Explore Serbia is a tour agency specializing in adventure and rural tourism in Serbia and the Balkans. On our tours, travelers can experience the challenge, adventure, and authenticity, complemented by tradition and delicious food.
Through our work, we promote ecological destinations and small rural households, thereby influencing the development of the local economy and encouraging the reduction of rural population depopulation due to migration.
Our desire is to become the leading tour operator in Serbia for adventure tourism, which is recognizable by the importance of sustainable development.
Through our work, we want to positively influence the development of the offer of various types of adventure tourism in Serbia and eco-tourism. The revitalization of rural areas is of key importance.
Explore Serbia is committed to developing eco and adventure tourism through minimal impacts on the environment. The purpose of this policy is to establish best practices in sustainable and responsible travel.
This policy applies to all operations in Explore Serbia – management, staff, and honorary staff. It will be communicated to our customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders we do business with.
General Manager is responsible for implementing the company’s sustainability policy.
Sustainability management & legal compliance
Explore Serbia leadership is wholly committed to the company’s sustainability performance and endorses the company’s sustainability mission statement and policy.
We will use the Travelife platform to report on our sustainability progress and to monitor and evaluate progress. We are committed to (publicly) communicating our sustainability performance (by means of the Travelife report) every two years.
Sustainability management & legal compliance
Explore Serbia commits to continuous improvement of sustainability practices, including the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of our sustainability policy, with dedicated personnel and resources to achieve our sustainability goals.
Explore Serbia follows all local, regional, national, and international regulations as they relate to human resources, human rights, children’s rights, land rights, environmental management, wildlife, and land use. We follow a strict Code of Ethics, including a zero-tolerance policy for corruption, bribery, forced labor, and discrimination.
Internal management: social policy & human rights
- Explore Serbia recognizes that our employees are our biggest asset for delivering meaningful travel experiences to our customers. Therefore, we maintain a clear human resource policy to ensure:
- Legal compliance in all regards
- A safe, healthy, and welcoming workplace
- Fair contract conditions including fair compensation
- Training opportunities including pieces of training on topics of sustainability, sexual harassment, and exploitation in the workplace and in the industry
- Participation in the sustainability planning activities
- Inclusion and equal opportunity for all employees, particularly with regard to compensation, promotion, distribution of benefits, and professional development opportunities.
- We are committed to the principle of fair and equal pay for like work and for work of equal value for all its employees, and contractors, regardless of gender/sex, race, national origin, marital status, age, or religion.
- Explore Serbia further expects this commitment from all partners and suppliers.
Environmental management of office operations
- We are committed to keeping the direct footprint of our business operations as minimal as possible and actively follow [circularity/the 5Rs (refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle) /sustainability/ environmentally sound principles. We have the following measures in place:
- Follow all local and national regulations concerning environmental law
- Measure, monitor, and evaluate the use of all commodities and products purchased, especially in terms of water, waste, energy, and carbon
- Procure office supplies, locally, seasonally, fair trade, in bulk, with limited packaging, sustainability certified whenever possible
- Print only when absolutely necessary, and when printing, always print double-sided on grayscale. The paper must always be FSC or equivalent certified, with a preference for the highest percentage of post-consumer materials
- Energy-saving measures are in place in all common areas
- All equipment and lighting are energy-efficient and turned off/unplugged/on sleep mode when not in use
- Water-saving measures are in place in all common areas and restrooms, including water capture in external areas
- Waste is separated into the following categories: [plastic, organic, paper products, metal, hazardous, glass, e-waste, waste to landfill] and is disposed of properly by [a private company/municipality]
- Noise, light, and air pollution are minimized.
Carbon management of office operations
- Explore Serbia is committed to reducing our carbon footprint and endeavors to reduce the amount we travel as much as possible by:
- Reduce the amount we travel as much as possible
- Monitoring and measuring carbon footprint with the aim to reduce as much as possible and offset remaining amounts.
- Encouraging remote work whenever possible, and when it is not possible, making it easier for employees to limit their carbon footprint by use of eco modes of transportation.
- Installing energy-efficient equipment and appliances.
- Explore Serbia office is located in an urban area and abides by all local land use laws, respects local cultural and natural resources in our business operations, and favors sustainable architecture and design.
General suppliers policy
- Explore Serbia is committed to sourcing its products and services responsibly, avoiding harmful impacts on society, culture, and nature as much as possible. We expect the same level of engagement and commitment from our suppliers.
- Explore Serbia prefers to work with partners that share the company’s commitment to sustainability.
- Explore Serbia prefers to work with suppliers in destinations that are locally owned or managed, use local and seasonal products and services, and benefit the local community by hiring locally and equitably and by providing fair working conditions.
- Explore Serbia offers incentives for partners that are actively engaged in sustainable operations.
- Explore Serbia expects its suppliers to adhere to a [Code of Conduct/Code of Ethics], that includes the following responsible business practices:
- Complying with all local, regional, national, and international regulations
- Respecting all human rights including labour rights, children’s rights, and women’s rights
- Committing to fair employment conditions
- Following anti-corruption, anti-bribery, anti-extortion, and anti-discrimination policies
- Protecting children from (sexual) exploitation through tourism
- Protecting the environment and natural resources
- Acting in the best interest of local communities
- Protecting the interests of Explore Serbia
- Following a zero-tolerance policy, Explore Serbia will immediately terminate any relationships with suppliers that violate [our policies/the [Code of Conduct/Code of Ethics], specifically through acts of bribery, corruption, discrimination, and violation of human rights.
- Explore Serbia raises awareness amongst its suppliers to adopt sound social and environmental practices, and to minimize their carbon footprint.
- Explore Serbia maintains open lines of communication with our suppliers and partners and encourages feedback from our stakeholders at any time and on any topic, particularly sustainability.
Inbound partner agencies
- In the entire process of developing and operating our travel packages, Explore Serbia expects partner agencies to act in the best interests of the surrounding communities and environment as well as our guests.
- Explore Serbia provides partner agencies opportunities for sustainability learning and management, including free access to the Travelife online learning and reporting platform.
- When selecting transport for guests and business-related travel, Explore Serbia commits to choosing the most environmentally friendly options available for traveling to, from, and within the destination – taking into consideration distance, price, route, and comfort.
- Explore Serbia has implemented clear guidelines for reducing GHG emissions from transport and selecting the most environmentally friendly transport options, including the following measures:
- Preferring ground transport over air transport for short-haul travel destinations
- Avoiding in-destination flights as much as possible
- Offering rail-and-fly transport to and from the airport
- Using public transportation options at the destinations
- Using appropriate vehicle sizes for group sizes and purchasing the most efficient vehicles available
- Training drivers on eco-driving techniques
- In the accommodation selection process, Explore Serbia considers the sustainability practices of an accommodation by taking into account its sustainability management and social and environmental footprint.
- Explore Serbia favors the selection of accommodations that respect and protect land use, as well as respectfully highlight elements of local architecture, customs, and traditions.
- Explore Serbia promotes ecological destinations and small rural households, thereby influencing the development of the local economy and encouraging the reduction of rural population depopulation due to migration.
Activities & Excursions
- All excursions and activities run by or on behalf of Explore Serbia respect local customs, traditions, cultural integrity, and natural resources.
- Explore Serbia commits to not offering any excursions that harm humans, wildlife, the environment, or natural resources such as water and energy.
- Explore Serbia gives preference to excursions and activities that benefit local communities, respect animal welfare and support environmental protection.
- Explore Serbia has clear guidelines/Codes of Conduct in place for environmentally and culturally sensitive excursions offered by or on behalf of the company. These guidelines are actively communicated to guests as well as distributed and implemented by excursion providers and guides.
- Explore Serbia provides excursion and attraction providers opportunities for sustainability learning and management, including free access to the Travelife online learning and reporting platform.
Tour leaders, local representatives, and guides
- Explore Serbia commits to hiring qualified local guides, drivers, or other local staff, paying them living wages, and providing safe and fair working conditions. We expect the same from our suppliers that are hiring local staff on behalf of Explore Serbia.
- Explore Serbia understands that guides are the intermediaries between the guests and the socio-cultural and environmental context of the destination, conveying the appropriate behavior to them. Therefore, we make sure that all guides hired by or leading tours on behalf of Explore Serbia are trained regularly and knowledgeable in the sustainability topics of the destination.
- Our guides are specifically trained on the critical issue of the sexual exploitation of children in tourism.
- Explore Serbia provides guides with learning opportunities on sustainability topics including providing free access to the Travelife online learning platform.
- Explore Serbia prefers to work in destinations that have committed to sustainability as an integral part of community and destination development.
- Explore Serbia aims to send visitors to secondary or lesser-known tourist areas to avoid over-tourism.
- Explore Serbia does not support destinations that have a questionable human rights track record.
Contribution to local communities / local economic network
- Explore Serbia commits to positive contribution to the destinations in which we operate, by:
- Sourcing locally and responsibly, and supporting local and traditional arts and culture
- Encouraging guests to shop responsibly and educating them about illegal/prohibited/forbidden souvenirs
- Collaborating with other local tourism stakeholders [including local government, other tourism businesses, academia, and community groups] to further the sustainable tourism development of the destination
- Respecting and advocating for all human rights (i.e. children’s rights, women’s rights, labour rights, etc.) as well as land rights.
Environmental stewardship in destinations
- Explore Serbia commits to environmental stewardship in the destinations in which we operate by:
- Ensuring natural resources remain intact
- Educating guests about the principles of responsible travel and responsible visitor behavior
Customer communication and protection
- Legal compliance in all regards
- Customers and their data are protected
- Customers know how their information is being used
Marketing and communication
- Explore Serbia strives to be truthful in all situations and at all times. We offer products and services that do what we claim in our communications.
- We honor our explicit and implicit commitments and promises.
- We are anti-greenwashing and stand behind our sustainability claims 100%.
- We endeavor to be inclusive and representative in our marketing and to always take into account cultural, religious, and ethnic sensitivities.
- Customers are informed about the social and environmental impact of their journey and are educated about the sustainable choices they can make, including transparent communication on:
- Certified accommodations
- Compensation for their trips and CO2 emissions
- Activities and excursions that benefit the local communities and environmental protection
- Responsible shopping and illegal souvenirs
- The company aims for all customer experiences to be positive, and follows strict health and safety, marketing, and excursion policies to ensure customer satisfaction. These policies cover specific topics of (but not limited to):
- Health and Safety
- Emergency procedures
- Group numbers
- Greenhouse Gas emissions and offsetting
- Sexual exploitation
- Children in tourism
- Satisfaction and Complaints
- Explore Serbia maintains open lines of communication with our customers and encourages feedback at any time and on any topic, particularly sustainability.
Contact / Responsible person
- All staff are responsible for the ownership and undertaking of this policy.
- All staff are responsible for the promotion and implementation of this sustainability policy within their departments.
- The implementation of this policy will be led by the Sustainability Coordinator, Tatjana Anić, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- “Sustainable tourism” is defined as “the concept of sustainable development and responsible exchange for all participants. It is mutually beneficial for tourists and local communities and is individually oriented. Any form of tourism that permanently contributes to the protection and improvement of the environment, natural and created resources, cultural values and the integrity of the local community is sustainable.
- The concept of sustainable development implies minimizing the negative and maximizing the positive impacts of tourism on the environment and available resources.”
- This policy is effective from the 29th of May 2023.
- This policy was revised on the 29th of May 2023.
- This policy will be revised by the 29th of May 2025.