Responsible Tourism

In choosing to organise holidays to unique and wonderful destinations, it is important to us that we take responsibility for helping to sustain and improve these environments for many generations to come. While travel brings many benefits to both our guests and the holiday destinations we select, we also recognise that we can play a vital role in ensuring that we support local communities and our planet.

Our Responsible Tourism initiative focuses on three main areas; people, policies and the planet.

Responsible Tourism

PEOPLE

We are pro-active in supporting and giving back to the communities in which we operate and are committed to generating economic benefits for the local residents across our destination portfolio.

Local Employment

We believe in ensuring the income generated from our operations overseas is beneficial to the local communities in which we operate, both during our holiday season and over the winter. That’s why more than 80% of our overseas positions are filled by people who live in the community, rather than by staff who return to the UK at the end of the season. This helps boost local economies, creates additional jobs and supports our villa owners.

Community and Charity

Every one of our overseas team members is encouraged to get involved with their local charities and community support initiatives.

Last year we supported a number of different charities and community projects overseas including:

  • Turtle conservation
  • Local animal welfare groups
  • Orphanages
  • Old people’s homes
  • Families on low incomes
  • Children’s charities and hospitals
  • Manufacturing of medical equipment (crutches, wheelchairs, etc.)

These worthy causes have been supported through a variety of fundraising initiatives including:

  • Guest donations
  • Sponsored walks and bike rides
  • Raffles and auctions
  • Family face painting events
  • Art, wine, cake, soap and souvenir sales
  • Donating unused items from guest welcome packs
  • Collecting and recycling plastic bottle tops for use in the manufacture of medical equipment

For further details about our fund-raising initiatives and charitable donations, please visit our charity page.

GIVING BACK

Local Restaurants and Suppliers

We believe that working together is the key to protecting and preserving our stunning destinations. We are active in developing close relationships with our property owners, suppliers and local teams in order to develop a sustainable approach to the economic development of the area. Since our founder, Graham Simpson, launched Simply Travel in 1978 and subsequently Simpson Travel in 2002, we’ve built our business by working with local people and businesses in the communities where we operate. Not only does this deliver an authentic local experience for our guests, it also brings benefits to the local economy.

In turn, our contracts enable many suppliers and owners to employ local people for cleaning, pool maintenance and other ancillary services. Many of our hotels operate on a B&B basis only and our villas are self-catering. As a result, we encourage our guests to eat out in local restaurants or use a local private chef to cook in the comfort of their villa. We also promote the use of markets to make a positive impact on the local economy. Shopping for locally produced food is a wonderful experience which, in most cases, delivers a superior product and avoids using larger supermarkets with head-offices elsewhere.

 

POLICIES

The following policies are designed to ensure we operate honourably and ethically within the local communities we work. To help our overseas teams act responsibly in our destinations they are trained in a number of key policies.

Anti-Corruption and Bribery Policy

We recognise that some of our destinations do not have the same legal protection and regulations as the UK with regard to bribery and corruption. Our overseas teams work with a range of different community suppliers and we engage them in anti-corruption and bribery training. We also have an internal policy in place designed to reduce exposure to situations where they may be susceptible to acts of bribery.

Modern Slavery Policy

Simpson Travel has a zero-tolerance approach to modern day slavery and human trafficking and in turn we expect our suppliers to uphold the same values and standards for all their employees. We will not knowingly undertake or conduct business with anyone engaged in slavery or human trafficking practices, or knowingly permit them to be carried out in any part of our business. While operating in different destinations throughout Europe and Turkey, we use the same contracting conditions, UK legislation and EU Package Travel regulations to frame our operations and ensure we act lawfully in each country that we operate.

Risk Management

We have relatively small supply chains, which in most cases are direct contracts with owners or suppliers, and if we work with agencies for the cleaning or maintenance of our properties, we ensure that these are legitimately registered companies in the country of operation.

Due Diligence

Simpson Travel’s Senior Management Team take responsibility for the investigation of any suspicion, or direct report, of any instance of suspected maltreatment, illegal practice, mental or physical abuse, bullying or coercion, that is reported through our supply chain of owners or local suppliers. In the UK and overseas, we operate robust recruitment practices and checks to eradicate any possibility of human trafficking or enforced labour. We have competitive pay rates in all our destinations, which are above the respective national minimum wage levels. We also expect the same practices from any suppliers we work with.

Simpson Travel welcomes transparency in all operational procedures, and we encourage all our teams to report or raise concerns with line managers or the Senior Management Team, all of which will be treated with the utmost confidentiality. We operate a whistleblowing policy designed so that employees who have any concerns can report any suspicion of breach of policy without fear of reprisal.

Board Approval

This is the Far & Wide Ltd Modern Slavery Statement for the financial year ending 31st October 2020 which has been approved by the board of directors, chaired by Anthony Bull.

 

PLANET

We are committed to protecting the local environment, flora and fauna.

The Environment

The use of plastic is a global crisis and is having a dramatic effect on our oceans and wildlife. Many of our villas and hotels are particularly close to beaches, rivers and lakes.  According to National Geographic, 73% of all beach litter is made up of plastic materials and we are committed to reducing the use of plastic throughout our portfolio.

As a result, we have appointed a member of our Overseas Management Team as ‘Green Champion’ to co-ordinate a strategy for plastic elimination throughout Simpson Travel.

Under the mantra of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’, our overseas teams are currently engaged in the following initiatives:

  • Locally based co-ordination of recycling in, or close to, our villas
  • Promotion of recycling in our guest information books
  • Elimination of plastic straws
  • Energy saving ideas promoted in our guest information books
  • Offering guests an alternative to single-use plastic water bottles, where feasible. This initiative is currently being tested in different ways using locally sourced alternatives such as cardboard cartons of water or canned water, with an expectation to extend this offering across all our destinations.
  • In each of our villas and hotel rooms, we supply and promote the use of a complimentary Simpson Travel ‘Bag for Life’
  • All our overseas teams participate in an annual beach-cleaning day – last year 14 teams took part and we collected over 55 bags of rubbish
  • Trialling the use of a complimentary re-usable metal water bottles at Avithos Beach Estate, Crete, in partnership with SHO
  • Eliminating single-use plastic toiletries in our Simpson hotels and switching to multi-use or refillable containers
  • Testing the use of glass water bottles in welcome packs and installing water filters or large water dispensers in our villas

In the UK we are encouraging clients to go paperless by introducing a Simpson Travel App -eliminating the need for guests to download and print invoices or tickets. We also ensure that our brochures and print materials are made from FSC-certified paper which has a chain of custody certification, ensuring that all the wood used in the paper manufacture is from sustainable and managed forestation. In 2020 we are removing single use plastic wrapping from our luggage tags.

We encourage our guests to help us with our environmental mission by following these green guidelines:

  • Take an empty BPA-free water bottle to the airport and fill it once you are through security. Many airports have free water-dispensers airside, saving money and reducing the need to purchase plastic water bottles. 
  • Take a reusable coffee cup. Our hotels will be only too happy to serve coffee in your favourite cup.
  • Go paperless – all the Simpson Travel documentation is on the Simpson App or in the ‘My Account’ section of our website.
  • All our villas and hotel rooms contain a complimentary Simpson Travel ‘Bag for Life’, for use on holiday and at home.
  • If our hotel guests prefer not to have towels changed daily, then the Local Concierge will advise housekeeping accordingly.
  • Ensure all lights, air conditioning and televisions are switched off when the villa is not in use. Closing curtains and blinds can help to keep interiors cool and keeping windows and doors closed ensures air-conditioning is most energy efficient.
  • Simpson Hotels do not use plastic straws. When ordering drinks elsewhere, please decline any offer of a plastic straw.
  • Simpson information books contain details of the nearest recycling facility and guests are encouraged to make use of them.

Animal Welfare

According to ABTA, 66% of guests have concerns over animal welfare during their holiday. Many of our overseas teams specifically choose to focus their charitable fundraising initiatives in support of local animal welfare charities that take care of stray dogs or cats. We’ve even supported guests with adopting stray cats that they have become fond of while on holiday and organising for them to be transferred back and reunited in the UK.

Car-Free Holidays

In recognition of the growing number of clients who are seeking to reduce their carbon footprint when they travel, we have recently introduced a range of hotels and villas where guests are able to enjoy their holidays on a car-free basis. Our car-free selection of villas and boutique hotels is designed for people who want to enjoy a more relaxed pace, whether it’s by walking, cycling or letting somebody else take the driver’s seat.

Q&A with our Green Champion Harvey Smith

How long have you worked at Simpson Travel?
I started in April 2012.

What are the responsibilities of the green champion?
My role is to act as an information point for the overseas team, enabling them to create environmentally friendly holidays for our guests. I monitor the results of our green initiatives, advise on actions, help to develop company policy and take responsibility for ensuring we take positive steps to ensure Simpson Travel reduces its impact on the environment overseas.

What is your greatest achievement so far?
The overseas team have already achieved so much in a difficult environment. I’d say that the introduction of recycling points in over 90% of our accommodation is our greatest achievement to date… but that’s just stage 1! We now have to move on to the next stage of reducing our consumption and increasing ‘re-using’ where possible. This is not easy. The world is so centred around its use of plastic (bags, water-bottles, straws) and this is a hard habit to break.

What are you most excited about for the future of our green journey? 
Our first full year of introducing our Green Agenda - Reduce-Reuse-Recycle - has been very successful and we have a great foundation for further improvement. Over the coming seasons we must push even harder to improve our ‘Green Credentials’. In particular, we are waging a war on all plastics in our overseas resorts, and although we have already massively reduced the number of plastic bottles that we utilise containing water and toiletries, this will be our main focus going forward. I’m very keen that Simpson Travel should join a professional environmental action group for tourism and ABTA’s initiative seems particularly appropriate. One of my main goals is to try to attain Partner status by the start of our 2021 season and to be at the forefront of our industry when it comes to environmental concerns.