuously revised and adapted according to our advances, experiences, and work capacity. The main goal is that sustainability work also strengthens economic sustainability in our company, ensures our jobs and contributes to expansion of our staff.

1. Sustainability Management & Legal compliance

We commit to sustainability management, practiced by these following actions:

  • We have an appointed employee who is responsible for sustainability coordinator tasks;
  • We have a sustainability mission statement that is communicated to customers, partners and suppliers;
  • We have 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;
  • We have developed conduct baseline assessment of the company’s performance on sustainable practices;
  • We have developed sustainability action;
  • Company’s transparency in sustainability is ensured by public reporting and communicating;
  • All our staff are fully aware of our Sustainability Policy and are committed to implementing and improving it.

We commit to complying with all national legislation, regulations and codes of practice.


The following measures are relevant to accomplish in further work:

  • To developed sustainability guidelines and assessment system in place to identify the sustainability performance of key suppliers/partners;
  • To develop documented procedures to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the sustainability policy, objectives and targets;


2. Internal management: social policy & human rights

We commit to sustainable internal management by having clear written and well-communicated social policy that includes the following principles:

  • We grant employees the freedom of employment and contract termination with notice (at least one month) and without penalty
  • We include labor conditions according to national labor law and a job description in the employment contract;
  • Wage rate is mentioned in the contract and equals or above the national legal wage;
  • We determinate and compensate of overtime working hours based on agreement;
  • We grant our employees fixed paid yearly holiday and sick leave;
  • We have health and safety policy for employees which complies to national legal standards;
  • We have first aid sets and trained staff are available at all relevant locations;
  • We obey national concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment;
  • We encourage employment opportunities for persons with special needs;


The following measures will be applicable when we expand our staff (we are two employees/ company owners right now):

  • To develop and documented effective procedures for employees to voice out their complaints and expectations;
  • To develop a clear disciplinary procedure that is effectively communicated with employees;
  • To develop a measurement system for employee satisfaction on a regular basis;
  • To provide periodic guidance and training for employees on roles, rights and responsibilities regarding health and safety issues. This includes fire and relevant natural disasters;

We commit to practice human rights by ensure the enforcement of following practices:

  • We do not hinder trade union membership, collective labor negotiations and representation of members by trade unions;
  • We prohibit all discriminations, regard to 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;
  • We ensure all employees have an equal chance and access to resources and opportunities for personal development through regular training, education;


The following measures will be applicable when we expand our staff (we are two employees/ company owners right now):

  • To participate and comply with a (sector wide) collective labor condition negotiation structure (if locally existing)

3. Internal Management: Environment and community relations

We commit to practice environmental protection and enhance community relations by ensuring the enforcement of following practices:

  • Actively reduce the use of disposable and consumer goods;
  • Favor the purchase of sustainable goods and services, office and catering supply, giveaways and merchandise;
  • Purchase products in bulk, to reduce the amount of packaging materials;
  • Set copy and printing machines by default to double-sided printing or other forms of paper saving modes;
  • Use cleaning materials which are non-hazardous, non-eutrophic and biodegradable and are certified with an eco-label;
  • Print brochures on environmentally friendly paper, with a printing company that works with a certified environmental management system, the cost has to be taken in to consideration;
  • Print in small quantities to reduce brochure wastage and use website as much as possible;
  • Measure and try to reduce energy consumption;
  • Calculate CO2 emissions and make the compensation at the end of the year, taking into account the company's financial position;
  • Purchase green energy and use energy efficient lighting as much as possible;
  • Switch off lights and equipment when not in use, use automatic switch on/off system and set equipment by default in the energy saving mode, where this is feasible;
  • Prefer low energy equipment when buying new items, including considerations of cost and quality;
  • Reduce water consumption as much as possible;
  • Comply with the national legislation and local regulations concerning waste disposal and recycling;
  • Separate all materials which can be recycled and organize collection and proper disposal;
  • Recycle or properly dispose of batteries;
  • Reduce the amount of packaging materials (envelops) and not provide non-recyclable or non-biodegradable package materials;
  • Use double side printing and economy printer mode to reduce the use of toners for printing and copying;
  • Measure and try to reduce staff related travel and use more sustainable modes of transport. Calculate its emissions, with the aim to reduce and compensate;
  • Reduce transport related impacts by tele-work, tele/video meetings, work-at-home policies or other means;


The following measures will be applicable when we expand our staff (we are two employees/ company owners right now):

  • Provide periodic guidance or information to staff members, about their roles and responsibilities with respect to internal environmental practices;

4. Partner agency

We have developed a policy to improve sustainability of our partner agencies. Our aim is to encourage to sustainable development each partner within our business. We commit to this by;

  • Choosing a new partner give preference to organisations who are truly implementing sustainability in their tourism policy by:
  • minimalizing the ecologic 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;
  • Informing partner agencies on the Travelife standarts;
  • Informing partner agencies about our sustainability requirements and that they are expected to comply with it and communicate it to final customers where relevant;
  • Having a written contract with partner agencies;
  • Attaching our sustainability requirement to the partner contracts to ensuring that partner companies comply with all relevant national laws protecting the rights of employees;
  • Attaching our sustainability requirement to the partner contracts that enable contract partners to end the contractual agreement prematurely if the partner company does not take adequate measures to prevent sexual exploitation of children within the direct supply chain;


The following measures are relevant to accomplish in further work:

  • Keeping a list of the sustainability practices of partner accommodations and agents;
  • Evaluating the sustainability practices of our key partners to ensure their practices are truly sustainable;
  • Motivating incoming/inbound partners to participate in sustainability trainings for travel companies;

See also: Sustainability criteria: incoming tour operators »

5. Transport

We try to ensure that vehicles used on tours do not cause more than average pollution. We believe that transport is an important aspect of sustainable tourism, and we do our best to decrease the average pollution level. We commit to this by;

  • Selecting the most sustainable options considering price and comfort when selecting transport options to the destination;
  • Considering and giving preference to more sustainable alternatives when selecting transport options for transfers and excursions in the destination, taking into account price, comfort, and practical considerations;
  • Integrating and/or promoting one or more sustainable holiday products/packages based on a recognised methodology, including sustainable transport, sustainable accommodations, and sustainable activities.

The following measures are relevant to accomplish in further work:

  • Encourage the clients to use sustainable (public) transport to the point of departure for the international/long distance journey and at the destination (for individual travellers);
  • Develop and promote several sustainable holiday products/packages based on a recognised methodology, including sustainable transport, sustainable accommodations, and sustainable activities.

6. Accommodations

We try to achieve a tourism supply chain that is fully sustainable. The partner accommodations play an important role in achieving this and are stimulated and motivated to adapt sustainable practices.

We commit to this by;

  • Selecting and preferring accommodations that comply with sustainability and quality standards;
  • Preferring and selecting accommodations that are locally owned and managed;
  • Selecting accommodations that employ local communities;
  • Presenting for accommodations our sustainability requirements;
  • Encouraging accommodations to follow best practices/trainings on responsible tourism;
  • Clearly and actively communicating our sustainability objectives and requirements regarding accommodations to contracted and other relevant accommodations;
  • Giving clear preference to accommodations that work with internationally acknowledged (e.g. GSTC recognised) and/or Travelife certification;
  • Attaching to the contractual agreement with accommodation of mandatory sustainability requirements which also demands that through our accommodation supply chain, the rights of children are respected and safeguarded by;
    • Having a clause of zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children;
    • Having a clause that enables the travel company to end the contractual agreement prematurely if the accommodation supplier does not take adequate measures to prevent sexual exploitation of children;
    • Training employees in children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation and how to report suspected cases;
    • Supporting, collaborating with, and engaging stakeholders in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children;
  • Working with accommodations and restaurants that incorporate elements of local art, architecture, or cultural heritage; while respecting the intellectual property rights of local communities;
  • Terminating cooperation with accommodation in case of clear evidence that contracted accommodations jeopardize the provision of integrity of basic services such as food, water, energy, healthcare, or soil to the neighbouring companies.;


The following measures are relevant to accomplish in further work:

  • Investigate which accommodations in our destinations follow sustainability principles, and survey their practices 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?
  • Survey which accommodation in our destinations are certified.
  • Motivating and encouraging partner accommodations to become sustainably certified;

See also: Sustainability criteria: Accommodation »

7. Excursions and activities

We value community welfare extremely high and aims at tours that only leave a minor footprint. We are safeguarding the authenticity of the communities and the natural environment, and are strongly against harming wildlife and polluting the environment.

We commit to this by;

  • Identifying and taking necessary considerations organizing environmentally or culturally sensitive excursions in each destination;
  • Advising guests on behaviour standards during excursions and activities with a focus on respecting the local culture, nature, and environment;
  • Communicating our sustainability objectives and requirements to contracted and other relevant excursion providers by distributing this information via website, representative agents, social media, email, discussions, and/or meetings, to minimise negative visitor impact and maximise enjoyment;
  • Not offering any excursions that harm humans, animals, plants, natural resources such as water and energy, or which are socially and culturally unacceptable;
  • Not offering any excursions in which wildlife is held captive, except for properly regulated activities in compliance with local, national, and international law;
  • Not being involved with companies that harvest, consume, display, sell, or trade wildlife species unless it is part of a regulated activity that ensures that their utilisation is sustainable and in compliance with local, national, and international law;
  • Having skilled and/or certified guides to guide our guests in sensitive cultural sites, heritage sites, or ecologically sensitive destinations;
  • Promoting and advise our guests on excursions and activities which directly involve and support local communities by purchasing services or goods, traditional crafts and local (food) production methods, or visiting social projects;
  • Promoting and advising our guests on excursions and activities which support local environment and biodiversity such as visiting protected areas or environmental protection projects;


The following measures are relevant to accomplish in further work:

  • To make an inventory of environmentally or culturally sensitive excursions which are offered in each destination;
  • Make a sustainability guides to advise guests on behaviour standards during excursions and activities with a focus on respecting the local culture, nature, and environment;

8. Tour leaders, local representatives and guides

We aim 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.

We commit to this by;

  • All our employees have a written employment contract, including labour conditions and a job description, and fully understand the terms and conditions;
  • We 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;
  • We demand that our local partners comply with all applicable international, national, and local laws and regulations, industry minimum standards, and any other relevant statutory requirements whichever requirements are more stringent;
  • We pay tour leaders and local guides (if contracted by us) a wage that is equal to or above the legal minimum or relevant industry standard;
  • We ensuring that tour leaders and guides under our contract are qualified;
  • Our tour leaders, local representatives and guides inform clients on relevant sustainability matters in the destination (e.g. protection of flora, fauna, and cultural heritage, resource use), social norms and values (e.g. tips, dressing code and photography) and human rights (e.g. sexual exploitation);
  • Our tour leaders are aware on the prevention of sexual exploitation of children.


The following measures are relevant to accomplish in further work:

  • Ensure that our local employees are informed on relevant aspects of our sustainability policy and comply with it, by newsletters, references or supplements to contracts, emails, or training and information sessions;

9. Destination

We aim to maximize positive impacts and minimize negative impacts at destination to ensure the sustainable development of the places that we operate in.

We commit to this by:

  • Consider sustainability aspects in the selection process of new destinations and possibly offer alternative, non-mainstream destinations;
  • Not selecting destinations in which tourism leads to structural negative local effects, (unless the company's involvement results in clear counter balancing effects);
  • Comply with legally based spatial planning, protected areas and heritage regulations. Also with destination management strategies of local, regional and national authorities;
  • Support biodiversity conservation, including protected areas and areas of high biodiversity, through integration in product offers;
  • Do not allow the purchase of souvenirs containing threatened flora and fauna species, any illegally obtained historic/archaeological artefacts, drugs or illegal substances, and abide by local and international laws in place to prevent this


The following measures are relevant to accomplish in further work:

  • Survey our destinations identifying places with tourist-related wear and tear or an increased risk of negative impacts, and replace these destinations with those that are less exposed;
  • Consider selection of new destinations, which are reachable through more sustainable means of transport;

10. Customer communication and protection

Customers welfare and information are very important to us. At Art Travel, we ensure clear and constant communication and high protection to our clients.


Prior to booking, we commit to this by:

  • Ensure that customer privacy is not compromised;
  • Comply with relevant standards and voluntary codes of conduct in marketing and advertising messages, and not promise more than is delivered;
  • Make product and price information clear, complete and accurate, with regard to the company and its products and services, including sustainability claims;
  • Provide destination information, including sustainability aspects, which is factually correct, balanced and complete;
  • Inform clients about the environmental impact of different transport options to reach the destination (in case these are not included in the package), and to offer sustainable alternatives, where available;
  • Inform the customer about sustainable alternatives concerning accommodation, excursions, package holidays and transport options, if available;
  • Clearly inform (potential) direct customers, about sustainability commitments and actions;


After booking and during holidays, we commit to this by:

  • 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 customers about risks and precautions related to health and safety matters in the destination;
  • Keep a contact person and a telephone number permanently available for emergency situations;
  • Provide clients with documented guidelines and/or codes of conduct for sensitive excursions and activities, to minimize negative visitor impact and maximize enjoyment. When possible, guidelines are developed in collaboration with relevant NGO's and the affected community;
  • Provide customers with information about commercial, sexual or any other form of exploitation and harassment, particularly of children and adolescents;
  • Inform clients about applicable legislation concerning the purchasing, sales, import and export of historic or religious artefacts and articles containing materials of threatened flora and/or fauna in the destination;
  • Motivate clients to use local restaurants and shops (where appropriate);
  • Inform clients on sustainable transport options in destinations, when feasible;
  • Encourage clients to donate to local charity and sustainable initiatives;

After holidays, we commit to this by:

  • Measure systematically client satisfaction and take into account the results, for service and product improvements;
  • Have clear procedures in case of complaints from clients;


The following measures are relevant to accomplish in further work:

  • Develop destination sustainability guides published in our website
  • Promote sustainable (preferent certified) accommodations, excursions, packages and/or transport options, with logos or other messages; ensuring they are recognizable to consumers and presented as the "better" option;
  • Train personnel and keep guidelines available, on how to deal with emergency situations;
  • Include sustainability as an integral part of the research into client satisfaction;