Operational Sustainability Policies & Procedures
As a small company that relies predominantly on stunning natural views and healthy eco-systems, it is within our main interests to support the local people and environment as much as possible. Along with forming excellent working relationships with local families we work hard to ensure that we leave only a positive legacy. Discovery Travel is committed to promoting sustainable tourism practices to our partners, staff and customers. It is our aim to effectively introduce sustainable policies and operating procedures that will enhance the positive aspects of tourism while keeping the negative aspects to a minimum.
1. Day to Day Tour Operations
The sustainability of our day to day tour operation is split into 3 main goals.
1.1 Plastic Free Tours
As part of our commitment to promoting sustainable tourism in Khao Lak, we are working hard to remove as much single use plastic from our trips as possible. So far, we have already removed single use plastic bottles and food wrappings from all of our trips. Each of our guests is issued with a re-usable water bottle to use throughout the trip. In order to further reduce our impact on the environment, we use cleaning products made from 100% natural ingredient whenever possible.
1.2 Low Impact Tourism
On any of our “Joined Trips” we take smaller groups than most other tour operators. Not only does this help to give our trips an exclusive, almost private feel, it also helps to reduce our impact on nature and communities in the beautiful destinations we visit.
1.3 Support Local People, Encourage Local Skills
Many of the skills that are so important to the lives of local people have been passed down through the generations. But as the world changes many of these ancient skills are in danger of being forgotten and lost forever. We employ local people and promote the use of traditional skills in our everyday operation, to help keep this local wisdom alive. Often, we take local children on our trips so they can see their ancestor’s skills in action, whilst giving them the opportunity and confidence to use and practice the English phrases they have learned in school. Wherever possible we source all our food and other operational materials locally to further support local communities.
These goals are clearly communicated with customers and partners via our website and tour brochures.
2 Human Rights & Labour Conditions
Discovery Travel aims to create a safe and fair working environment for all staff and affiliates. All employees are fully entitled to all their legal rights and must agree to work under the conditions stipulated in their employment contract.
2.1 Wages & Working Conditions
2.1.1 All wages will either meet or exceed the legal minimum. There will be no illegal or unauthorized deductions from an employee’s wages.
2.1.2 Discovery Travel will endeavour to ensure that all wages are paid in a timely manner as per the agreed employment conditions stipulated in an employee’s contract.
2.1.3 Working hours will be in line with legal requirements and industry standards.
2.1.4 Employees are entitled to their stipulated annual leave, sick leave and maternity leave, without any form of repercussions.
2.1.5 Employees are free to terminate their employment at any time without penalty subject to contract conditions.
2.2 Working Environment
All staff are entitled to work in a safe and hygienic environment. Discovery Travel takes safety very seriously and steps are taken to prevent disease, accidents and injuries during working hours.
2.2.1 First aid kits, fire extinguishers and unobstructed exits are provided in all work areas.
2.2.2 All staff are provided with sufficient knowledge and training to enable them to deal with accidents and emergency situations.
2.2.3 All work areas and equipment are cleaned with disinfectant regularly to ensure hygiene standards.
2.2.4 Adequate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is provided whenever necessary.
2.2.5 Health and safety protocols are updated depending on local and international regulations and recommendations.
2.2.6 All staff are free to join workers or trade unions if they so wish.
2.3 Child Protection
Discovery Travel operates in-line with local legal regulations stipulated by the Labour Protection Act B.E. 2541 (1998) Sections 44-52. Discovery does not employee children under the age of fifteen as employees.
Employees under the age of eighteen are given special considerations such as additional rest breaks and restricted working hours, as stipulated in the Labour Protection Act B.E. 2541 (1998).
Furthermore, Discovery Travel will not tolerate or allow any child prostitution or inappropriate actions from employees, partners or customers. Any suspicious behaviours and activities will be reported to the local authorities.
3 Environmentally Friendly Operations
Discovery Travel is committed to reducing negative environmental impacts of our daily tour operations. This is achieved by implementing the following practices;
– Remove all single use plastic from our tours and actively reduce the reduction of single use and disposable goods where ever possible.
– Promote the use of re-usable goods whenever possible.
– Favour sustainable or bio-degradable goods and services wherever possible.
– Purchase products in bulk whenever possible to reduce packaging and the carbon footprint.
– Switch off and unplug all electrical appliances when not in use to reduce energy consumption.
– Energy efficient electronic equipment is preferred if available.
– Print double sided whenever possible to reduce paper usage.
– Use sustainably sourced paper and printing options and whenever available.
– Actively promote the use of digital operation methods wherever possible to reduce waste.
– Use non-hazardous, non-eutrophic and biodegradable cleaning materials when available.
– Separate waste into recyclable, bio-degradable and non-recyclable waste to assist local trash collectors.
– Encourage employees to work from home whenever possible or use shared transportation where available.
– Collect rain water when possible and promote careful water usage within the company.
– Ensure that all company vehicles are properly maintained and efficiently run to reduce emissions and energy use.
– Reduce unnecessary car journeys and ensure that all usage of company vehicles is as efficient as possible. Refrain from using multiple vehicles whenever possible.
4 Community Relations
It is Discovery Travel’s aim to maintain a good working relationship with the local communities and not impact on their lives or livelihoods in a negative manner. We aim to achieve this by implementing the following practices;
– Purchase locally sourced products and services wherever available.
– Assist local communities, incentives and installations when possible.
– Work alongside local communities and people to encourage the use of traditional skills and handicrafts when possible.
– Encourage a greater understanding between local communities and tourists through by providing accurate information and insights.
– Contribute to the protection and preservation of areas of local cultural, spiritual, archaeological and historical importance.
5 Tours, Activities & Destinations
All tours and activities provided by Discovery Travel should have an overall positive impact on the destination area. If it is found that one of our tours is having a negative impact, appropriate steps should be taken to provide a positive balance.
5.1 Visitor Capacities
New destinations should be carefully evaluated so as not to exceed their sustainable visitor capacity. Alternatives should be promoted instead of overcrowded main-stream destinations.
5.2 Community Tourism
Partners and destinations that provide income, support or other positive initiatives for local communities should always be considered when planning new tours and activities.
5.3 Local Authorities
Local authorities should be influenced and supported when possible concerning sustainability, environmental and socio-cultural issues.
5.4 Conservation & Responsible Tourism
5.4.1 When available, tours and activities should support biodiversity and conservation through financial contributions or political support. The sale of culturally, environmentally sensitive souvenirs or souvenirs that have a negative impact on wildlife, flora or fauna should be strongly discouraged.
5.4.2 Customers should be made aware of all best practices and behaviours when on tour with special focus on sustainability, cultural and environmental issues.
5.4.3 Tours should not promote activities that cause harm to people, animals, plants, natural resources or which are socially or culturally unacceptable. Wildlife should not be bred or held in captive unless properly regulated and cared for.
6 Partners & Associates
Discovery Travel will actively seek out partnerships with companies who operate similar sustainability policies and requests that all partner companies maintain sustainable and fair operating methods whenever possible. These methods should include;
– Minimizing their ecological impact by reducing emissions caused by staff transportation methods, reducing paper usage, using sustainably sourced paper and by separating and recycling waste whenever possible.
– Being sensitive towards, and maximizing positive impacts on local communities.
– Raising awareness about sustainability issues amongst key partners.
– Providing employees with fair conditions and a safe working environment.
– Comply with all relevant labour laws and child protection regulations. Clauses should also be included in contracts with partners along the supply line.
– Ensure customers and staff are informed of all relevant sustainability information.
7 Customer Communication
7.1 Sustainability Information
Sustainability information and updates are published on our website on the following pages;
Key information is also communicated to customers via guide briefings while on tour and as part of the relevant product information, both online and printed. Infographics and handouts are made available while on tour to inform customers of best practises such as dos and don’ts and any additional information.
7.2 Bookings and enquiries
Discovery Travel commits to displaying clear and accurate product information. Customers can contact us easily via our website, phone or WhatsApp with enquiries and we will respond quickly and efficiently. Customer service agents are on hand to advice and assist customers whenever required. Sustainable options are always offered promoted first as “better” options.
7.2 Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is monitored by the use of online reviews and customer comment forms. All comments are reviewed and taken into consideration when planning product changes or improvements. Should a customer complain, the complaint will be swiftly investigated and the appropriate action will be taken.
7.3 Local Information
Customers will often ask for information and recommendations regarding the local area. All staff should be able to answer their questions to a reasonable standard, while motivating customers to visit local restaurants, service providers and shops where appropriate.
For more information CLICK HERE for our latest Travelife sustainability report.