January 9, Amsterdam.

In presence of the Dutch Royal Princess Laurentien – the first Travelife Certified awards were handed out by Mr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the UNWTO (UN-World Tourism Organisation) to the Dutch tour operators TUI Nederland, SNP Natuurreizen and Kuoni Specialists. The awards are a recognition for the long-term efforts and frontrunner position of these companies regarding sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility.

The awarded companies comply with more than 150 certification criteria, related to an operators’ office management, product range, international business partners and customer information. First GSTC recognised standard for tour operators The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) recently announced that the Travelife standard for Tour operators and Travel agents has achieved ‘Recognized’ certification status.  Rigorous review and authorization procedures have determined that Travelife’s revised Tour operators and Travel agents standard is considered equivalent to the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria; the minimum requirement for tourism businesses worldwide. The GSTC is supported by the UN and is comparable with the FSC standard for wood and the MSC standard for sustainable fish.

Naut Kusters, Manager of Travelife for Tour operators and Travel agents said: “I am delighted that the Travelife Certified standard for Tour operators and Travel Agents achieved GSTC Recognition. It will provide direction to committed tour operators and recognition for front runners. The standard is comprehensive and profound and has integrated leading global standards and guidelines for Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility”. With support from the EU Eco-innovation program, national trade associations in more than 15 countries already promote Travelife to their members. The Travelife training, reporting and planning tools are available in more than 10 languages.

Frank Oostdam, Director Dutch travel association ANVR: “this is a valuable recognition of the leading position of ANVR with regard to sustainability. Since 2009 all ANVR members comply with the basic Travelife reporting and compliance standards. I am proud that, as first companies worldwide, three Dutch tour operators received certification based on a GSTC Recognized standard. They have set an example for companies worldwide”.

source: http://www.travelife.info/