WITH ZAHARA TOURS
Travel is the world’s largest industry and one that does a lot of good for a lot of people in the world. It employs as much as 15% of country’s populations. This also means people can support themselves and their family by looking after guests from different countries.
To be Oman’s most trusted tourism services provider and to promote thoughtful, exceptional tourism, providing visitors with a true experience of our destination while aiming to preserve and defend the natural and human resources of those communities for future generations to enjoy.
As a Destination Management Company in Oman since 1971, we at Zahara Tours have a responsibility towards protecting the environment, local communities, partners, employees, and our valued customers. Therefore, we strive to undertake to maintain a sustainable operational process by including social, environmental, ethical, and economic considerations in our business decisions and practices.
Zahara Tours is a dynamic, progressive destination management company in Oman whose mission to provide our clients with an authentic local experience of a lifetime; promoting the culture and environment of the region by working closely with local suppliers, clients, and communities. We as a team always striving towards well being of the community, business and people.
We have a set of 5 core values that guide us in everything we do. We use these values to formulate our strategies and direct our business decisions, and we expect every employee to embrace and embody these values throughout the course of business every day.
Taking decisions and acting in a way that is fair, honest, and transparent. Following the highest standards of professionalism and ethical conduct.
Building relationships based on trust and respect, by investing in the growth of our people and partners and delivering value to society.
Being relentless and passionate in our pursuit to achieve the highest standards of quality and continuously striving to improve on our best.
Wholeheartedly working towards achieving the best, to ensure delivery of value to customers and stakeholders.
Customers are the final judges and decide the success or failure of a product or service. Thus, each decision and action, we take, is oriented towards how we can best serve our customers.
Sustainable and responsible tourism requires that all parties involved in the promotion, sales, and operation of travel products commit themselves to more sustainable travel practices. Ideal sustainable tourism practices comprise environmental, social, and economic aspects. These aspects further related to different sectors of our business such as transport, accommodation, suppliers, office staff etc. Hence, we at Zahara Tours have tried to design a sustainable policy that must be effective and should cover all the facets of our business. We also understand that its an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and adjustment of policies depending upon the current scenario and growth pattern of the company. Furthermore, the tourism business involves various stakeholders at different levels and depends on the interest of the concerned persons, and is entirely voluntary but sustainable and responsible tourism is a core principle to Zahara Tours, as such, we strive to make a positive impact wherever we provide our services.
Some of the most important goals that we are following for better sustainability:
- - We are always committed to create different policies and procedures keeping the environment and the local community in mind.
- - Choosing suppliers and accommodation units that adhere to high sustainability standards themselves and to do business with the greenest possible suppliers of all kinds.
- - Designing our trips in a way that minimizes negative environmental, social, and cultural impacts such as pollution, disrespect of diversity, and exploitation of resources.
- - To maximize positive impacts within the local community such as improving employment opportunities and working conditions, supporting local community projects, and ensuring that the economic and social benefits of tourism reach and remain in the host community too.
- - To encourage meaningful contact between visitors and host communities such as offering interactions with a lunch or dinner.
- - Support local community projects/initiatives that promote environmental protection, conservation, or cultural heritage.
- - Protecting the environment and using resources in an efficient, fair, and responsible way
- - Adopting the policy of resource conservation, particularly water and electricity to the best possible extent.
- - Implementing sustainable purchasing policies.
- - We encourage our clients to reduce their waste and do not litter, we also encourage them to use electronic check-in and management systems rather than print resources.
- - Encouraging our partners to think and work sustainably and responsibly, we also evaluate our partners on community and conservation support.
- - We ensure not to work with suppliers who we believe have a negative impact on the local environment or community.
- - Respecting the surroundings wherever we travel or take our clients.
- - Ensuring that our employees are treated with respect and remunerated fairly. We also ensure that all staff are fully aware of our sustainability commitments, and encourage them to adopt sustainable management practices.
- - To review, annually report, and continually strive to improve our sustainability performance.
Promising action: sustainable tourism supply chain
As mentioned above our tourism industry is a chain of various stakeholders working in coordination with each other to provide excellent services to all our clients. In order to follow sustainable tourism practices, we have formulated the sustainability policy focusing on various service providers, clients, the local community, and staff members. Moreover, for our tourism activities, we try to achieve a tourism supply chain that is fully sustainable, firsthand by developing our sustainable travel products. To achieve the desired results on sustainability we are committed to following the below-mentioned practices:
- - This policy will apply to all our tours and excursions. All employees and supplier partners are fully expected to uphold objectives under this policy.
- - We acknowledge we have limited influence over third parties, but we shall educate them to align operating practices with policy objectives.
- - We commit to strive for quality services and an environment for our employees, suppliers, and guests.
- - Sustainable policy objectives will be mentioned in our company profile so that it must reach all our new partners as well.
OMAN AS A TOURIST DESTINATION
Like its neighbouring countries, Oman has witnessed an extraordinary social and economic development over the past few decades. Oman's vision of diversifying state sources of revenues and reducing the country's dependence on finite natural resources has led to numerous projects in the tourism and hospitality sector but oman has never compromised with its environment and their focus is to develop and promote the tourism industry in a sustainable manner. An important freature in Oman is that tourism development started relatively late compared to neighbouriung countries. Because of this, Oman was able to evaluate the implications of tourism development in other countries and avoid their problems. Following are some of the sustainability aspects of the destination and we request all our guests, partners and stakeholders to take care of these aspects:
- - An important component of Oman is its diverse natural landscape. The country’s long coast emrabces clean beaches, numerous diving sites such as Damaniyat Islands, and turtle nesting locations like Ras Al Jinz (sur). Tourist must follow the local regulation in order to preserve these enviormentally sensitive spots.
- - Tourism industry in oman is one of its most crucial non-oil sectors and Omani government is following the principles of sustainable tourism in order to have a lower impact on the natural environment and less negative effects on local community, culture and religion.
- - Oman is always focused and targeting tourists who are interested in admiring and maintaining its natural environment, culture, heritage, history and aracheology.
- - Oman is home to many varities of wildlife, including over 400 species of birds across the different seasons of the year and 20 species of Whale and Dolphins.
- - Natural reserves for species such as leopards, hyneas, oryx, gazelle, ibex, desrt fox, antelope and wild cats are established accorss the country
- - Oman boasts several natural ecotourism attractions in different governorates including Muscat, Dhofar Al-Batinah, Al-Sharqia and Al-Dakhlia. These attractions are promoted as offering high quality ecotourism experiences supported by a rich natural heritage. The attractions include whale, dolphin and bird watching, and appreciating sand dune deserts, wadis – dried rivers, natural oases, unspoiled beaches and unique mountainous areas.
- - Oman has laws to protect and conserve the environment and it has It has various reserves and protected areas, including the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary, Wadi A’Sareen Nature Reserve, Dymaniyat Islands Nature Reserve, Al Saleel National Park and Ras Al-Jinz Turtle Reserve.
- - Oman also has many historical, archeological and heritage sites which have been renovated for preservation and for tourism purposes.
- - The Oman Ministry of Tourism published a number of guidebooks concerning forts and castles in Oman, and specialized touristic-based information concerning specific cities (e.g., Muscat) and governorates (e.g., Dhofar), with the purpose of notifying tourists and the local community about attractions concerning the environment, ecology, heritage and culture.
- - There has been a significant attempt in Oman to ensure that local people are involved and working in the tourism and hospitality sector. The Omani government aims to offer job opportunities to local people through developing tourism and ecotourism.
Zahara Tours is dealing with various hotels, resorts, and homestays throughout the country and we always prefer to promote the accommodaions that significantly reduce their environmental impact through green best-practices in maintenance, services, logistics, products, and supplies we prefer the accommodation units those falls under the below guidelines:
- - Prefer accommodations that employ members of the local community.
- - Preferably select partner accommodations that comply with sustainability and quality standards, have a signed sustainability contract (certificate), and/ or conduct CSR activities or are locally engaged.
- - Encourage accommodations to follow best practices/training on responsible tourism, giving preference to accommodations that work with internationally acknowledged organizations.
- - Work with accommodations that support initiatives for social and community participation and development, including, among others, infrastructure, education, health, and sanitation while respecting the intellectual property rights of local communities.
- - An accommodation that provides access and facilities for persons with special needs in accordance with principles of universal design.
- - Water and power consumption should be measured, sources indicated and measures to decrease overall consumption should be adopted.
- - Partner accommodation does not participate in, accept, allow or encourage the use of, or display or trade in endangered species of flora and fauna, except trophy displays, as permitted under the law.
Zahara Tours encourage our accommodation partners to work towards sustainability by adopting below steps:
- - Cut down on the use of plastic water bottles by offering hotel reward program members a reusable branded bottle.
- - Add a water-bottle filling station in the lobby.
- - Make recycling options easy to spot. Replace outdated bins with worn recycling symbols and add bins near elevator banks so that guests pass them frequently
- - To make the hiring and training process green
- - Focus should be on eco-friendly staff services ranging from remote check-in/check-out to keyless entry, cut down on lost plastic key cards, reduces paper usage etc.
- - To use smart technology like thermostats with occupancy sensors to adjust heating and AC temperatures, room sensors to detect light levels, increasing and reducing the bulb brightness.
- - To furnish guest rooms with natural fiber sheets and furniture made of sustainable materials and to stock the room with reusable coffee mugs and glasses rather than plasticware, paper.
Also, we have adopted below 14 points strategy which is to be used while contracting a new property and this will help us to maintain the sustainability records.
- Is your ethos are aligned with the UN's sustainable development goals (https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/envision2030.html) ? (Yes/No)
- Are you following an energy efficient pratices in your hotel? (Yes/No)
- Do you have a proper water conservation and rain water harvesting strategy in place? (Yes/No)
- Do you have a proper waste management and recycling strategy in place ? (Yes/No)
- Do you have a renewable energy system? (Yes/No)
- Are you using a certified renewable electricity provider?
- Are you using LED regular or tube lights in guest rooms, restaurants, and hallways? (Yes/No)
- Does a tracking system exist for energy, water and waste internally? (Yes/No)
- Does the restaurant serve organic, locally-grown food? (Yes/No)
- Do you have reusable items such as cloth napkins, glass cups, ceramic dishes, etc. related to F&B services? (Yes/No)
- Are you still using contemporary plastic key cards ? (Yes/No)
- Have you already shifted to your approach from bottled water to other eco-friendly alternative ? (Yes/No)
- Have you created a 'green team' at your hotel with the goal of continual improvement, evaluation and reporting ? (Yes/No)
- Have you joined any green or sustainability program? (Yes/No)
- - Public transport options are not available in Oman hence all transfers and excursions are being done by our different vehicles only but we always ensure to use the right vehicle as the group size to always reach an optimal occupancy level.
- - We always recommend our clients to opt for group tours instead of private tours so that carbon emission through vehicles can be reduced.
- - We always try to club the arrival transfers and departures if there are multiple arrivals within one hour.
- - Identify and offer the most sustainable travel solution when selecting transport options to/ from and in the destination, considering price, comfort, and practicality.
- - We try to ensure that vehicles used on tours do not cause more than average pollution.
- - We always instruct our staff to opt for Shortest and most efficient routes in order to minimize fuel consumption and pollution.
- - All vehicles should comply with the rules and regulations imposed by the local authorities. Vehicles are regularly and properly maintained and drivers are well taken care of under good labor conditions.
- - The first aid kit and waste collection bag are always there on board.
- - We select a suitable vehicle as per the size of the group.
- - Switch off the engine and air conditioning when guests are on an excursion.
- - We instruct our drivers to take whatever additional action is necessary to avoid disturbance to residents of the neighborhoods they pass through.
EXCURSIONS AND OTHER LOCAL ACTIVITIES
- - Our company ensures excursions take place in the most positive way possible and to the best benefit of local people and cultural and natural heritage.
- - Not offer any excursions that harm humans, animals, plants, natural resources such as water & energy, or being socially/ culturally unacceptable.
- - Not involved with companies that harvest, consume, display, sell, or trade wildlife species, and not offering any excursions in which wildlife is held captive, except for properly regulated activities in compliance with local, national, and international law.
- - Have skilled and/or locally specialized/certified guides to guide our guests' insensitive cultural sites, heritage sites, or ecologically sensitive destinations.
- - Advise guests on behavior standards during excursions and activities with a focus on respecting the local culture, nature, and environment.
- - Promote excursions and activities to our guests which directly involve and support local communities by purchasing traditional crafts and local (food) production methods or visiting social projects.
- - Promote excursions and activities to our guests which support local environment and biodiversity such as visiting protected areas or environmental protection projects.
- - Our company supports environmental and biodiversity protectionby paying the permit / entrance fee to national parks and conservation areas. Where possible, we will provide other means of support
- - Our company does not offer excursions and attractions in which captive wildlife is held, except for properly regulated activities in compliance with local, national and international law.
- - Wildlife species are not harvested, consumed, displayed, sold, or traded, except in compliance with local, national and international law.
- - We highly recommend to our guides communicate with tourist and don’t allow feed animals, touch animals, make loud sounds to scared them, to respect wild nature.
- - Oman is supporting local communities to promote sustainability where we offer walk around the Jabal Akhdar Mountain wih an interaction to locals
- - We are promoting Ras Al Jinz turtle reserve which is better known preserve the sea turtles and their natural habitat. The protected area also contains many archaeological villages, in which fishermen live, and their age extends for more than 6000 years. Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve offers a unique experience to learn about the fascinating and enchanting life of sea turtles as they lay their eggs in a complete natural environment. The reserve aims to promote and disseminate social responsibility and correct environmental practices within the framework of a program aimed at awareness and development at the same time.
- - We contribute in the development of this area through entrance fee and by accommodating our clients at Ras Al Jinz Turtle resort.
Many of Zahara tours round trips take place in interior, rural parts of Oman where depopulation has been a feature for decades. They help to bring employment and regeneration to these areas. We are promoting local enterprenuers like Bait Al Safah museum (Al Hamra) which is owned and managed by a young Omani), Sidab women asscociation.
WILD LIFE INTERACTION
Zahara Tours will never knowingly compromise the welfare of any animal for the purpose of our trips. We want to protect animals, keep them wild and contribute towards the best welfare standards in the industry. Zahara Tour wants wildlife to be wild and nature to be natural, and only where this is not possible or where a particular interaction is deemed particularly inspiring, will we offer alternative interactions such as animal sanctuaries or desert camel rides.. We believe that Wildlife Tours should only be operated with the intention of protecting, rehabilitating and releasing the species.
We are strongly committed to follow below code of conduct while operating wildlife tours or activities:
- We operate a no contact policy for all wild or stray animals; living in captivity or free roaming. We understand that animals will initiate contact on occasion, and this is acceptable provided they have freedom of choice and are able to move away.
- Keep wildlife wild.
- Don’t expect to feed or physically interact with the animals. This will reduce opportunities for habituation.
- Avoid using wood for fires if you are doing any kind of wild camping.
- If you are traveling independently, hire local guides who must be aware of local wildlife
- Avoid aggressive driving whenever passing through any natural habitat.
- Avoid imitating animal sounds, making loud noises or throwing objects.
- Do not litter
- Do not pick, cut or destroy any vegetation.
- Do not touch or remove any object of biological interest, including eggs, bones or trophies
- Remain in the vehicle within 200 meters of any game animal
- Avoid organizations/suppliers that restrain, subdue or train wildlife for commercial purposes
- - Management regularly advises on Action Plan updating in our weekly meetings.
- - The sustainable policy will be circulated to our suppliers by one of our staff.
- - Sustainable policy and Action planning will be inducted into the job description of new recruits.
- - Danish Ali will be managing and communicating with the rest of the staff on sustainable policy.
- - All Zahara Tours staff will be trained in Sustainable Tourism through in-house lectures and discussions. Communications on sustainable tourism will be advised through newsletters and emails.
CARBON FOOT PRINT
Zahara Tours take measures to minimise their environmental impact and try to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible. We are calculating our carbon emissions on regular basis and continuous efforts are being made to offset the emitted carbon.
ETHICS, BRIBERY & ANTI-CORRUPTION
Zahara Tours is committed to high ethical standards, doing open and fair business, follow best practices and support the business reputation at the appropriate level. We encourage all our employees and partners to:
- - Act honourably and with integrity in all business dealings of the Company.
- - Identify and address appropriately any potential conflicts of interest.
- - Recognise the duty of confidentiality to the Company’s relationships and give it the highest importance.
- - Initiate steps to ensure that no financial or other inducements are offered or accepted by or on behalf of the Company.
- - We encourage employees and partners to be vigilant and to act diligently in good faith.
- - All employees are encouraged to raise concerns about any actual or suspected cases of bribery and corruption at the earliest possible stage. If the immediate superior is not the appropriate person, then the employee’s concerns must be brought directly to the attention of the Head of the department.
Zahara Tours is committed to monitor and investigate instances of alleged corruption and to take action against any individual(s) involved in corruption. We also ensure to form a common understanding with all partners and stakeholders that the company opposes bribery and corruptin in any form.
Zahara Tours believes in promoting diversity at the workplace and providing equal opportunities for all of its employees.
Zahara Tours treat individuals justly, according to their abilities to meet the requirements and standards of their role, in all aspects of employment, recruitment, compensation and benefits, training, promotion, and termination. We do not discriminate in any aspect of employment on the grounds of race, religion, colour, ethnic or national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, political opinion, gender or marital status.
Our company’s policy is to:
- - To promote diversity and equal employment opportunities on the basis of merit and ability;
- - To ensure that there is no discrimination whatsoever, in the provision of employment opportunities, benefits or privileges, to create discriminatory work conditions, or to use discriminatory evaluative standards in employment on the basis of the person's race, colour, national origin, age, religion, disability status, gender, sexual orientation, or marital status;
- - To provide a work environment that this free from discrimination in any form whatsoever.
Child Labour and Prevention of Forced Labour at Work place
Zahara Tours believes in a Policy of prohibition of Child Labour and Prevention of Forced Labour. We always ensure that there is no Child Labour or Forced Labour employed in the
Zahara Tours is commited to:
- - Prohibit the employment of any person below the age of 14 years in the workplace ;
- - Prohibit the use of forced or compulsory labour;
- - Ensure that no employee is made to work against his / her will or to work as bonded/forced labour.
- - Refrain from engaging with vendors and suppliers who resort to using child labour and forced labour in their operations.
Zahara Tours is committed to conducting all its operations with due regard for the environment, biodiversity, the environmental impact and sustainable performance and seeks to achieve sustaining and continuous improvement in meeting environmental standards, whether regulatory or otherwise. We believe in respecting, protecting and make efforts to restore the environment.
We encourage all our employees to:
- - Conduct operations in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations and contribute to sustainable development through the establishment and implementation of high environment standards.
- - Identify and implement ways reduce waste, conserve energy, and promote recycling of waste wherever possible.
- - Save water and treat waste water.
- - Communicate the Company’s environmental requirements and performance to its business partners and stakeholders.
- - All employees of the Company are expected to adhere to and comply with the Sustainable policy of the company. This Policy is extended to all the units of the Company. The Company’s Policy to be communicated to all concerned through emails in both the languages (English and Arabic).
- - Policy will be uploaded on our official website as well.
- - Policy will be pasted on company’s notice board at a suitable place
- - This policy will be added as an annexure in all the supplier contracts and will be sent to all the concerned suppliers.
- - If in case it is known that a Hotel, excursion or transport option has special sustainability credentials than the same will be updated and communicated to our clients