Graham Read, an expert in sustainability and responsible tourism from the UK has joined Global Discovery as a free-lance consultant. Graham has recently returned from Asia, where he was responsible for the successful implementation of the Travelife sustainability and responsible tourism certification process at the well-known South-East Asian DMC Khiri Travel. In June of 2015 two of their destination offices received certificates from Travelife, those in Thailand and Vietnam. In both destinations the UN certification program have been a first. Travelife certification complies with OECD corporate social responsibility guidelines including labor conditions, human rights, environmental responsibilities, biodiversity and fair business practices. The Travelife standard for tour operators is also formally recognized by the UN-supported Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC).
Global Discovery is currently engaging its members, covering more than thirty countries around the globe to engage in the Travelife certification process. Omar van Beek, operational director of the organization stated: ‘Travelife is moving in the direction of becoming one of the industry standard programs for sustainability and responsible tourism. We expect that the certification will soon, within a few years, be indispensable to serve major outbound tour operators.’
Graham has been in contact with Happy Trails Indonesia, a highly successful DMC from Sanur, Bali to implement the certification process there as well. A team is currently assembled to implement the standards within the company in the coming year. When successful it would be the first DMC to enter into the process of sustainability and responsible tourism certification.