Mr Juen, your company was awarded the myclimate Award for "pioneer in environmentally conscious travel management". What has Dreamtime Travel done to earn this distinction?
We are strongly committed to carbon offsetting in the travel services that we provide – especially with respect to flights – and we have been won over by the compensation model. Thanks to various initiatives, we were able to double the amount of carbon compensation in 2015 in comparison to last year. We are active in communicating with our customers and we specifically highlight the actual projects to which these compensation efforts contribute.
In addition to collaborating with myclimate, which among other things naturally includes compensation for business flights for all Dreamtime employees, you work towards sustainable tourism in several other areas and networks. Please give us a short overview!
In addition to ecological issues, we also pay attention to the social and socio-political effects of tourism at our destination locations in our work. More specifically, we offer Fairtrade travel and in our destination locations, we choose our providers carefully. For example, it is important for us that we work with accommodation providers who pay ethically and who educate and socially insure their workers.
Dreamtime is a Tourcert-certified company, which means we regularly review our business activities and are committed to continuously improving our performance in terms of sustainability. In collaboration with “The Code,” we are committed to preventing the sexual exploitation of children in our destination locations.
All in all, this is about strengthening the positive aspects of our day-to-day work and reducing the negatives ones.
What are the reasons for Dreamtime's success? How do you hold your own against your competitors?
We rely on a clear strategy – it’s one we have pursued consistently for many years. At the heart of our strategy is specialisation in specific destinations and a focus on niche products within our destination locations. We work less as a travel agent and more as a travel operator, meaning that we can have a strong influence on our product. Together with a committed team, real strength in innovation and the little bit of extra zeal needed, our clear strategy helps us towards successful in the competitive travel market.
"Travel agencies in their traditional form are dying out" – how do you reply to such a statement?
I support the underlying principles of this statement. Even if global tourism is growing, and ever more Swiss people are travelling, the situation for classic-style travel agencies is difficult. Simply providing travel isn’t enough to get through to a sufficient number of customers. I see a bright future for highly specialised operators like Dreamtime on the one hand, and for large, globally active operators on the other.
Long-distance travel creates CO₂ emissions. Why is long-distance travel so important, even for people who are ecologically conscious.
Long-distance travel has many positive and important aspects. Travel broadens the mind and helps to better understand other cultures. When travelling, many people don’t just recuperate. They discover new momentum, new points of view. The social effects of travel are not to be underestimated. Tourism is a very important economic factor around the world and many people only have an income thanks to international tourism. From our point of view, it is important to find a reasonable balance between flight distance and the length of a trip and to plan a trip carefully – we take a pretty dim view of a shopping weekend in Cape Town or two weeks in Australia.