KNMtravel and sustainability

KNMtravel sustainability policy

Our first and foremost policy is to raise awareness, engage in sustainable practices and eventually work closely with sustainable suppliers across different sectors of the industry. Specific policies regarding key themes are as follows:  

1. Internal social and environment management:
We commit to policies following below principals:
- To offer a formal written contract that details responsibilities/tasks, rights-including holidays, wages, working hours, and the freedom to terminate contracts within a given time frame.
- To ensure all employees are receiving minimum wages required by law or above, depending on the scope and content of work.
- To offer overtime compensation and medical insurance that meet the requirement by law.
- To develop an internal system where employees could freely express their comments, complaints, concerns, and satisfactions about the company.
- To ensure a safe working environment where first aid boxes are stationed, and fire extinguishers are checked regularly. Yearly training on fire safety for all staff is practiced according to the law. 
- To practice equal opportunities in terms of hiring (students, disabled persons, ages, nationalities, or regions) and in terms of access to available resources (incentives, trainings) depending on the scope of work.
- Concerning the internal environment, we engage ourselves in “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” by practicing the followings:
- Reduce one-time plastic use to at least 50% in the office and carry our own drinking bottles, eating utensils whenever we are.
- Reduce office bio-waste: bringing our own food and drink take the waste home. Offer suggestions to client to have drink at nearby coffee place so that we could reduce at least 50% of the bio-waste.
- Reduce energy consumption, namely electricity and water, by selecting energy efficient model for printer, LP etc. Air-conditioning or heater or lighting are off after work. We also practice working from home few days within a week for all employees. By mid-2022, we target at least 20%-30% of total office energy use.
- Reduce paper communication/promotion material to digital based form. 
Take means to reduce packaging in terms of souvenirs, or when purchasing office facilities.
- Recycle of paper use by doing duplex copy or use the blank side for other purpose. 
- Recycle waste by properly separating them according to government guidelines and set up quantitative targets.
- Collect and recycle used batteries  
- Communicate with property owner (for water and electricity usage) and suggest alternative way of energy or install water-saving equipment when possible.
- Employees are encouraged to commute with car sharing or public transfer while remote working from home is also applied for those who live farther away. This will continue even after the pandemic.
- Provide regular updates concerning sustainable issues as a form of internal training.
- Encourage participation in sustainable workshop/seminars/volunteer work held by the national body/NGOs external training. 
- Take part in projects that help to promote, educate, and encourage sustainable practices at community level.

2. Supply chains:
- Use of low emission coaches and include sustainable means of transport as part of our own package product whenever possible.
- Design products that take sustainable concepts in mind, including alternative forms of transport, guides, accommodations that practice sustainable approaches etc. 
- Work with accommodation units that are aware of sustainable issues-environment, social, human right, or those with international recognition or Travelife certificate. Particularly the policy to refuse children labor and sexual exploitation in the tourism industry should be observed and respected and put in written format.
- Priority is also given to local suppliers to protect culture, heritage, and promote use of local ingredients etc. 
- Include local guides, artists, local handicrafts as part of package products.

3. Destinations:
- Wherever possible, select attractions that are of natural, cultural, and historical significance.
- Avoid mass tourism destinations and provide alternatives suggestions that take sustainability into consideration. 
- Take the initiative in working with partners at the national/local levels to increase the awareness of sustainable tourism development.
- Provide proper information concerning souvenirs to guests and avoid promoting those that are made of endangered species (flora and fauna list from CITES), or those recommendations given by the EU. 

4. Customer relations:
- Prior to booking, we are committed to:
- Communicate clear message regarding marketing-not over promise and no hidden prices.
- Ensure the personal privacy info is well protected through all processes of communication.
- Provide valuable information regarding the chosen destination on the code of conduct (social/natural/cultural), personal health and safety issues etc. 
- Give alternative suggestions whenever available concerning the accommodation, local transport, and restaurants etc.
- During the holidays, we are to ensure that:
- Local guides/escorts are communicating all related sustainable issues as per our communication policy but no limited to it.
- Customers are aware of the proper code and conduct and are aware of their behavior during the visits.
- Customers/local guides are well-informed of the emergency contacts and that our person in charge/other staff in the office are following guidelines and dealing with emergency within timely manner.
- After service, we take actions in:
- Monitor and measure client’s satisfaction and complaints through our established procedures.
- Communicating with suppliers/local guides to receive positive/negative comments as well as different points of views.
- Incorporate satisfaction/complains about further improvement or as the base to decide on whether same suppliers or same elements are to be included or not for the next product design.

KNMtravel sustainability result

Our work is defined by passion, inspiration, and the common good of the community we are in. Our key results up-to now as follows:

1. Internal social and environmental management:

  • Within the KNMtravel team we have employees from different nationalities-Spanish, Japanese and Chinese. Currently we still have one Japanese national with us.
  • KNMtravel joined Travelife scheme from 2020 JAN and has thus encouraged and motivated staff to practice some key element “Reduce, recycle, reuse” in the office as well as at private life. For example - all employees received one glass bottle (0.75l) as 2020 new year present which they could use wherever they are. Kitchen set and cookery are provided so that employees bring or prepare their own meals thus reducing package and bio waste. 
  • Some years ago, waste bins of paper, glass, and package were set up while last year we changed to eco certificated toilet paper as well as printed paper to be used in the office. 
  • KNMtravel continues to implement working from home policy during and after the pandemic time. Currently staff are taking shifts to work in the office/home. On average, staff are present in the office 2-3D per week. 
  • During the pandemic time, employees are encouraged to attend the online workshop on theme of sustainable tourism either held by STO or other organizations promoting the theme, most recent ones being the Interreg Castle Road cooperating both Slovenia and Austria (mid Dec) and the Sustainable tourism guide training provided by Goodplace at the end of Nov.
  • A sustainable newsletter is circulating to all staff bi-weekly starting in 2020. The content covers different perspectives of sustainability, from ecological to social related.
  • KNMtravel is one of the partners of the Grem v Mesto initiative which aims to revitalize the old city center with tourism and cultural activities. KNMtravel is one of the partners (together with municipality of Metlika, Semič) of the Interreg Misterion project that centers around water resources and promote sustainable development of the local region.

2. Product elements:

  • Coach is the main mode of travel for groups. In the past 2 years, our partners have slowly switched to a newer coach and low emission coach model. For example, for the Taiwanese market only coaches within 1-3 yr. old will be used. For FIT guests, we have been assisting to order local transport services such as bus, train, or ferry tickets and now options include also bikes or e-bikes. For our car rental clients, we have also started to explore electric mobility with new suppliers such as Aventcar
  • A new product line, KNMexclusive was launched in 2020 with the sustainable concept. KNMexclusive highlights the local experience-accommodation, gastronomy and visit of local hand craft. This include using tourist farm or small-scale hotel with green certificate (such as Šenkova Domacija in Jezersko, Hotel Plesnik in Logarska, Bear Log in Kočevje) as well as local gostilna (Hiša Franko, Hiša Polonka, in Kobarid, Raduha in Logarska) and local art craft and cultural experience (carpenter house in Kočevje, beehive and apitherapy in Dolenjska etc.). Currently KNMexclusive covers both Slovenia and Croatia as the destinations. 
  • Earlier in 2021, KNMtravel has compiled a list of green and sustainable tourism ideas for Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia. Within the list is the suggestion of sustainable destination ideas, possible green experiences within the region and the chance for tourists to participate in the local community project if any. This introduces some green facts of each destination. It aims to provide clients with alternative travel experiences and to explore ways to get involved with the local community. 
  • KNMtravel has been promoting Zidanica (wine cottage) together with the Consortium of Vineyard tourism since its establishment. In 2020, Consortium was awarded the first prize in competition with all other products from Europe as a destination of Sustainable and Cultural tourism within the wine tourism category.

3. Communication:

  • In 2021, KNMtravel has revised and relaunched its website with a focus on new product-where products focusing on nature, local gourmet delights, KNMexclusive series are presented. Particularly, the Dolenjska region, the birthplace of KNMtravel, is singled out as a good example of sustainable, alternative, and green destination. 
  • Our policy on customer privacy and sustainable policy are also published on the website with Slovenian, English and Japanese, which enables to communicate our commitment to our major customers both home and afar.

The benefit of shifting from standard tourism toward a more sustainable way of travelling is multifold. On the personal level, employees are more aware of the results of their actions/behavior in both work and private life. On the collective level as a company, while reviewing our internal and social environment, we understand that sustainability reflects our philosophy as a company, of who we are and why we are. We noticed that since the beginning, KNMtravel has been acting and operating with the sustainable concept in mind, however, practices stay only in our mind. The crucial thing would be to put them concretely into a system so that we could share experiences and monitor progress while maintaining flexibility. Externally, we are fortunate to take part and work with like-minded partners and customers, as the support system is important at the initial stage. We also observe that post-pandemic new travel pattern will emerge and no doubt that sustainable, green, and responsible tourism will play a vital part. It is thus a great encouragement to know that we are on the right track.

Actions or efforts, however small, could bring changes.


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