Khiri Travel Awarded Travelife Certification

Southeast Asia dmc Khiri Travel is handed Travelife sustainability certification by UNEP at PATA headquarters in Bangkok, June 2015

Khiri Travel has taken a big step in boosting its responsible tourism credentials by reaching the final stage of the Travelife certification program. Khiri Travel is now Travelife Certified for its tour operations in Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam.

The Founder & CEO of Khiri Travel, Willem Niemeijer, accepted the award from Janet Salem, Program Manager at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), during the award ceremony, which was held at the PATA headquarters in Bangkok, 23 June.

Travelife was founded with the support of ABTA in the UK and ANVR in the Netherlands in 2007 as a rigorous responsible tourism certification scheme for tour operators and hotels.

Today, certification acknowledges 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). Khiri Travel is amongst the first two companies in Southeast Asia, which are now in compliance with the GSTC.

Khiri Travel Myanmar staff, pictured, earned Travelife certification along with Khiri Travel Thailand and Khiri Travel Vietnam

Khiri Travel’s certification was based on five key areas: office operations, product development, working with suppliers, customer relations, and destinations. Over 200 sustainability criteria were involved in the process.

“The certification process has raised Khiri Travel’s operations to a new high,” said Willem Niemeijer at the presentation. “Three Travelife certified Khiri Travel offices are now geared to exceeding the expectations of clients who need to know that they are working with an operator that has effective green, social and labor practices in place.”

Other certified companies include TUI-UK, SNP Natuurreizen, and Sawadee.

Khiri’s Sustainability and Responsible Tourism Manager, Graham Read, who led the Travelife certification process, said that Travelife auditors conducted in-depth interviews with staff and fully scrutinized Khiri Travel’s internal and external policies and procedures.

“Key to the process was, and is, engaging people, from employees at Khiri offices to our suppliers in the field,” said Read. “Without this engagement the task would have been impossible. The whole experience has been an incredibly beneficial experience for Khiri Travel.”

After its initial Travelife success, Read said that Khiri Travel would seek to expand Travelife certification to its other operations in Asia.