Eco Gold for Jersey guided walks company
Our guided walks on the seabed are a superb way to experience the beauty of our coastline and observe wildlife. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness about the environment and Green issues.
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 UK outdoor activity companies which hold this award.
The Green Tourism Business Scheme is the most successful environmental accreditation scheme for tourism businesses worldwide, with approximately 2,500 members in the UK. Originally developed in 1997, the scheme assesses tourism businesses across 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 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, encouraging 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:
- Clients are offered discounts if they use public transport, cycle, or walk to launching points.
- Staff and clients are encouraged to pick up discarded and old fishing gear.
- We actively monitor the intertidal area off the southeast 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.