As part of Jersey Kayak Adventures (our parent company) we gained the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) Gold award. Only five tourism related businesses in the Channel Islands reached the Gold standard and we have joined an elite few outdoor activity companies in the UK which hold this level of award.
The Green Tourism Business Scheme is the most successful environmental accreditation scheme for tourism businesses of its type in the world, with approximately 2,500 members in the UK. Originally developed in 1997, the scheme assesses tourism businesses across of a range of measures (including energy, waste, water, purchasing, transport, communication etc.) and three levels of award are available depending on progress: Gold, Silver or Bronze.
For a small company like ours meeting the Green Tourism Business Gold standards may seem like yet another distraction from the daily task of running a business. In a recession some might argue that Eco credentials are considered less important by consumers.
Yet, when we looked at customer feedback we discovered that Green awards gave us a competitive edge. Customers reported that Eco awards are a positive factor and encouraged them to book a guided walking tour in Jersey or a guided sea kayak tour with us.
We were assessed on a range of environmental indicators and customer service.
Some of our key areas were:
- A discount is offered to clients if they use public transport, cycle or walk to launching points.
- Staff and clients are encouraged to pick up discarded and old bits of fishing gear.
- We play an active part in monitoring the intertidal area off the south east coast and keep the Environment section informed of developments and activities in the area.
- Involvement in school Eco/Green days.
- Member of the Sustainable business forum and marine biology section of the Société Jersiaise.
- A high level of knowledge and information about the marine environment and local history.
“The business is very green and low impact. Director, Derek Hairon and his team are well qualified with a high environmental awareness, good networking, and a strong green marketing profile. The business has excellent green information for customers, including the website, along with good educational aspects on sustainability and community involvement/support. There is also a strong support of local heritage and culture.” Said GTBS assessor Paul Jeffries.
When staff are knowledgeable and enthused they are more likely to work well, and customers appreciate staff knowledge. During 2012 we enrolled staff in the Jersey Tourism Bronze Badge tour guide award to ensure they have an in-depth knowledge of the history of Jersey.
To ensure quality standards we also undergo annual inspection by Adventuremark to ensure we meet UK national standards in the outdoor activity industry.