Europ’Aventure has been involved in the development of hiking tourism in the Ardennes for over 30 years. As a tour operator and travel agency, Europ’Aventure has an important role to play in preserving the eco-system, flora and fauna, as well as local culture and traditions. We’re proud to bring so many walkers into the heart of our region and its nature, but we’re also aware of the impact we have on it.
In 2023, we have decided to consolidate our commitment by obtaining the international Travelife label and the Belgian Certa Green label. Although the process of obtaining these labels requires a great deal of effort, it should enable us to rethink all aspects of sustainability within our travel agency, from internal management to the design of our trips.
In this article, you’ll find information about our commitment to sustainability: our mission, the certification process, our concrete commitments, and above all, tips and actions for traveling sustainably with Europ’Aventure.
Mission and sustainability policy
As a company committed to sustainable tourism, this is the mission we have set ourselves at Europ’Aventure:
“For over 30 years, Europ’Aventure has been a committed player in the development of hiking tourism in the Ardennes. As a creator of walking and cycling holidays and as a travel agency, we are aware of our key role and influence in the sustainable development of tourism. Our aim at Europ’Aventure is to contribute to a just society and a preserved environment through the creation of sustainable tourism products and through our day-to-day actions. We also help our suppliers to achieve higher standards of sustainability and encourage our customers to become aware of and adopt more sustainable travel practices”. – Lambert, Jean-François, Director
This mission is reflected in our policy for sustainable tourism. It is divided into 4 main themes covering the different aspects of our operations: internal management, supply chain, stays and consumer protection. The main elements of our policy are listed below, but you can find our full policy on our website by following this link.
- Actively encourage the use of paperless practices in our internal operations.
- Favoring suppliers who share our values of sustainability and ethics.
- Encourage partnerships with local companies committed to environmentally and socially responsible practices.
- Implement measures to improve energy efficiency.
- Reduce electricity consumption and promote responsible use of resources.
- Organize regular awareness-raising sessions to inform staff about sustainable initiatives and their importance
Our supply chain
- Favoring eco-responsible modes of transportation such as electric vehicles and partnerships with transportation service providers who share our sustainability values.
- Include information on sustainable transport options in our travel documents to raise customer awareness.
- Establish partnerships with establishments with recognized environmental certifications.
- Favoring hotels, inns and guesthouses committed to eco-responsible practices, such as water management, waste reduction and the use of renewable energies.
- Do not propose excursions that are harmful to humans, animals, plants, natural resources such as water and energy, or that are socially and culturally unacceptable.
- Choose destinations close to Belgium and exclusively in Europe.
- Favoring destinations that preserve biodiversity.
- Encouraging our customers to appreciate and respect unique ecosystems.
- Encourage sustainable modes of transport on our itineraries.
Communication and customer protection
- Set up transparent communication channels to inform customers about our sustainable practices.
- Provide detailed information on the environmental and social impacts of our trips.
- Include awareness-raising messages in our pre-trip communications to encourage responsible behavior.
- Include practical advice on preserving the environment and respecting local cultures.
- Encourage customers to provide feedback on their experience, including aspects related to sustainability and safety.
- Use customer feedback to constantly improve our practices and meet their needs.
Our partner – Travelife
Travelife is a leading training, management and certification program for tourism businesses wishing to embark on the road to sustainability.
Today, it makes good business sense to commit your company to an environmental and social approach. Consumer and business demand for more responsible products is currently growing strongly.
Companies ready to integrate a sustainable development approach will be more attentive to customer satisfaction, employee motivation and economic performance. The results will be positive for everyone, and a real competitive advantage will be put forward. Managing sustainable development is a question of commitment and the application of good eco-responsible practices. This includes products, impact monitoring and management, as well as the issue of supporting suppliers in their sustainable development approach.
Travelife is a program that helps tour operators and travel agencies manage and improve their social and environmental impacts by complying with international sustainability criteria. Once the company has met the requirements, it will be awarded Travelife certification.
To help you on your way to sustainability, Travelife offers a wide range of services including training, management, planning, reporting and B2B tools.
Impact of our travels
To calculate the carbon footprint of our trips, Europ’Aventure used the calculator developed by Greentripper, a reference in the field! This tool calculates the impact in kg CO2e (equivalent in kg of CO2) of your journeys in just a few clicks: indicate your city of departure and obtain an evaluation of the equivalent CO2 emissions of the different means of transport available.
To calculate the footprint of this stay, we’ll take the example of a couple living in Antwerp who come to do the Transardennaise.
- For transportation, the car will emit a total of 80 kg of CO2 for the round trip. For the same train journey, the total emissions would have been 10kg.
- Accommodation: 66 kg per person for 7 nights in a *** hotel.
- For meals, an average of 2 kg per meal is required, i.e. a total of 42 kg per person for 21 meals.
- Luggage allowance is 16 kg. we pool baggage transfers, with an average of 8 bags per trip
- For the return journey from the end of the Transardennaise in Bouillon to your car in La Roche-en-Ardenne, count 16 kg.
The carbon footprint of the trip per person is around 164 kg CO2, including around 124 kg CO2 for the stay on site . This value is in line with the average consumption of a person in Belgium for 7 days(https://www.ecoconso.be/fr/content/combien-de-co2-emettons-nous-en-belgique).
Measuring our carbon footprint enables us to identify ways of reducing the CO2 emissions associated with our travels, and to help travelers make the right choice of destination.
Transport to the destination is often a significant part of a trip’s carbon footprint. When air travel is chosen, it can account for up to 80% of total travel emissions, whereas when rail travel is preferred, the figure drops to less than 5%. For travellers, the choice of means of transport to their destination remains the main lever for action.
The length of stay at the destination also plays a key role, with a reduction in daily carbon impact as the stay extends. This is particularly true for travel, where transport to the destination generates a significant carbon footprint.
Despite the natural greenhouse gas emissions associated with travel, there are many economic and social benefits. Grand Angle is committed to encouraging the transition from carbon-intensive travel to less polluting alternatives, thereby helping to improve the overall carbon footprint of travel.
Compensating for your stay
Offsetting CO2 emissions when booking a hiking holiday is of crucial importance in the fight against climate change. Tourism, while a source of enriching discoveries, often contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, aggravating global environmental problems.
By opting to offset their CO2 emissions, responsible travellers can play an active role in reducing their environmental impact. These offsets finance environmental projects such as reforestation, renewable energies and ecosystem preservation, helping to mitigate the negative impacts of tourism.
By including this practice when booking hiking holidays, travelers are helping to build a more sustainable future, where the beauty of unspoilt landscapes and the health of our planet are preserved for future generations.
Europ’Aventure now offers you the possibility of offsetting your stay. This is not an obligation, but we encourage it. You’ll find all the information you need on the Greentripper website.
From 2023, and beyond the CO2 compensation of our trips, Europ’Aventure will be actively working on a number of other areas.
Choice of destinations
In 2019, Europ’Aventure offered more than 60 trips on its website, over 50% of which were abroad: Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece. In 2020, we decided to remove all travel outside Belgium and France from our catalog.
Today, over 90% of Europ’Aventure’s tours are organized in Belgium.
For 2024, Europ’Aventure will be developing 6 new trips, 3 of which will be in Belgium, 1 in Luxembourg and 2 in France.
Reducing printed documents
We are delighted to accompany you on your hiking adventures with Europ’Aventure. Concerned about our impact on the environment, we have made an important decision for 2023. As part of our commitment to sustainable development, we have decided to stop providing paper brochures in our touring packs.
This initiative is part of our drive to reduce our ecological footprint by limiting the use of printed documents. By going paperless, we want to make an active contribution to preserving our precious natural resources and reducing waste.
You will always receive a map for the hike as well as the book if you have chosen a trip that offers an official book. As far as vouchers are concerned, we will continue to print them by default, but you will have the option of asking us not to do so and to receive only the electronic version.
We firmly believe in our collective responsibility to protect our planet, and we hope you’ll share this commitment with us. Together, let’s take another step towards sustainable, environmentally-friendly tourism.
Choice of partners
From next year, 2024, Europ’Aventure has decided to actively favor sustainable partners in all its collaborations, whether for accommodation, B&Bs, cabs, but also for all our supplies. We firmly believe that every little bit counts, and by promoting partners who share our ethical and environmental values, we’re helping to shape a more sustainable future for tourism.
By choosing establishments and services that are also committed to sustainable development, we aim to create travel experiences that respect the environment while offering the comfort and quality you’ve come to expect from Europ’Aventure.
Contributing to local initiatives
For 2023, Europ’Aventure has undertaken to donate €1.50 per passenger to the Natagora association. This represents a total of €1,512.00. The operation will be repeated in 2024.
Natagora is a Belgian association dedicated to preserving nature and biodiversity. Founded in 2003, it operates in the French-speaking regions of Belgium. Natagora is committed to a wide range of initiatives, including the protection of endangered species, sustainable management of natural areas, raising public awareness of the environment, and promoting biodiversity-friendly practices.
The association mobilizes nature-loving volunteers, experts and collaborates with other organizations to achieve its conservation goals. His work covers a diversity of ecosystems, from forests to wetlands, helping to preserve Belgium’s natural wealth.
You can also make a donation to the association by following this link.