As a tour operator for individual tours, we operate in an industry which relies on our natural resources more than any other. At itravel sustainability is of special importance, with the goal to still be able to profit from cultural and natural riches in the future. For that we bear all necessary responsibilities to make the holiday experiences of our customers as environmentally friendly socially and ethically correct as possible. We refer to our office location in Cologne, our entire product portfolio as well as the performance of our trips through our partner agencies.
As we extremely rely on the preservation of the environment to execute our trips, we make an important contribution to environmental protection at every point in the tourism value chain. This begins in our office in Cologne, where we obtain clean power and mainly use recyclable paper. In addition, we try hard to reduce our plastic consumption and therefore choose drinks in glass bottles and use soda streams and our own coffee machine. With our itravel insider program we take advantage of digital travel advice and save even more paper in our daily work.
Our product portfolio includes more and more eco-lodges and hotels, such as the Bambu Indah in Bali or the Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana. These are predominantly made from natural resources and thus blend in perfectly within the surrounding nature. Due to renewable energy, water conservation, waste separation systems and a regional and organic kitchen these accommodations have a clear focus on sustainability.
Also, with our offer of experiences we draw attention to the environmental protection. An example is the rainforest expedition at the Tambopata Research Center. At this ecological expedition pollutant-free accommodations are used. Experienced explorers explain the dangers of deforestation in the rainforest.
In the operation of our trips, we have banned all ocean cruises and avoid domestic flights whenever an alternative option is possible. For this we usually resort to train traffic and rental cars. In the future, we will compensate CO² emissions from all our transport routes. For some CO²-related experiences, such as the Spitsbergen tour, an eco-compensation is already included in the travel price.
Sustainability also requires the preservation of cultural wealth. We attach great importance to cultural experiences and cultural diversity. Among our employees, 15 different cultural backgrounds are represented, which contributes to a cosmopolitan, unprejudiced and dynamic corporate culture.
Besides visiting historic temples and buildings, our portfolio includes experiences that allow cultural encounters with native tribes such as the WaMeru in Tanzania or the Himba in Namibia. Through experiences as such - as well as visits from local communities and families - we help maintain the traditional rituals of foreign cultures.
In addition, we offer experiences such as cooking or dancing classes. With this, we also define local cuisine and special sports as cultural wealth. Our goal is to save cultural diversity and to offer our customers the opportunity to interact with different cultures.
If the tour is accompanied by a tour guide, it will most likely be of local origin, acting as an inter-cultural ambassador.
While animal encounters are important for many travelers, it is our responsibility as a tour operator to take care of the animal welfare and the preservation of biodiversity. Consequently, we abdicate experiences in which animals are not kept in an appropriate manner and treated fairly. For ethical reasons, we do not have activities such as elephant riding and dolphin swimming in our program.
We are convinced that there isn´t any more sustainable way to experience animals than in the wild. We therefore recommend animal watching in the form of safaris or whale watching, where the animals live in their natural habitat.
In addition, we offer some experiences that contribute to animal and species protection and help against the threatened situation of some species. These include, for example, the Elephant Transit Home in Sri Lanka. Orphaned elephants are medically cared for and then reintroduced in groups. Experiences as such give our customers the opportunity to volunteer and thus contribute to animal welfare.
Furthermore, we donate parts of our revenue from selected trips to animal welfare projects, such as the "Anti Rhino Poaching Project" in the Eastern Cape in South Africa.