1. We aim to build sustainable supply chain working with stakeholders.
2. We promote local regions aim to increase customer and sustainable interactions between visitors and local people.
3. We uncover sustainable tourism materials in the regions and contribute to the sustainable development of the tourism industry.
4. We will strive to provide sufficient information to our customer for a better understanding of the rarity and value of nature and culture.
5. We will take the initiative in promoting sustainable tourism with customers to protect the environment and culture, and to support the destination.
6. We fully understand the impact to the global environment by tourism industry and strive to conserve biodiversity.
7. We will establish sustainable work environment in the tourism industry where each employee complies with compliance, ensuring a safe and fair workplace.
Travel agencies certified under the Quality Assurance System for Tour Operators (hereinafter “TQJ-certified Travel Agencies”) shall observe compliance in performing business. This means that TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall respect good social sense and meet the trust and expectations of their stakeholders*1 in addition to observing laws/ordinances.
This system formulates here the Minimum Standards for Sustainable Tourism by adding the principles of sustainable tourism to the certification standards of the existing Quality Assurance System for Tour Operators based on the basic principles of the World Charter of Tourism Ethics adopted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The aim of this is to maximize the development of the tourism industry while minimizing the potential adverse effects on the global environment, cultural heritage and society so that certified TQJ-certified Travel Agencies and their stakeholders can realize responsible and sustainable tourism.
The following is necessary in implementing and complying with the Minimum Standards for Sustainable Tourism.
1) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall demonstrate their commitment externally by announcing on their websites and in their pamphlets their intention to implement even greater efforts based on the Minimum Standards for Sustainable Tourism stated below.
2)  Meeting the review criteria based on the Minimum Standards for Sustainable Tourism when making a new or renewal application shall be an essential condition to obtain certification under the Quality Assurance System for Tour Operators. Those operators which become TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall similarly implement and comply with the mission, targets and action guidelines stated here with the aim of realizing sustainable tourism and a continuous improvement in corporate value.
3) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall strive to strengthen their ability to convey the concept and branding and promote understanding to stakeholders with regards to the Minimum Standards for Sustainable Tourism and the initiatives toward sustainable tourism independently undertaken by each of them. They shall actively work so that the tourism and travel services they provide form a sustainable supply chain.
※ Stakeholders refers to customers, shareholders, business partners, tour-guide interpreters, employees and other interested parties.
Each business partner which provides tourism and travel services (community-based travel products, transportation, accommodation, tour guide-interpreters and meals, etc.) is an important collaborator in promoting sustainable tourism. TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall respect the lifestyles and traditional cultures of the regions they visit while considering their customer’s convenience, comfort, entertainment and the economy. TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall strive to provide sustainable tourism and travel services together with their business partners while considering the impact of their business on the natural environment (especially endangered wild animals and plants) and natural resources (water and energy, etc.)
▸ Toward the Provision of Sustainable Accommodation Facility Services
1) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall propose accommodation facilities which are proactively working on the SDGs as an option to their customers.
▸ Toward the Provision of Sustainable Community-based Travel Products (Local Activities)
1) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall summarize the precautions to take into consideration the natural environment in the regions they visit when participating in tour activities to minimize the impact tourists have on the regions they visit. They shall then inform their business partners, tour guide-interpreters and customers of those precautions.
2) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall not provide tours or activities which may be socially, culturally or religiously unacceptable.
3) Except for appropriately managed programs which comply with national and international laws and local regulations, TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall not provide tours which may interfere with the lives of the residents of the regions they visit or tours which may affect the natural environment or natural resources.
4) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall not do business with business operators which provide services and products that do not take into consideration animal welfare or that are directly or indirectly involved in child labor.
5) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall also propose products with environmentally-friendly means of transport in the regions they visit to their customers. For example, they shall add sightseeing spot excursions which use green slow mobility and E-BIKEs to the options they offer.
▸ To Promote Sustainable Tourism Built Together with Tour Guide-interpreters
1) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall enter into appropriate outsourcing agreements through documents which describe the work details and working conditions so that tour guide-interpreters who serve as the cornerstone of tours by standing between them and their customers can engage in tours with peace of mind.
1) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall strive to avoid over-tourism by promoting regional decentralization and attracting tourists to regional areas and also by proactively proposing and implementing gastronomy tourism, snow tourism, cycle tourism and other forms of adventure travel; farm stays, promotion of the use of national parks, introduction to Japanese heritage and other new tourism contents; and contents which enable special experiences.
2) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall widely showcase the attractiveness of the regions they visit and promote interaction and exchanges between customers and locals by proactively proposing tourism experience programs (agricultural and forestry experiences, mountain climbing, and river rafting, etc.) in the regions they visit.
3) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall contribute to the sustainable development of the tourism industry in the regions they visit by proactively supporting shops and local restaurants which provide local products and handicrafts for local consumption to customers.
✪ Before Travel
1) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall comply with the laws on the protection of personal information in Japan in compliance with the OECD’s 8 Privacy Principles to Live By. They shall ensure notification and content for the provision of their customer’s personal information and pay close attention to managing it.
2) When TQJ-certified Travel Agencies propose tourism and travel services, they shall guarantee an environment in which their customers can make the best choice with peace of mind without misrepresenting or exaggerating the quality, content or price.
✪ During Travel
1) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall encourage environmental conservation and cultural property protection together with their customers to create a virtuous cycle with tourism use by conveying the rarity and cultural value of the natural and cultural heritage which should be passed on to the next generation in a detailed and careful manner.
2) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall appropriately provide information relating to the safety and security of the regions they visit so that their customers do not become involved in troubles and dangers. At the same time, they shall strive to manage safety by conveying points of contact and telephone numbers in case of an emergency.
✪ After Travel
1) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall conduct questionnaires on their customers which includes sustainability items and promote initiatives to improve customer satisfaction.
2) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall formulate a response manual for customer complaints, inquiries and accidents. They shall pay close attention and respond sincerely to such events.
TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall work to conserve the global environment and biodiversity. At the same time, they shall strictly observe the 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle) and appropriate disposal. In addition, they shall pay attention to the procurement of sustainable products and tourism materials in their daily operations and when providing tours with an awareness of the issue of ethical consumption*2. *2: Examples of ethical consumption include products which support disaster-affected areas, organic products, fair trade, use of locally produced and consumed foods and food lose.
✪ In Daily Operations
1) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall promote document and material digitalization and paperless conversion in both their daily operations and sales activities in regards to paper resources. When using paper is unavoidable, they shall be conscious of devising ways to reduce paper resources such as by double-sided printing and reduced printing.
2) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall periodically monitor the resources they use (electric power, water and paper). They shall then implement actions which lead to energy saving.
✪ When Providing Tours
1) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall pay attention to the provision and use of disposable consumer goods such as PET bottles which they provide to their customers as well as food loss when arranging restaurants.
2) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall promote tour proposals which have an awareness of carbon offsetting to reduce CO2 emissions and deforestation.
3) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall not do business with business operators which provide souvenirs or services that use as their raw materials engendered plants and animals listed in CITES (Washington Convention) and the IUCN’s Red List.
1) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall comply with the legal system concerning the labor standards in Japan.
2) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall establish opportunities for management discussions, listen to their employees’ expectations and dissatisfactions with their work, and steadily implement work style reforms through labor unions.
3) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall prevent organizational misconduct such as by setting up a whistleblower hotline and protect whistleblowers in addition to themselves based on the Whistleblower Protection Act for in the event that they recognize that an act violates, or may violate, compliance and if it appears difficult to resolve the problem in-house.
4) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall support employees who are working on self-development by periodically providing training and education opportunities to all our employees.
5) TQJ-certified Travel Agencies shall strive to create a working environment which takes into consideration diversity and inclusion and accessibility. They shall create comfortable workplaces where human rights are respected and which are free from discrimination based on disabilities and various forms of harassment.
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