Title Corporate Social Responsibility Training and Certification in the Travel Sector
Project Number 2012-1-HR1-LEO05-01703
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Marketing Text CSR-TOUR facilitated the introduction of a tested and proven Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) training and management system among members of Polish, Latvian, Greek and Croatian travel associations. Collaboratively developed by UK and Dutch tourism industry stakeholders since 2004, the Travelife methodology for CSR in tourism provides travel companies with a range of practical learning, assessment and implementation tools that enable staff to implement CSR in their companies. CSR-TOUR adapted the methodology components to each country’s particular context, developed CSR standards, pilot tested the methodologies and built local capacities and knowledge to manage, promote, implement and expand the CSR training system and quality standards in order to ensure long-term continuity of the intervention.
Discussions and actions around Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) have matured rapidly, driven by increasing demand for accountability of businesses to society. This development is driven by:
- Sustainable destinations are essential for the long term survival of a tourism sector and provide a competitive advantage.
- About 60% of consumers in Western European countries expect an ethical behaviour from the companies they buy from.
- B2B, companies ahead in CSR expect their business partners in destinations to comply with basic but gradually raising CSR requirements.
The project introduced CSR in the vocational knowledge and competence of current and future professionals working as tour operators, travel agents and their providers. It transfered an established and innovative CSR training and assessment system (Travelife) to Croatia, Greece, Poland and Latvia.
In order to achieve this goal, the project:
1. Improved and built upon existing and established training material, methodologies, virtual learning environments and support tools
2. Developed national CSR assessment standards for travel companies
3. Pilot tested developed training and assessment systems
4. Built local capacities and knowledge to manage, promote, implement and expand the CSR training system and standards.
5. Implementation: delivered training, assessment and certification to 25+ companies per country.
The consortium consisted of:
1. Exporting partners – developers of the sector wide CSR training and award system.
2. Importing partners - national travel associations (the target group) aiming to supporting their members in CSR.
VET institutes in each country were involved in delivering the training to their students. Consortium members had extensive experience in transnational cooperation from joint work on the development of the system to previous cooperation on the sustainable tourism projects.
The project produced a set of nationally adapted and tested CSR training materials and standards:
- Training and standards and award system for travel companies.
- Training course for VET institutes.
- Sustainability training and assessment for Hotels (Croatia and Greece).
In the short term, the project results contributed to reducing the skills gaps in the labour market, enabled the travel associations and VET institutes to offer training that meets the labour market needs and supported the expansion of the efforts to include CSR into travel companies’ business models.
In the long-term the project improved professional capacities and changed learning habits and attitudes of travel companies’ employees. The project established strong and active links between the training sector and field practitioners' organisations. It helped efforts to minimise negative environmental, economic and social impacts.
Drawing on best practices and lessons learnt by all partners, this project implemented the innovative CSR training and assessment system as developed and implemented in The Netherlands and the UK in 4 other European countries by following a methodology of preparation, testing, capacity building, integration and implementation that runs along six interrelated work packages.
WP 1 Improvement and adaptation of CSR training, standards and technical support system
In WP 1 the CSR training system (content and methodology) was improved, updated, adapted and translated to each country’s specific situation and VET curricula. In addition, importing travel associations defined their own minimum CSR standard levels for travel companies, and standard for suppliers (accommodations) were translated. In parallel, the technical ‘virtual learning environment’ and practical tools were improved and upgraded in order to include present-day interactive opportunities from web-based systems.
Activities undertaken within WP 1 include:
Training modules were updated and adapted, with 2 new modules added: "Internal environment management" and "Tour leaders, local representatives and guides". Training and assessment materials are translated into national languages of importing countries.
Adaptation of CSR training to fit curricula of VET training institutes included consultation with national VET institutes in Croatia, Greece, Poland and Latvia.
Adaptation of CSR assessment standards included consultations with national working groups on standards for travel companies and translation of accommodation standards.
Technical and support system was improved (new website) and translated into national languages of importing countries. Improvement and adaptation process included minor changes that continued until 30-06-2014 in order to include feedback from implementation, evaluations and testing. This ensured that Training, standards and support systems were up to date with needs and requirements of the target groups.
WP 2 Testing the CSR training system and standards in importing countries
WP 2 tested the improved and updated training system, standards and technical & support system in each particular country, leading to final versions of training material, support tools and virtual learning environment.
Activities undertaken within WP 2 include:
Testing of CSR training system for travel companies staff and e-learning system was done and feedback was collected.
Pilot testing of the CSR training for VET students was done by VET teachers while testing by first students groups is in progress.
Testing of the CSR training for VET students took place in the school year 2013/2014 with scheduled courses in all importing countries. Testing of CSR training system for travel companies and testing of CSR standards continued in the second project as part of implementation activities in WP 4. The aim of prolonging this activity was to collect as much feedback and recommendations as possible.
WP 3 Train the trainers
WP 3 was an essential capacity building package which ensured that in each country a workforce was prepared to implement the training system and tools in both the world of work and the world of education, as well as setting up and managing the CSR assessment and certification system for travel companies and accommodation suppliers. The Train-the-Trainer workshop and further distance support of 5+ trainers in each importing country ensured the long-term sustainability and continuity of the project results.
Activities undertaken within WP 2 include:
Training module and programme for Train the trainers (TOT) module was developed with 3-day training workshop delivered 2-5/9/2013 with 28 participants. Feedback from testing phase was discussed and conclusions for further adaptations and improvements were created. 14 trained trainers received certificates after completing their training.
Training travel company advisors/auditors and training of accommodation auditors was organised in February-March 2014. Trainings included certification and distant support to trained trainers during 1 year after the training.
WP 4 Implementation and integration
WP 4 was the implementation phase and started off with the development of communication strategies in each importing country, in order to draw attention of stakeholders and motivate them to join the trainings. Furthermore, initial training was delivered by the trained trainers, accompanied by experts from exporting countries, leading to at least 30+ CSR certified travel company staff in each country. Equally, the first ‘real’ CSR courses were taught in VET tourism curricula, leading to the first CSR certified students (50+ in each country).
Activities undertaken within WP 4 include:
Preparation for training of tour operators and travel agencies was done with trainees recruited. Two day trainings were delivered in Latvia, Croatia, Greece and Poland with trained trainers from TOT participating as trainers and 107 participants. Training in Croatia was filmed in order to make several training videos to improve interactivity of online training.
Training courses for students started in Poland and preparation is done for training in Croatia, Latvia and Greece.
Trained trainers will provided support and distant trainings to travel companies in their action planning and implementation of concrete management and performance standards. Auditing and awarding of CSR performances was done by trained auditors. VET courses were implemented and individual distant student training was provided by including online assessment or regular exam. Other planned activities were an information and training workshop for hotel owners in Croatia and Greece followed by self-assessment and audits.
Finally, once trained travel company staff had been able to apply learned concepts and practices, adequate CSR performance of travel companies was awarded by either national (basic level) or international (EMAS level) certification. Equally, at least 20 hotels were certified with a sustainability award in Croatia and Greece.
WP5 Dissemination and exploitation of results
The work package of dissemination and exploitation seeked to ensure that the numbers of trained and certified persons and companies quickly grew in the future and that experiences are disseminated to neighbouring countries.
Activities undertaken within WP 5 include:
Public project website was created with all project relevant materials created. Project leaflet is prepared, published and distributed. Project information and results are disseminated through newsletters, other web dissemination, press releases and through conferences, assemblies and congresses.
Dissemination activities were continued through publication of newsletters, other web dissemination, press releases and through conferences, assemblies and congresses. Awarding ceremonies were used to further disseminate project results. All project relevant materials were uploaded on the public project website. A clear ownership and dissemination structure with financial and business strategy was established based on inputs from past activities.
Recognition, transparency, certification
Accommodation and Food Service Activities
Other Service Activities
Administrative and Support Service Activities
Information and Communication
transparency and certification
material for open learning
open and distance learning
Products developed during the project were:
a)MoU between VET institutes and Associations indicating a mutual recognition of the CSR training
b) Materials on web-site about sustainability standards, self-assessment and self-training for accommodations are translated and will help build knowledge and skills of hotels and other accommodation providers
c) A “CSR for travel companies” virtual learning environment based on an existing platform was further improved as a result of evaluation, testing and integrating feedback and recommendations from associations and travel companies. It is translated into languages of each importing country. Learning environment was improved with Video materials and additional learning materials added and available to workshop participants.
d) A set of web tools for “CSR in travel companies”include features to support easy implementation and assessment of CSR actions and performance, such as planning, reporting and benchmarking tools and a management system of sustainable suppliers. A 120 travel companies and 11 educational isntitute has registrated online and are using or will be using available web tools.
e) A “CSR for travel companies” training handbook was adapted and improved with two new modules added and translated for each importing country.
f) Train the trainer course was developed for training travel company staff and VET tourism students about CSR in tourism companies. Jointly, staff / key members of importing associations and staff / teachers of VET institutes were trained and prepared by a training expert to integrate and implement the CSR training course in their organization. Training included content, didactics, case study and guest lectures from ANVR Dutch tour operator association and educational institutes who provided additional inputs for training content and methodology. Total of 28 participants were trained.
After successfully and under supervision of the training expert conducting training in their own country, 14 participants received an official certificate as ‘CSR in tourism trainer’.
g) A Communication strategy for each country” was developed aiming t dissemination of project objectives and results, and recruiting training participants. Strategies include communication and dissemination activities such as issuing press releases, writing articles, presenting at conferences and events, etc. about CSR in travel companies.
g)National training workshops for CSR coordinators s official kick-off of the CSR training programme for travel company in each importing country, a 2-day workshop aimed at training of CSR coordinators to implement CSR in their travel companies. Additional travel company staff and VET tourism teachers were invited to join in order to expand the local knowledge base on CSR.
Trainings were organized:
14.-15.10.2013, Zagreb, Croatia; 47 participants
16.-17.10.2013. Athens, Greece; 20 participants
21-22.10.2013. Riga, Latvia, 29 participants
24.-25.10.2013. Warsaw, Poland, 11 participants.
Total on 4 trainings there was 107 participants.
h) Information brochure for accommodation suppliers was translated with aim to inform and motivate accommodations towards CSR
i) Promotion leaflet promoting the initiative for interested stakeholders printed and distributed through web site and e-mail dissemination.