Croatia: Sustainable tourism good practice examples

After a successful last year, during which more than 350 students passed their exams and received a certificate, based on the positive remarks and interest by students, the involved educational instit

Croatia: Sustainable tourism good practice examples

After a successful last year, during which more than 350 students passed their exams and received a certificate, based on the positive remarks and interest by students, the involved educational institutions continue carrying out the lifelong learning educational programs on the subject of sustainable tourism.

In this academic year, even more interest from students in Croatia, Greece, Latvia and Poland is expected. The students see the certificate as an investment in their education and consider it do be an advantage in their future endeavors.

Educational system for tourism cannot be a merely theoretical approach, providing only definitions and statistics. It is also essential to educate the students by raising their awareness of corporate social responsibility, providing them with the examples of good practices for the sustainable management of a tourism enterprise and with update of new trends and preferences of tourists so, as graduates, they have practical knowledge and skills for running tourism companies sustainably and successfully.

The educational system needs to adapt to change and the Travelife certificate is an excellent example of how to do this. By introducing it to students they are given good practice examples, introduced with business changes and encouraged to become conscious of corporate social responsibility. The best way to motivate and reach students is to present interesting examples from their own field which explain how they should work and present themselves, as well as show them what is expected of them.

Travelife can be presented as an interesting link between the traditional and modern systems of learning. It covers the theoretical aspect necessary for all future employees of travel agencies or hotels. On the other hand, it follows trends and gives interesting examples of how to do business in the modern world and what exactly is expected of us. More and more students are aware of the importance of sustainable business practices and believe they cannot be successful without them. Therefore it is unsurprising that more and more of them want to gain this certificate as proof of their newly acquired knowledge and skills.
Juris Smalinskis, Vidzeme University in Latvia

The Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management in Opatija implemented the educational programme Travelife for travel agencies for the first time, which makes it among the first educational institutions in Croatia to use this programme in the process of lifelong learning. The programme had been achieved by involving students within the “Marketing of Travel agencies” and “Quality Management” courses. The positive experiences and opinions about this way of working and learning are shared by both students and mentors. The realization of this programme offers students the opportunity to gain additional competences and increase their competitiveness in an ever more demanding market, which is surely a cause for recommending this form of lifelong learning.
Dora Smolčić Jurdana, dean of Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Opatija

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At the same time travel agencies and tour operators from Croatia, Greece, Latvia, Poland and the Netherlands began exchanging good practice examples within the Travelife system in the field of sustainable tourism. In the preceding nine newsletters more than thirty travel agencies shared their examples of good practice which are being disseminated to travel agencies involved in Travelife, as well as educational institutions lecturing on sustainable tourism. Indeed, it was the local good practice examples which were emphasized in the analyses of the Travelife materials as a valuable example for education, as well as inspiration for creating new positive examples.

Examples of our activities in the field of sustainable tourism have for a long time been a part of our business practices and we consider them to be an added value to our suppliers, as well as tourists. By including destinations which other travel agencies avoided to our programs we not only helped the local community, but through a different, sustainable, approach became noticed in the market by offering new and different products which were appreciated by our customers.
Željko Kelemen, director of Huck Finn travel agency

When we started the programme with traditional boat tours instead of standard ship cruises, we weren’t sure of how the customers will react to this, but now our clients always point out that this was one of their most impressive experiences from the tour. Our case indicates that a sustainable choice can be commercially very successful.
Leszek Ostaszewski, director of Travel Projekt, Poland.

Our passion for bird watching motivated us to start a project which many thought would be unsuccessful, but our responsibility and deep respect for nature and local knowledge ensured their success. But, we didn’t stop here. Our offer includes souvenirs such as wooden birdhouses and feeders for birds which help our clients discover nature and come closer to it in a sustainable way.

Examples collected and distributed through the newsletter will be gathered and published as a brochure in order to help with developing awareness of corporate social responsibility in order to help with disseminating this project to all interested parties. The brochure will contain examples of good practices, promote corporate social responsibility among travel agencies and present leading businesses.

The initiative is a part of the„Corporate Social Responsibility Training and Certification in the Travel Sector – CSR TOUR“project financed through EU Lifelong Learning Programme, Croatian Ministry of Tourism and Government’s Office for Cooperation with NGOs. The project is a two year project in which, along with Croatia, participate tourist associations from Netherlands, Great Britain, Poland, Latvia and Greece.

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