In even the last generation or two, it has become apparent that protecting our environment is much more urgent and important than we previously thought. For our industry it means that a new market has opened up; sustainable tourism.
Contributing to sustainable tourism is a win-win situation for us and the world. As people become more educated of the implications their travels have, they are becoming more aware of the ways they can lessen their own negative impacts and want to partner with agencies that will help them make positive changes.
The unique role that tour operators such as ourselves have in the travel sector gives us the opportunity to make sustainably conscious choices around where we send our customers, what businesses we choose to use in the local area and the information we provide our customers with before they go.
At Eurowelcome we recognise and are conscious that travel and tourism have a significant impact on the environment and as tour operator we share a responsibility for developing programmes that minimise any adverse impact on the world’s diverse cultural and natural habitats whilst benefiting and empowering local communities.
Through our Responsible Tourism Policy, we aim to develop quality products and services which:
- Maximise the positive and minimise the negative economic, environmental, and social impact of our trips.
- Generate greater economic benefits for local communities by involving local people in our activities.
- Provide our clients with a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues.
- Use resources sustainably, reduce waste and avoid over-consumption.
- Support the conservation of natural and cultural heritage.
Our impact on society
Positive social impact measures that prioritise social impact before profit are an important factor within responsible tourism. Social impact measures include actions such as preserving local cultures/heritage, strengthening communities and providing social services.
The holidays we offer help create jobs for local people, greater income for local people and minimise negative impacts on cultures and the environment.
We have a policy of always using local suppliers wherever we can, so as to bring as much income to the local area as possible. We work with a locally based IT equipment supplier, stationery supplier and a family cleaning company.
Our impact on the environment
A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that come from the production, use and end-of-life of a product or service.
The most popular measures are recycling and minimising waste, and energy-reducing actions such as turning down heating and monitoring energy and water use. Also, to reduce carbon emissions by avoiding unnecessary travel and promoting alternative transport for staff.
All of our vehicles are maximum 5 years old and comply with the CO2 vehicle emissions. We are looking to move our minibuses to fully electric by 2026.
Within tourism destinations
We market holidays that are taking steps to actively reduce the negative impact of tourism on the local and wider environment.
Every holiday has been screened for this in many different ways:
- Dividing large groups into smaller ones when visiting protected areas.
- Including protected areas in our itineraries and giving customers information about the natural and cultural features of visited sites and their roles in the conservation of local ecosystems.
- Providing customers with guidelines on how to avoid negative impacts while visiting sensitive areas.
- Informing protected area managers of visits ahead of time and discussing ways to reduce visitor impacts.
- Integrating sustainability principles into the selection criteria and choosing locally owned and operated suppliers.
- Setting up pilot projects for designing low carbon products where origin-destination transport becomes part of the holiday experience.
In the coaches, our guides hand out small garbage disposal bags in various colours and explain how to separate waste.
When guests arrive to the hotel, the driver and the guide (or just the driver if the guide needs to stay with the guests), takes the waste to the waste bins where it can be separated appropriately. The collected waste is mostly paper, glass and plastic (water bottles, etc.) so bags can be reused.
Office environmental, recycling and waste policy
We are committed to continuous improvement in all areas within this policy and the education and training of all employees in environmental issues and the environmental effects of their activities.
We work under five important principles and we try to apply them in our day-to-day work.
Refuse, reduce, reuse, rot, recycle
The company's policy is to avoid useless paper consumption – it saves both money and resources.
We are nearly paperless when it comes to operations in the office and by end of 2022 will be fully paperless.
We only print if absolutely necessary, use a printer’s two-sided print feature. Printed materials are kept to a minimum and we have started to print our business cards on recycled paper/card.
Our e-mail email signature contains a message to think about the environment before printing e-mails.
We have reduced by half our brochure prints in the last 2 years and shall continue to reduce further and aim to be paperless by the end of 2024 as we have developed a brochure that is easily restorable every year. It contains the basic information about the tour, photos and all other information the clients need, but the main novelty is that the price list is printed every year and the sheet is inserted as an appendix.
We shall only feature our products in commercial brochures. We shall push to go on non-printed brochures by 2025.
Our business is 100 percent web-based.
Single use plastic
Eurowelcome works hard to find ways to eliminate plastics for our working life, particularly single-use plastics.
We use eco-friendly dishwasher tablets, without plastic wrappers, refilling our washing up liquid.
Exclusion of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), for example, from self-adhesives and transparent folders.
Many of our employees come to work with re-usable coffee cups, water bottles as well as lunchboxes.
Recycling and composting
We recycle as many materials as possible (paper, cardboard, printer cartridges, cans, plastics). We also have an office compost bin for fruit peelings, etc.
We also recycle our electronics which have reached the end of their lifecycle.
We keep all the stamps and donate these to a charity.
Our staff use public transport on company business wherever possible. Employees are encouraged to walk, cycle or use public transport to get to work, currently 97 percent do so.
We are also part of the Bike2Work Scheme, enabling employees to purchase their own bicycle, tax free.
We turn off (not leave on standby) PCs and other electrical items overnight or during holidays, and we turn off our computer monitors during lunch breaks and meetings.
We turn off all lights at the end of our day and keep lights off in unused rooms.
We make sure that our heating/cooling systems -that are Energy Star-rated-, are operating at peak efficiency.
We buy recycled, biodegradable and Fairtrade products, including recycled printer toners where possible and refill containers.
Old furniture and working computer equipment are donated to local charities.
We expect high environmental standards from our suppliers where possible. Our suppliers of coaches have to comply with the same engine policy as our own vehicles.
We ask all our hotel suppliers for their own sustainability policies. By 2023 we shall stop working with any hotels for our scheduled products that have not implemented their own in-house sustainability policy.
Our relationship with our employees
We are passionate about creating a place to work which is supportive, empowering, friendly, fun and which rewards excellence and loyalty.
Eurowelcome encourages its employees to carry out a zero-waste policy during the performance of professional tasks (i.e., limiting the use of paper in the office, waste segregation).
We use three strategies to stimulate green behaviour in our employees. They are as follows:
- Mobilising employees to implement sustainability in basic operations and at every stage and level of our business;
- Holding employees accountable for applying sustainable practices in their work;
- Equipping employees with tools and training them to develop for further improvements.