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3rd Newsletter from the EU Funded Project of ALTSO - Travelife for Tour Operators / Sustour Project - 2016

Travelife certification is a training, management and certification initiative for tourism companies committed to reach sustainability.

Sustainable development for a tour operator or travel agency. Why? How?

Integrating sustainable development issues within an agency is not just a matter of being green, add circuits in the wilderness or meet local people. The challenge of sustainable development is more horizontal and provides insight into : customers, employees, partners and improves returns from these stakeholders. In fact sustainability increases the competitiveness of your business.
Yes! Integrating sustainable development issues is business and not only for "saving the world"!
How? Just take a step back from the different functions in your company and think about the impacts of it. You will see that you can quickly find solutions to improve the decrease the negative impacts and to improve the performance of the company.
With the Travelife program for Tour Operators and Travel Agencies, we support you in that direction.
From 2013 till March 2016, travel companies from France, Bulgaria and Turkey are supported by EU funds to get advice and training to reach the Partner level of Travelife certification and tourism schools are supported to introduce Travelife in their touism education with the project “Sustainability Training and Assessment in the Tourism Sector” SUSTOUR.
Interested in Travelife? Join us!

Final project meeting Bratislava presentation Travelife at ECTAA meeting

Sustainability in tourism is upcoming and for tourism companies worldwide we have practical tools to apply it in their daily operations.

For involving even more countries we presented our SUSTOUR project and the Travelife system to the members of ECTAA (national travel agents’ and tour operators’ associations within the EU) during their biannual meeting in Bratislava.

We combined it with a project meeting with our French, Bulgarian and Dutch project partners where we discussed the last steps of the project and the future after the project… In each country a national Travelife office will guarantee that tourism companies and schools can continue to get support for their efforts for achieving Travelife certification and sustainbility in tourism education.

Tourism Summit & B2B Еvent TOURIZMIR, Izmir, Turkey, 1 – 3 October 2015
ABTTA (Association of Bulgarian Tour Operators and Travel Agents) was invited to attend the International conference TOURIZMIR as guest speaker in the panel 'New global tourism trends'.
In her presentation Secretary General Ms. Maya Philipova presented several ABTTA initiatives aiming to  increase competitiveness of Bulgarian tourism.
Also the SUSTOUR project and its aims were presented. The delegates were  introduced to the instruments used by ABTTA and other project members to support positive changes in the corporate culture of their members: the European system for sustainable tourism management TRAVELIFE. Finally, the delegates were invited to join ABTTA's efforts and help raising  corporate social responsibility in the tourism sector and increase the overall tourism industry sustainability.
The participating Turkish tourism stakeholders showed great interest and in his closing speech Mr. Basaran Ulsoy, President of TURSAB declared his engagement to promote the project and the system among TURSAB members.
Coaching sessions in Alanya and Antalya
The SUSTOUR Project Teams of ALTSO & TRIADA have been visiting and coaching local tourism companies with the online Travelife System. During the sessions they guided the companies to fulfil the conditions of the system. While reporting their best practices, they also got plenty of tips from the coaches for a more sustainable management of their company.
Exotic Tourism , Tivrona Tours, Race Tour and GVN Travel in Alanya and Mithra Travel, Tantur, Diana Travel were some that were striving for Travelife Certification.
Travelife System Information Meeting ALTSO Members
On the 1st of October in 2015,  Alanya Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized an information meeting about the Sustour Project and The Travelife Sustainability System for the Tour Operators and Travel Agencies in Alanya.
The Chairman of Alanya CCI Mehmet Şahin welcomed the attendees and informed them about the activities of the chamber about Sustainability in Tourism, the Intour Project and Sustour Project. Then he talked about the future plannings of the chamber in this context.
Then Murat Yetkin, explained the comprehensive system to the participants: Online trainings, management  system,  action planning and reporting, best practices, etc. He invited all the participants to be a member of Travelife Family.  
Travelife Sessions at Alaaddin Keykubat University
Since September 2015 the Trainings on sustainable tourism in the Alaaddin Keykubat University in Alanya are continuing. Murat Yetkin presented the  SUSTOUR project and the training instruments of TRAVELIFE system to 140 students with the goal to pass the exam to be a Travelife specialist.
Over 100 excursion & activity providers joined first Excursion Providers Training on Sustainability organised by TRIADA in cooperation with TUI Turkey

On 17 February Manavgat municiality hosted the first Excursion Providers Training on Sustainability in their Cultural Centre. Mr. Murat Yetkin from the newly established Keykubat University in Alanya lead this training for excursion providers from the biggest incoming tour operator in Turkey; TUI Turkey. 

Useful tips for diving, boat tours, rafting, safari but also for transport and catering were given and the companies also got chance to join the Travelife system  and go for certification.

Sustainability means long term survival and in this training it was also discussed how the companies could use the momentum of the tourism crisis to work on quality improvement which could help them to come out stronger of these difficult times.

Introducing CSR principles into the curriculum of future Bulgarian tourism professionals
On 26st October 2015 ABTTA conducted a training on sustainable tourism in New Bulgarian University and presented the  SUSTOUR project and training instruments of the TRAVELIFE system.
The initiative became possible with a partnership agreement between ABTTA and the New Bulgarian University aiming to enhance Bulgarian tourism sustainability through implementation of CSR principles into the curriculum of the future tourism professionals.
After two trainings in Sofia University in 2015 and 2016 this was the third training  in educational institutes. All received great interest and appreciation not only among the participating students but also among the attending professors.
First official Award ceremony for sustainable tourism competences
On 12th February 2016 during International Tourism Fair Holiday and SPA Expo 2016, Sofia, Bulgaria was held the first award ceremony for sustainable tourism competences of Bulgarian students.
The event, during which 58 students from Sofia University were awarded with personal Travelife certificate, is in compliance with ABTTA understanding of the responsibility of both the business and science to ensure high quality specialists in the tourism market.
Ultimately about 100 students from different universities enlarged their knowledge on CSR and sustainable tourism issues with the seminars, which ABTTA organized in the frame of SUSTOUR project.
The future tourism entrepreneurs in Bulgaria awarded with the prestigious Travelife certificate were congratulated by Mrs Stella Filipva, member of ABTTA Board of Directors and leading expert for International cooperation, and by Ass. Prof. PhD Vera Nikolova, Tourism Department, Sofia University.
Sustainability training for Bulgarian excursion providers
On 13 February 2016 ABTTA organized seminar on “Sustainable management of tourism supply chain. Marine, nature and mountain tourism excursion providers”.
The training was held in the frame of SUSTOUR project “Sustainability Training and Assessment in the Tourism Sector Project” in which ABTTA participates with tourism professional organizations from Holland, France and Turkey. The participants were introduced to the Travelife instruments for sustainable management and the newly developed standards for nature, marine and mountain excursions.
Increasing number of Bulgarian companies with Travelife Partner logo

Following the first certified Bulgarian company in May 2015 - Odysseia-in, 8 new Bulgarian tour operators received a Travelife Partner certificate for sustainable tourism activities during an official ceremony at the ABTTA General Assembly of 26 February 2016 
Guidae Travel Agency become Travelife Partner
Guidae Travel, a tiny tour-operator based in Brittany (France) and offering original trips for individuals, groups & MICE just reached the Travelife Partner Level! Thanks to a great committment to  sustainability, they will continue to make their clients more sensitive about the local natural & culturel heritage in Brittany. 
New Training Session in Paris with ATR certification Program
On 28 January, ID-Tourism organised a workshop dedicated to Travelife in Paris in partnership with ATR (Agir pour un Tourisme Responsable) certification program. The aim of the workshop was to present how Travelife for Tour Operators & ATR national certification program in France tried to work together under the same tools developed by Travelife (reporting, sharing best practices, training, etc.) More than 20 tour-operators assisted to the workshop. 
Also worldwide the importance of CSR in tourism is rising... Below some examples

Cooperation agreed between Travelife and Ecotourism Kenya

KENYA - Ecotourism Kenya and Travelife for Tour operators have agreed to support Kenyan inbound tour operators towards sustainability.
A common sustainability standard for Kenya was developed and local auditors and advisors have been trained.  25 inbound operators have committed themselves to reach the Travelife Partner award before the end of 2016. The initiative is supported by the Dutch government and the Kenyan Association of Tour Operators that aims to raise the sustainability of the Kenyan travel sector and to  showcase Kenya as leading African country in terms of sustainability.
ITB 2016 - 3 Companies recognised for sustainability! - Exo, Footprint Travel and Ideia Tours receive Travelife awards
BERLIN - Three travel companies from Thailand, Vietnam and Brazil received Travelife Certified, which recognises their efforts towards corporate, social, cultural and environmental responsibility. Travelife Certified requires a business to achieve compliance in a total of 247 areas, covering the company’s office management, supply chain, products and customer services. The criteria encompass environmental efforts, biodiversity, human rights and labour relations. The programme is aligned with the UN’s Global Sustainable Tourism Council criteria. Globally, 90 companies have started this process and 39 have achieved Travelife Certified so far. 

Khiri Group offsets carbon footprint for its companies
BANGKOK - The Khiri Group has offset the 2014 carbon footprint of its family of companies for the year 2014. It plans to offset its 2015 footprint by mid 2016. 
Two tree planting campaigns took place in 2015 to offset 100 tons of carbon generated by Khiri Travel and Khiri Group in 2014.
80 mangrove trees were planted at Bang Kra Chao just outside Bangkok. In Indonesia, the company planted 1500 Albasia trees at Kecamatan Salam in Central Java. 
The calculations on the extent of the group’s 2014 footprint were made by the Plant a Tree Today Foundation (PATT) in Thailand and Trees4Trees in Indonesia. They assessed the Khiri Group’s business flights in 2014 and derived a figure of 100 tons of CO2. 
“With partners such as PATT and Trees4Trees, the offsetting process becomes measurable and doable with clear actions and outcomes,” said CEO Willem Niemeijer. “Our offsetting is consistent with our commitment to Travelife goals of being a company that stands for the planet as well as people and profit,” he said.


This project is realised within the Lifelong Learning programme implemented by the Republic of Turkey Ministry for EU Affairs, Turkish National Agency (, with a grant provided by the European Commisson. However, The Turkish National Agency nor the European Commission can not be held responsible for the information provided in this newsletter. 

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