Seen above: Ásta Kristín Sigurjónsdóttir, managing director of the Iceland Tourism Cluster, Jóhannes Þór Skúlason, managing director of The Icelandic Travel Industry Association, Jón Gestur Ólafsson, quality, environment and security manager at Europcar, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, the president of Iceland and Eva Yngvadóttir, chemical engineer from EFLA.
The President of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson recently presented the Award of Responsible Tourism. The award was given at a solemn but small ceremony in Gróska – The innovation house. This time, the award went to Europcar - Car rental Akureyri.
Many presentable nominations were received by the jury, which gives cause for optimism and faith in the future of Icelandic tourism with sustainability as a guiding principle. The jury´s decision was not easy, but with the vision of being able to invite all tourists to drive around the country in an environmentally friendly way, it is appropriate to thank the pioneers at Europcar car rental especially for their contribution and encourage them to take on those tasks and challenges ahead in the ongoing journey.
When selecting companies to receive the incentive award, the following factors are considered:
Has the company published goals for responsible tourism on its website?
Can you give an example of the company’s goal of walking well and respecting nature?
How does the company measure the safety of tourists and tact towards them?
Can you give an example of the company’s staff rights goals?
Can you give an example of how the company has a positive impact on the local community
In the jury for the Incentive Award for Responsible Tourism where:
Berglind Viktorsdóttir, quality manager at Ferðaþjónusta bænda hf – Hey Iceland and Bændaferðir
Guðrún Þóra Gunnarsdóttir, director of the Tourism Research Center
Eva Yngvadóttir, chemical engineer at Efla
The jury’s reasoning stated, among other things:
„The goals of responsible tourism are set out on the company’s website along with the results the company has achieved. We may mention that the company has reached an 85% recycling rate through sorting and reuse and staff has planted over 30,000 trees since 1995. When it comes to tenant safety, the company uses the app „Your Friend in Iceland“ where you can share public warnings as well as to contact the lessee if there is a danger in certain areas through tachographs located in the cars. Tenants also receive information about the Green Driving Council, which encourages good manners around the country.
Europcar has equal pay certification and operates according to a certified ISO 9001 quality management system and an ISO 14001 environmental management system. The company runs a human resources school where the emphasis is on gender equality, safety and health protection, employee education and training. All foreign employees are also offered instruction in Icelandic free of charge and the courses are conducted in the languages that the company’s employees understand.
Iceland has set lofty goals in the field of energy exchange and in recent years Europcar has emphasized increasing the proportion of eco-friendly vehicles in its car fleet as well as the development of charging infrastructure at selected places around the country. Today, the company owns nearly 300 electric cars, 600 hybrid cars and 530 Hybrid cars and several Methane cars. The average emission of the company’s car fleet has decreased by 30% since 2007. In collaboration with Kolvid, customers can carbon offset the carbon emissions associated with their driving of cars from the company. In this way, the company has opened up opportunities for all customers to contribute to the environment when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. “
The project, Responsible Tourism has been ongoing since January 10, 2017, and nearly 200 companies across the country take an active part in the project through educational meetings, workshops and events. The developers are Íslenski ferðaklasinn and Samtök ferðaþjónustan in collaboration with FESTA, an association for social responsibility.
The Responsible Tourism Incentive Award was presented today for the fourth time.
Former prize winners are:
2018 – Elding – Whale Watching
2019 – Ferðaþjónusta bænda hf – Hey Iceland and Bændaferðir
2020 – Friðheimar