Kwezi Safaris, a Kenyan based tours and travel operator has been recognized in the UK for sustainable operations. The company was awarded the coveted Travelife Partner level award in recognition of its commitment to sustainable business practices and corporate social responsibility.
Travelife is a training, management and certification initiative for tourism companies committed to reach sustainability with a primary focus on hotels, accommodations, tour operators and travel agencies. On its online platform, it offers educational tools, exams and a step-by-step certification process.
“We are proud to become one of the first Kenyan tour and travel companies to be recognized for sustainable operations. Our goal has always been to run a company that creates unforgettable memories for our customers and yet contributes to the sustainable development of local communities and the protection of the environment,” Kwezi Safaris CEO Mr. George Nchau said.
Kwezi Safaris Ltd complies with more than 100 criteria related to an operator’s office management, product range, international business partners and customer information. The Travelife Partner level standard is covering the ISO 26000 Corporate Social Responsibility themes, including environment, biodiversity, human rights and labour relation.
Commenting on the Award, Travelife for Tour Operators General Manager Mr. Naut Kusters said that the tourism sector must not remain indifferent to the sustainability challenges of our times. He further congratulated Kwezi Safaris for incorporating sustainability principles into their decision-making and day-to-day operations.
“I am delighted to see that sustainability in the tour operator sector is gaining momentum. I am confident that Kwezi Safaris’ recognition will inspire more Kenya companies to integrate sustainability in their operations,” Mr. Kuster said.
Travelife is a three-stage certification program for tour operators and travel agents: (1) Travelife Engaged; (2) Travelife Partner, and (3)Travelife Certified. Kwezi Safaris is the first company in Kenya to have reached the Travelife Partner award(Stage2).
The idea of sustainability – and its three pillars of economic, environmental and social action – is now a part of decision-making in many fields. In the tourism sector, as for other industries, the implementation of sustainable development relies on companies accepting their social and environmental responsibilities towards society, and making changes to their business practices to improve their sustainability performance.
Travelife is the leading international sustainability certification for the travel sector. More than 35 national travel associations are promoting the scheme to their members, including the Kenyan Association of Tour operators (KATO), Tanzanian Association of Tour Operators (TATO), ABTA (formerly Association of the British Travel Association) and the Pacific Asian Travel Association (PATA).
In Kenya, Travelife works in close partnership with Ecotourism Kenya, who is managing the customized scheme. Jointly, Travelife, Ecotourism Kenya and KATO are presently implementing an EU funded initiative (Green Tour Kenya) to work towards a sustainable travel sector in Kenya. The project aims to support more than 100 KATO members in the adaptation of common sustainability standards.
Grace Nderitu, Ecotourism Kenya CEO, noted that: “The Partner award of sustainable tourism to Kwezi Safaris Ltd marks a major milestone for the tourism industry in Kenya. The tour operator certification complements the eco-rating certification standard for accommodation facilities and jointly works to give an assurance that Kenya’s tourism is sustainable.”