Sustainable Tourism Development Policy
According to United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO, 2010) Sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their needs.
The concept of sustainability is composed of three pillars: economic, environmental and social whereby the community economically benefit from sustainable development and conserve the environment. Sustainability contributes to the development of local communities, protection and conservation of natural resources and gives us and the local community economic rewards.
Source Ethiopia Tours: Mission Statement
Our aim is promote sustainable business in travel and tourism sector. We also work towards mitigating the negative social and environmental impacts of tourism. Moreover, Source Ethiopia Tours is committed to communicate sustainability issues across the value chain with our partners and clients.
Sustainability Management and legal compliance:
Our sustainability policy reflects the company’s structure and activities, and is fully supported by the top management. The policy aims for the reduction of the negative social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts of the company’s activities, and includes employee related health and safety aspects.
This policy will be communicated to the wider tourism community and the relevant stakeholders including the suppliers at destinations. The communication channels could be formal training or informal discussion over tea/coffee. We will also promote being an exemplary during trips to destination by becoming sensitive sustainability activities. In terms of the company’s monitoring and evaluation procedure, Source Ethiopia Tours employ a combination of techniques for the monitoring and evaluation. We use observation and discussion on the progress with key staff members.
Source Ethiopia Tours will employ techniques like discussion over lunch and/or tea/coffee especially with field staff including local guides, field cooks and those working at hotels/lodges.
Reduction of disposable and consumable goods:
Our policy in relation to disposable and consumable goods is to ensure that we minimize single-use plastic for instance replacing plastic water bottles with reusable bottles both at the office and on the trip for customers. It also includes using paper that is environmentally friendly. Moreover, we also promote use of glass with jar of water instead of the plastic water bottles whenever we coordinate trainings and briefing with clients.
Source Ethiopia Tours practice sustainable purchasing through promoting purchase of locally made products, Eco-friendly services and purchasing from the locals economy. For instance, at destinations we work with accommodation institutions that are environmentally and socially friendly. Besides, in order to support local economy, our tour guides advice visitors purchase locally made souvenirs. This is a win-win situation whereby the visitors also buy authentic products from the source.
Energy Reduction Policy:
Source Ethiopia Tours energy policy states that we will strive to minimize the consumption of energy at all times. We have created awareness among employees on the energy-saving principles including using natural light instead of power during the daytime and putting the power off when they leave office. Moreover, we are using energy-saving bulbs and other relevant measures. Mini solar energy panel is also used whenever the power is off.
Water Reduction Policy:
Where our office is located, we have issues with water supply whereby we get running water only once in 2 weeks as a result we are implementing a reuse policy. For instance, we collect water after the shower and use it for the toilet. Besides, we do harvest rain water and use for cleaning purpose.
Pollution Reduction Policy:
Source Ethiopia Tours has a plan to replace materials with chemicals and harmful substances with more organic and locally available ones.
Local transportation to destination:
International flights are coordinated either by the outbound tour operator or individual customers. The role of Source Ethiopia Tours is advising the client to book with Ethiopian Airlines at least the last leg of the trip so that they secure a discount for their internal flights.
Source Ethiopia Tours promote travel with buses provided that the site is accessible. This is meant to reduce carbon emission that affects the physical environment. It also allows the customers to know each other more. Moreover, using buses reduce the cost per person and plays its role in making the destination competitive. It is also advantageous to the tour leader/ guide in terms of the management of the group and providing commentaries equally to the travelers.
Accessible Destination policy:
In selecting new destinations, the reachability through more sustainable means of transport is considered. .
Accommodation Institutions Policy:
The contemporary visitors are also well aware and concerned about the sustainability of destination where the local community, the physical environment and the customers benefit (win-win-win situation).
In order to ensure the sustainability of tourism activities at a given destination, Source Ethiopia Tours promote using lodges/hotels that are environmentally and socially friendly. This establishments use local materials for construction and also as a supply to their restaurant and employ local communities.
Excursions and Activities:
Source Ethiopia Tours developed an inventory of its excursions/activities to destination in order to evaluate the sensitivity of these activities to inform us on the journey to sustainability. Possible mitigation measures are also included in the inventory.
Sensitivity while visiting cultural villages with proper introduction to their norms, values and ways of life. Source Ethiopia tours also takes a good care of the fragile environment by implementing best sustainable practices. Our sustainability policy is meant to address the three key issues to ensure sustainable development: preservation of the natural environment, the participation and benefit of the host community and the business side of tourism. Our activities actually includes sensitive sites like visits to cultural and historical sites, visits to indigenous, traditional communities; and others. So, we do communicate our codes of conduct mainly during the visit to their respective site and sometimes in writing.
On the other hand, as it stands now, there is no certified destination in Ethiopia.
Tour leaders, Local representatives and Guides:
Currently, Source Ethiopia tours is a small company and hires local guides and other on contractual bases. The payment varies depending up on the type of activities and time spent; and yet in line with the country’s labor law.
Basically, we employ trained and experienced guides and in the meantime offer them on-job training and expose them to best practice destinations.
We communicate our sustainability policy with our local representatives both formally and informally. Formally using emails and other writing mechanisms and informally through discussion over tea/coffee or lunch. Our tour leaders and local representatives are well-informed about the do's and don’ts in order to preserve the fragile environment and the norms and values of the host community including the sexual exploitation of children.
Sexual Exploitation and Harassment:
We inform our customers the issue of sexual exploitation and harassment particularly children and adolescents.
Source Ethiopia Tours look at the appeal of new destinations from the point view of sustainability that include the host community, the environment and its economic value. Moreover, we promote manageable group travel whereby buses are used as a means of transportation in order to minimize the impact of pollution on the environment. Whenever we travel to destinations, we observe closely the sensitivity of the destination and implement the possible mitigation activity proposed.