Khiri Travel Goes Green

Tour experts, Khiri Travel, who run eco-friendly trips across Cambodia, have proved they really are green after hitting bronze in Sustainable Travel International’s (STI) Sustainable Tourism Education Program (STEP).

The tour operator, which operates in the Kingdom, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, earned the award after hitting more than 20 environmental criteria. Now the company can officially give itself the prestigious title, eco-certified STEP tour operator.

In December, STI auditors assessed Khiri’s past and present work and future pledges on 21 issues, including water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, use of locally-produced items and client education.

Its efforts to off-set carbon emissions include the company measuring its staff’s travel during the last year. To off-set this, it calculated 50 trees had to be planted. Khiri has teamed up with Plant A Tree Today and is organising a mass tree planting session of at least 100 saplings in a mangrove forest near Bangkok in April.

Willem Niemeijer, Khiri Travel CEO, says, “By embracing STEP, we’ve put a measurable commitment to sustainable practices at the core of Khiri’s Travel operations.

“When we started, we implemented not only the required practices but looked to see what else could be done. For example, we changed all our non-recycling batteries to rechargeable ones and installed motion detectors for the lights in restrooms.”

Khiri Travel hired a coordinator to liaise with STI to create a diverse range of initiatives that were put in place to meet STEP’s bronze criteria within two months. “After we made the strategic commitment, we moved quickly and efficiently,” Niemeijer adds.

After scooping STEP’s bronze title, Khiri can now work its way up to silver and then gold, before striving for the top title of platinum, meaning it is an industry leader. In the next few months, Khiri plans on working towards upping its game to achieve the higher levels by the end of the year.

As part of the company’s eco-friendly trips in Cambodia, Khiri organises tours to explore village life in Kompong Khleang to see the wooden houses that sit on 10-metre tall stilts surrounded by water during wet season.

Another trip takes tourists to the crab market in Kep before heading to tranquil Rabbit Island. In Kampong Thom, visitors can get off the beaten track and spend the day cycling through the mysterious ruins of secret temple, Sambor Prei Kuk.

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