Accordingly, to our Mission, enforcing our Management Policy and considering the values of Excellence, Responsibility, Loyalty, Respect and Diligence, at Ashtar Tours , we define our firm and permanent commitment as a travel company who engage with various stakeholders in tourism, namely consumers, tour guides, travel agencies, hotels, transport companies, restaurants, and attractions, we understand our key role and influence in the sustainability development of tourism. Therefore, we are committed to promoting sustainability. Our sustainability policy is divided into 9 themes. Each theme consists of a set of principles and practical actions accordingly.
1. SUSTAINABILITY MANAGEMENT & LEGAL COMPLIANCE
We commit to sustainability management, practiced by these following actions:
2. SOCIAL POLICY & HUMAN RIGHTS
- • To have an appointed employee who is responsible for sustainability coordinator tasks;
- • To have a sustainability mission statement that is communicated to customers, partners and suppliers;
- • To ensure that all staff are fully aware of our Sustainability Policy and are committed to implementing and improving it.
3. ENVIRONMENT AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS
- • To encourage respect and opportunities for vulnerable groups and to reject business related to illegal trafficking, consumption of illegal substances, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation of minors and terrorism .
- • To grant employees fixed paid yearly holiday and unpaid annual leave allowance;
- • To have health and safety policy for employees which complies to national legal standards;
- • To have first aid sets and trained staff are available at all relevant locations;
- • To obey national concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment;
- • To declare not to hinder trade union membership, collective labor negotiations and representation of members by trade unions;
- • To include labor conditions according to national labor law and a job description in the employment contra
- • 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, if locally available;
- • Prefer low energy equipment when buying new items, including considerations of cost and quality;
- • Implement measurements to reduce brochure wastage through digital brochure;
- • Have an active commitment to measure, monitor and reduce energy consumption
We aim 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;
- • Selecting cars and vans that meet the highest national emissions standards, with the latest production year and are frequently maintain and serviced whenever possible
Selecting accommodations that show proven records of sustainability ptractices and quality standards, especially ones that work with internationally acknowledged sustainability certification.
6. EXCURSIONS AND ACTIVITIES
- • Preferring and selecting accommodations that are locally owned and managed;
- • Selecting accommodations that employ local communities;
- • Encouraging accommodations to follow best practices/trainings on responsible tourism;
- • Encouraging our key accommodation partners to fill in the sustainability questionnaire to gain insight in their practises with a special focus on the following items;
- ‐ Do they have a signed sustainability contract
- ‐ Do they obtain any sustainability certification?
- ‐ Do they have a water saving program?
- ‐ Do they have an energy saving program?
- ‐ Do they have an energy reduction system?
- ‐ Do they use renewable energy?
- ‐ Do they have a waste management program?
- ‐ Do they have a child protection policy?
- ‐ Do they conduct any CSR activities?
7.TOUR LEADERS, LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES AND GUIDES
- • Clearly and actively communicating our sustainability objectives and requirements regarding accommodations to contracted and other relevant accommodations;
We value animal and 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;
- • Advising guests on behaviour standards during excursions and activities with a focus on respecting the local culture, nature, animal and environment;
- • 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 unlessit is part of a regulated activity that ensuresthat their utilisation is sustainable and in compliance with local, national, and international law;
- • Promoting and advising our guests on excursions and activities which support local environment and biodiversity such as visiting protected areas or environmental protection projects;
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.
- • Ensuring that all employees have a written employment contract, including labour conditions and a job description, and fully understand the terms and conditions;
- • 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;
- • Paying tour leaders, local representatives, guides, porters and other local staff contracted by us at least a living wage that is equal to or above the legal minimum or relevant industry standard;
- • Having 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);
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:
9. CUSTOMER COMMUNICATION AND PROTECTION
- • Support biodiversity conservation, including protected areas and areas of high biodiversity through integration in our product offers;
- • Not promote souvenirs which contain threatened flora and fauna species asindicated in the CITES treaty and the IUCN ‘Red List’; or historic and archaeological artefacts (except as permitted by law)
Customers welfare and information are very important to us. 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;
- • 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;
- • Promote sustainable accommodations, excursions, packages and/or transport options, with logos or other messages; ensuring they are recognizable to our customers and presented as the “better” option;
- • Inform our customers about sustainable alternatives concerning accommodations, excursions, package holidays and transport options, if available;
After booking and during holidays,
- • Keep a contact person and a telephone number permanently available for emergency situations;
- • Train our employees and keep guidelines available, on how to deal with emergency situations;
- • Provide our customers with information about commercial, sexual or any other form of exploitation and harassment, particularly of children and adolescents;
- • Inform our customers 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 our customers to use local restaurants and shops (where appropriate);
- • Inform our customers on sustainable transport optionsin destinations, when feasible;
- • Measure systematically our customers satisfaction and take into account the results, for service and product improvements;
- • Include sustainability as an integral part of the research into customer satisfaction;
- • Have clear procedures in case of complaints from our customers