Atlas Tours Sustainability Policy
Atlas Tours is a travel agency based in Amman, Jordan. We provide travel services to individuals and groups within Jordan and neighboring countries. Our vision is to promote thoughtful, exceptional travel and tourism, providing visitors with a true experience of our destination and their respective cultures while aiming to preserve and defend the natural and human resources of those communities for future generations (of both tourists and locals) to enjoy.
Our mission statement reflects this desire:
Atlas Tours is a forward-looking incoming tour operator whose mission is to provide our travelers with an honest, local experience; promoting cultural and environmental immersion through close links with neighborhood suppliers. We consider it our duty to work closely with suppliers, travelers and the community at large promoting sustainability through education and preservation of cultural and natural resources in our destinations.
Responsible tourism requires that all parties involved in the promotion, sale and execution of travel products make a commitment to more sustainable travel practices. From government to airlines, to tour operators, to hoteliers, to tour leaders and individual tourists; all of us have a responsibility to respect and protect our environment and traditions through correct education, planning and action. Sustainability in tourism is an on-going process, requiring constant monitoring and adjustment of policies as the industry constantly grows and changes.
Sustainability Management and Legal Compliance
At Atlas Tours we commit to sustainability management, practiced by these following actions:
- 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 have an accessible and written sustainability policy that aims for a reduction of the negative social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts of the company’s activities; and includes employee related health and safety aspects;
- To conduct a baseline assessment of the company’s performance on sustainable practices;
- To have sustainability action plan with clear targets, actions, measures, responsibilities and time planning;
- To develop documented procedures to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the sustainability policy, objectives and targets;
- To ensure that all staff are fully aware of our Sustainability Policy and are committed to implementing and improving it.
We commit to complying with all national legislation, regulations and codes of practice.
Social Policy and Human Rights
At Atlas Tours we commit to sustainable internal management by having clear written and well-communicated social policy that includes the following principles:
- To grant employees the freedom of employment and contract termination with notice (minimum one month) without penalty.
- To grant employees sick leave 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 provide periodic guidance and training for employees on roles, rights and responsibilities regarding health and safety issues. This includes fire and relevant natural disasters;
- To prohibit discriminations, regard to recruitment, conditions of employment, access to training and senior positions, or promotion in terms of gender, race, age, disability, ethnicity, religion/beliefs or sexual orientation;
- To ensure all employees have an equal chance and access to resources and opportunities for personal development through regular training, education;
Environment and Community Relations
At Atlas Tours we commit to practice environmental protection and enhance community relations by ensuring the enforcement of following practices:
- Actively reduce the use of disposable and consumer goods;
- 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;
- Implement measurements to reduce brochure wastage or an 'internet only' policy;
- Switch off Lights and equipment when not in use
- Use LED Energy safe light.
- Keep the lights off in non-working areas.
- Switch off all computers after duty before leaving office.
- Switch off the heating/cooling system after duty and on weekends.
- Prefer low energy equipment when buying new items, including considerations of cost and quality;
- Comply with the national legislation concerning waste disposal;
- Take action to reduce the amount of (non-refillable) plastic bottles of drinking water for office use;
- Implement waste reducing methods when using ink and toner cartridges for printing and copying, whenever feasible;
- Reduce transport related impacts by tele-work, tele/video meetings, work-at-home policies or other means;
- Provide periodic guidance, training and/or information to all staff members, about their roles and responsibilities with respect to internal environmental practices;
- Contribute to the protection and preservation of local historical, archaeological, culturally, and spiritually important properties and sites.
At Atlas Tours we try to achieve a tourism supply chain that is fully sustainable. The partner accommodations play an important role in achieving this, and are stimulated and motivated to adapt sustainable practices.
We commit to this by:
- Supporting collaborative initiatives with other tour operators and/or stakeholders to promote sustainability among accommodations in destinations.
- Selecting accommodations that comply with sustainability and quality standards with a special focus on the following items;
- Do they have a signed sustainability contract?
- Do they have a water saving program?
- Do they have an energy saving program?
- Do they have a waste management program?
- Do they have an energy reduction system?
- Do they have a sustainable supply chain?
- Do they have a child protection policy?
- Do they conduct CSR activities?
- Do they train employees in Health & Safety?
- Motivating and encouraging partner accommodations to become sustainably certified;
- Preferring and selecting accommodations that are locally owned and managed;
- Selecting accommodations that employ local communities;
- Having accommodations provide evidence clarifying their sustainability goals and strategies;
- Encouraging accommodations to follow best practices/trainings on responsible tourism;
- Encouraging accommodations to fill in the sustainability questionnaire to gain insight in their practices;
- Clearly and actively communicating our sustainability objectives and requirements regarding accommodations to contracted and other relevant accommodations;
- Ensuring that through our accommodation supply chain, the rights of children are respected and safeguarded by;
- Training employees about children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation and how to report suspected cases;
- Supporting, collaborating with, and engaging stakeholders in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children;
- Working with accommodations and restaurants that incorporate elements of local art, architecture, or cultural heritage; while respecting the intellectual property rights of local communities;
- Terminating cooperation with accommodation in case of clear evidence that contracted accommodations jeopardize the provision of integrity of basic services such as food, water, energy, healthcare, or soil to the neighboring companies.
Tour Leaders, Local Representatives and Guides
At Atlas Tours 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.
We commit to this by:
- 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;
- Ensuring that our local partners comply with all applicable international, national, and local laws and regulations, industry minimum standards, and any other relevant statutory requirements whichever requirements are more stringent;
- Ensuring that our tour guides, hosts, and other employees are qualified and trained regularly;
- Ensuring that our local employees are informed on relevant aspects of our sustainability policy and comply with it, by newsletters, references or supplements to contracts, emails, or training and information sessions;
- Offering a special sustainable travel module in the trainings program for local tour guides and hosts, in which the main responsible tourism aspects are brought to attention followed by the role expected from the employees. This module will also include knowledge regarding the destination and its relevant sustainability aspects;
- Having our tour leaders, local representatives and guides inform travelers 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);
- Training our employed tour leaders and local representatives on the avoidance of sexual exploitation of children. This will include training on how to check the requirements concerning exclusion of child abuse;
Customer Communication and Protection
Customer's welfare and information are very important to us. At Atlas Tours we ensure clear and constant communication and high protection to our travelers.
Prior to booking, we commit to this by:
- Make available a company guideline for traveler consultation, which is followed by traveler advisors;
- Ensure that customer privacy is not compromised;
- Comply with relevant standards and voluntary codes of conduct in marketing and advertising messages, and not promise more than is delivered;
- Make product and price information clear, complete and accurate, with regard to the company and its products and services, including sustainability claims;
- Clearly inform (potential) direct customers, about sustainability commitments and actions;
After booking and during holidays, we commit to this by:
- Provide Information to consumers about the natural surroundings, local culture and cultural heritage in the local holiday destination;
- Inform consumers about key sustainability aspects and issues in the local destination and receive recommendations on how to make a positive contribution;
- Keep a contact person and a telephone number permanently available for emergency situations;
- Train personnel and keep guidelines available, on how to deal with emergency situations;
- Provide customers with information about commercial, sexual or any other form of exploitation and harassment, particularly of children and adolescents;
- Inform travelers 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 local destination;
- Motivate travelers to use local restaurants and shops (where appropriate);
- Encourage travelers to donate to local charity and sustainable initiatives;
After holidays, we commit to this by:
- Measure systematically traveler satisfaction and take into account the results, for service and product improvements;
- Include sustainability as an integral part of the research into traveler satisfaction.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any information or further explanation about this policy.
On March 8th 2021, Atlas Tours received the Travelife Partner award, which is a recognition for the long-term efforts and frontrunner position of our travel agency regarding sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility.
We comply with more than 100 criteria related to office management, product range, International business partners and customer information. The Travelife standard covers the ISO 26000 Corporate Social Responsibility themes, including environment, biodiversity, human rights and labor relations; and is formally recognized as in full compliance with the UN supported Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria.
We are glad to be the 1st company in Jordan to have the Travelife Partner award.
Travelife, which has been established with the support of the European Commission, is the leading international sustainability certification for the travel sector. More than 35 national travel associations are promoting the scheme to their members including ABTA, The British Travel Association and PATA, the Pacific Asian Travel Association. Since 2012, more than 600 Asian companies have been trained in CSR with the support of the Dutch government CBI program. They are now working step-by-step towards more sustainable operations.