Responsible Travel membership criteria

The minimum responsible travel criteria have been designed to be relevant to the entire industry - from B&B's to large hotels, from small owner run tour operators to very large multi-national operators. All members will also be required to share their own specific responsible travel policies, and encouraged to celebrate additional programmes and activities beyond the minimum requirements.

Prospective members need to demonstrate that their policy and practice meet the Responsible Travel minimum standards. Each prospective member therefore needs to provide the following (policy requirements can be built into a single document representing the companies responsible travel policy for staff and suppliers, and a travellers code):

  1. Policy & Procedure
    1. A copy of the companies responsible travel policy
    2. Written confirmation that the company policy has been provided to staff, destination suppliers and travellers
    3. Written confirmation that the company has a procedure for responding to travellers complaints & suggestions concerning responsible travel practices

  2. Environmental Policy
    1. Evidence of 1 office-based initiative to reduce waste, and evidence that the company policy requests waste management practice of suppliers (reduce-reuse-recycle)
    2. Evidence that travellers are provided with suggestions for how to reduce water use in their destinations - see Travellers Codes
    3. Evidence that travellers are provided with relevant suggestions to minimise damage to the environment, wildlife and marine ecosystems - see Travellers Codes
    4. * Evidence that the company provides suggestions for destination visits to appropriate local projects with direct or indirect environmental benefits. This is an essential requirement for all trips published on responsibletravel.com

      * Tour operators may suggest alternative social projects - section 3.iv

  3. Social Policy
    1. Evidence that travellers are provided with accurate pre-trip information on the social and political situation in each destination
    2. Evidence that travellers are provided with suggestions of ways to minimise negative impacts on local cultures - see Travellers Codes
    3. Evidence that the company policy requests destination suppliers to ensure that a local guide accompanies all group visits to local communities
    4. * Evidence that the company provides suggestions for destination visits to appropriate local social projects with direct or indirect benefits to the host community. This is an essential requirement for all trips published on responsibletravel.com

      * Tour operators may suggest alternative environmental projects - section 2.iv

  4. Economic Policy
    1. Evidence that the company policy requests destination suppliers to employ local people wherever possible
    2. Evidence that the company policy requests destination suppliers, where local standards permit, to make use of local produce, manufacturers and other services
    3. Evidence that travellers are provided with pre-trip suggestions of local services that provide local community benefits (e.g. restaurants, guides, shops, craft markets)

  5. Registration Terms

    Tour Operators who have satisfied the minimum requirements for pre-registration will be admitted as members of Responsible Travel upon agreement to the following:

    1. Tour operator policy and practice, as provided for pre-registration, will be published by Responsible Travel to demonstrate how the company meets responsible travel standards. Members will also be encouraged to provide additional stories for publication on the site, to celebrate best practice and to differentiate their own products from those of other operators. Responsible Travel will publish travellers' feedback on the site. In the case of negative feedback, Responsible Travel will contact the operator prior to publication so that the operator can write a reply for simultaneous publication. Travellers' feedback will remain anonymous.
    2. In the event of a member tour operator being found to have misrepresented their responsible travel practices, they will be provided with the opportunity to correct this. Should they fail to do so, they will be removed from the site and their membership fees returned. Should the member disagree with such an action, Responsible Travel will refer the decision to an arbitration committee consisting of a director of Responsible Travel, an elected tour operator member and an external arbitrator. The decision of the arbitration committee will be final.
    3. Tour operators will respond to enquiries generated by Responsible Travel within 2 days. In the event of Responsible Travel receiving information from travellers of inadequate response time, members will be given the opportunity to rectify the situation. Should they fail to do so, they will be removed from the site and their membership fees returned. Should the member disagree with such an action, Responsible Travel will refer the decision to its arbitration committee.

  6. Admission
    1. Tour operators meeting the pre-registration criteria and agreeing to the registration terms will be admitted to the Responsible Travel site. All information to be published will be made privately available to the tour operator member before it goes live.
    2. Membership will be reviewed annually except in the event of circumstances as detailed in 5.ii and 5.iii above. Responsible Travel reserves the right to improve and evolve the standard criteria of responsible travel based on feedback from members and travellers

  7. Use of the Responsible Travel logo
    1. Tour operators who have passed the minimum Responsible Travel criteria and have been accepted as members are encouraged to use the Responsible Travel logo in the marketing of their responsible travel products. The logo may only be used in the format provided by Responsible Travel and only in association with products that meet all the designated criteria. Tour operators may not use the logo as a general endorsement of their company or products.

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