Balkanica travel


Balkanica is a tour operator situated in Montenegro and as such, we engage with many actors in the tourism industry – consumers, partner agencies, guides that work for us, different accommodations types, and we ‘step’ on many cultural and natural destinations. All mentioned is of crucial importance for us to understand our influence and role in affecting and changing the way our operations work and to understand our role in the sustainable development of tourism. Our goal is to implement good sustainability practices in our operations which consequently connects our clients and partners with the same goal. Our sustainability policy is divided into 10 themes. Each theme consists of a set of principles and practical actions accordingly.   

Our mission is to revive and preserve everything that the Balkans represents- natural beauty and our connection with nature or our dependence on it, natural ingredients, family as an institution and as a bedrock of our society, the old way of life, our very rich and complicated history and above all – the strength of community and deep interconnection between all of us which makes us the biggest family in the world!


1. Sustainability Management & Legal Compliance


  1. We commit to sustainability management, practiced by the following actions:
  2. To have a Sustainability manager who is responsible for sustainability operations and  tasks and who has finished Travel Life training and exam
  3. To have a sustainability mission statement that is communicated to customers, partners, and suppliers and is familiar to employees;
  4. To have an accessible and written sustainability policy that aims for a reduction of the negative social, cultural, economic, and environmental impacts of the company’s activities; and includes employee-related health and safety aspects;
  5. To conduct a baseline assessment of the company’s performance on sustainable practices;
  6. To have sustainability guidelines and assessment system in place to identify the sustainability performance of key suppliers/partners;
  7. To have a sustainability action plan with clear targets, actions, measures, responsibilities, and time planning;
  8. To ensure that all staff are fully aware of our Sustainability Policy and are committed to implementing and improving it.
  9. We commit to complying with all national legislation, regulations, and codes of practice.


Internal management: social policy & human rights


  1. We commit to sustainable internal management by having a clear written and well-communicated social policy that includes the following principles:
  2. To grant employees the freedom of employment and contract termination with notice (according to labor law) and without penalty
  3. To provide medical and liability insurance according to the national law;
  4. To grant employees fixed paid yearly holiday and sick leave and unpaid annual leave allowance;
  5. To have a health and safety policy for employees which complies with national legal standards;
  6. To have first aid sets and trained staff available at all relevant locations;
  7. To obey the national concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment;
  8. Measure regularly employees’ satisfaction and complaints and take action for improvement;
  9. To create opportunities for students in participating in traineeship/internship/apprenticeship; 
  10. To prohibit discrimination, regard to recruitment, conditions of employment, access to training and senior positions, or promotion in terms of gender, race, age, disability, ethnicity, religion/beliefs, or sexual orientation;
  11. To ensure all employees have an equal chance and access to resources and opportunities for personal development through regular training and education;                               


  3. Internal Management: Environment and community relations

  1. We commit to practicing environmental protection and enhancing community relations by ensuring the enforcement of the following practices:
  2. Set copy and printing machines by default to double-sided printing or other forms of paper-saving modes;
  3. Use cleaning materials that are non-hazardous, non-eutrophic, and biodegradable and are certified with an eco-label, if locally available;
  4. Do not print brochures, flyers, or business cards but have them in electronic version
  5. Use only green energy and efficient lighting for office purposes.
  6. Switch off Lights and equipment when not in use,
  7. Encourage employees to use our barrels with fresh spring water
  8. Comply with the national legislation concerning waste disposal;
  9. Take measures to reduce the number of packaging materials and use reusable packaging
  10. Reduce transport-related impacts using internet tools
  11. Maintain and properly check motorized company vehicles, to reduce emissions and energy use and make sure they comply with the legal emission standards,
  12. Provide periodic guidance, training, and/or information to all staff members, about their roles and responsibilities with respect to internal environmental practices;


4. Partner agencies

  1. Our aim is to make sustainable development concrete for each and every partner within our business.
  2. We commit to this by:
  3. We will create and grow a list of our partner accommodations’ and transfers’ sustainability practices
  4. Only working with organizations who are truly implementing sustainability in their tourism policy;
  5. Paying attention to the local benefits of communities when selecting local accommodations and their social policy for employees;
  6. Informing key partners on the Travelife and national tourism standards;
  7. Having a cooperation contract including an annex of the sustainability practices
  8. Informing key partners about the travel companies’ sustainability policy and that they are expected to comply with it and/or communicate it to final customers where relevant;
  9. Including key sustainability clauses in contracts with inbound/receptive partners;
  10. Having a written contract with partner agencies;


5. Transport

  1. We try to ensure that vehicles used on tours do not cause more than average pollution. We believe that transport is an important aspect of sustainable tourism, and we do our best to decrease the average pollution level.
  2. We commit to this by;
  3. Calculating the most sustainable type of transport with the lowest negative impact whenever possible
  4. Making sure vehicles are newer generations and in accordance with all EU and national standards and demands
  5. Making sure heating and AC is turned on only 15min before the arrival/return of the clients


     6. Accommodations


  1. We try to achieve a tourism supply chain that is fully sustainable. The partner accommodations play an important role in achieving this and are stimulated and motivated to adopt sustainable practices.
  2. We commit to this by;
  3. Motivating and encouraging partner accommodations to become sustainably certified;
  4. Preferring and selecting accommodations that are locally owned and managed;
  5. Selecting accommodations that employ local communities;
  6. Encouraging accommodations to follow best practices/training on responsible tourism;
  7. Encouraging accommodations to fill in the sustainability questionnaire to gain insight into their practices;
  8. Clearly and actively communicating our sustainability objectives and requirements regarding accommodations to contracted and other relevant accommodations;
  9. Giving clear preference to accommodations that work with internationally acknowledged (e.g. GSTC recognized) and/or Travelife certification;
  10. Ensuring that through our accommodation supply chain, the rights of children are respected and safeguarded by;
  11. Working with accommodations and restaurants that incorporate elements of local art, architecture, or cultural heritage; while respecting the intellectual property rights of local communities;
  12. Terminating cooperation with accommodation in case of clear evidence that contracted accommodations jeopardize the provision of the integrity of basic services such as food, water, energy, healthcare, or soil to the neighboring companies.;


                                                           7. Excursions and activities


  1. We value animal and community welfare extremely highly and aim at tours that only leave a minor footprint. We are safeguarding the authenticity of the communities and the natural environment, and are strongly against harming wildlife and polluting the environment.
  2. Not offering any excursions that harm humans, animals, plants, natural resources such as water and energy, or which are socially and culturally unacceptable- quad, motor ski, jet ski tours.
  3. Advising guests on behavior standards during excursions and activities with a focus on respecting the local culture, nature, and environment;
  4. Communicating our sustainability objectives and requirements to contracted and other relevant excursion providers
  5. Not offering any excursions in which wildlife is held captive, except for properly regulated activities in compliance with local, national, and international law;
  6. Having skilled and/or certified guides to guide our guests in sensitive cultural sites, heritage sites, or ecologically sensitive destinations;
  7. Promoting and advising our guests on excursions and activities which directly involve and support local communities by purchasing services or goods, traditional crafts, and local (food) production methods, or visiting social projects;


   8. Tour leaders, local representatives, and guides


  1. We aim at involving as many locals as possible by employing them in the tourism business. We stand for a fair and safe working environment that supports and respects local communities.
  2. We commit to this by;
  3. Ensuring that all employees have a written employment contract, including labor conditions and a job description, and fully understand the terms and conditions;
  4. Preferring to work with local tour leaders, local representatives, local tour guides, porters, drivers, cooks, and other local staff in case of equal ability, and provide training as required;
  5. Paying tour leaders, local representatives, guides, porters, and other local staff contracted by us at least a living wage that is equal to or above the legal minimum or relevant industry standard;
  6. Ensuring that our tour guides, hosts, and other employees under contract are qualified and trained regularly;
  7. Offering elementary training on sustainability practices
  8. Having our tour leaders, local representatives and guides inform clients on relevant sustainability matters in the destination (e.g. protection of flora, fauna, and cultural heritage, resource use), social norms and values (e.g. tips, dressing code, and photography) and human rights (e.g. sexual exploitation);


9. Destination


  1. We aim to maximize positive impacts and minimize negative impacts at the destination with:
  2. Not selecting destinations in which tourism leads to structural negative local effects,
  3. Consider a selection of new destinations, which are reachable through more sustainable means of transport;
  4. Comply with legally based spatial planning, protected areas, and heritage regulations.  Also with destination management strategies of local, regional, and national authorities;
  5. Support initiatives that improve the relationships between accommodations and local producers;
  6. Influence and support the local government (when possible, together with other travel companies and stakeholders) concerning sustainability, destination planning, and management, use of natural resources, and socio-cultural issues;
  7. Promoting locally produced souvenirs


10. Customer communication and protection



  1. Having prepared customers, in advance, already creates a clearer picture of sustainability policies to be respected upon their arrival:
  2. Before their arrival:
  3. Provide guidelines on the sustainability commitment for the clients in a clear and concise manner
  4. Make product and price information clear, complete, and accurate, with regard to the company and its products and services, including sustainability claims;
  5. Provide destination information, including sustainability aspects, which is factually correct, balanced, and complete;
  6. Inform clients about the environmental impact of different transport options to reach the destination (in case these are not included in the package), and offer sustainable alternatives, where available;
  7. Promote (Certified) sustainable accommodations, excursions, packages, and/or transport options, with logos or other messages; ensuring they are recognizable to consumers and presented as the “better” option;
  8. Inform the customer about sustainable alternatives concerning accommodations, excursions, package holidays, and transport options, if available;
  9. After booking and during holidays, we commit to this by:
  10. Provide Information to consumers about the natural surroundings, local culture, and cultural heritage in the holiday destination;
  11. Inform consumers about key sustainability aspects and issues in the destination and receive recommendations on how to make a positive contribution;
  12. Inform customers about risks and precautions related to health and safety matters at the destination;
  13. Keep a contact person   and a telephone number permanently available for emergency situations;
  14. Train personnel and keep guidelines available, on how to deal with emergency situations;
  15. Inform clients about applicable legislation concerning threatened flora and/or fauna in the destination;
  16. Motivate clients to use local restaurants and shops (where appropriate);
  17. Inform clients on sustainable transport options in destinations, when feasible;
  18. Encourage clients to donate to local charities and sustainable initiatives;
  19. After the holidays, we commit to this by:
  20. Measure systematically client satisfaction and take into account the results, for service and product improvements and sustainability part;
  21. Have clear procedures in case of complaints from clients




-  Workshop with local accommodations on sustainability/meal presentation and vegetarian options/ cultural and crafts presentation








- Cleaning action in cooperation with Zero Waste Montenegro.

Cleaning the bank of river Ljesnica in Bijelo Polje with the help of Tourism Highschool from Bijelo Polje and

presentation of garbage selection sheets.







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