Transat becomes the first North American tour operator to achieve Travelife Partner status

After nearly ten years of sustainability efforts, the company reaches a milestone in a coveted international certification process

Montreal, May 18, 2016 – Transat, one of the world’s largest integrated tourism companies and Canada's holiday travel leader, has become the first North American tour operator to be awarded Travelife Partner status, in the process reaching an important milestone on the way to securing this world-renowned certification, which recognizes best practices in sustainable development by tourism industry players.

“Our teams, as well as our shareholders, can be justly proud of this achievement,” said Jean Marc Eustache, President and Chief Executive Officer, Transat A.T. Inc. “It reflects the efforts we have made, and are continuing to make, to become a company that respects all of the principles underpinning sustainable development, in every facet of our business, at a time when our customers are increasingly aware of these major challenges and their implications for the future that we all share.”

Naut Kusters, General Manager of Travelife for Tour operators said, “The commitment of Transat to Certification across the full group shows the leading position of Transat not only within Northern America but also from a global perspective. We believe Transat’s leadership will inspire travel companies in Northern America and within the Transat supply chain to take a similar route”.

Transat first began studying the issue of sustainable development in 2006, and implemented an initial plan action plan in 2007. The company published its first Corporate Responsibility Report in 2008, and progress is now summarized on a website, resp.transat.com. Over the years, Transat has launched programs dedicated to environmental and heritage protection, the fight against child sexual exploitation in tourism, collaboration with local communities, and more. It has implemented several initiatives with impacts in Canada and abroad, which have included establishing sustainability and environmental policies, recognizing and highlighting sustainability certification by its hotel partners, adopting a code of conduct for tourism service providers, as well as creating volunteer and humanitarian leave programs for employees.

Transat is a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). Transat collaborated with industry peers around the world as part of the Tour Operators Initiative for the Sustainable Development of Tourism (TOI) from 2008 to 2014, date on which TOI and GSTC – two organizations affiliated with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) – joined forces.

Initially developed in 2007 for the hotel industry, Travelife certification is a partner program for tourism companies that wish to embark on the road to sustainability. Travelife focuses on the social and environmental impacts of the travel and tourism industry in areas including environment, biodiversity, community relations and fair business practices, as well as working conditions, human rights and consumer protection. The Travelife benchmarking framework, which is formally recognized as in compliance with the UN supported Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria offered to tour operators and travel agencies since 2012 includes 191 indicators. For each of these, Transat had to demonstrate that work was in progress, as well as state its intentions and plan of action with an eye to obtaining full certification, toward which Partner status is an intermediate step (www.travelife.org/touroperator).