FOR US, SUSTAINABILITY IS
NOT A MARKETING STRATEGY
AND WE'RE SERIOUS
The Neutravel Company was born out of a desire to create the change in the tourism industry we'd been looking for. After years of working for other, very large, tour companies, we realized that what we wanted to see and do was only going to happen if we did it ourselves. So we did.
We hope that sustainability is important to you too, which is probably why you're reading this page. You want to know if we really "walk the walk." We understand because we do the same thing. So here's our sustainability story:
Environmentally, the Netherlands is one of the leading countries when it comes to sustainability programs, but we couldn’t help but notice a lack of “green” group tour opportunities.
Tourists were still being driven in fossil fuel chugging motor coaches and boats and many of the big hotel chains had done very little to lessen their CO2 output. The same sites and cities are recycled in every tour itinerary at a detriment to the environs and infrastructure. We certainly do have bicycle transport down to an art-form, but we even see opportunities for that to expand for our visitors.
We also realized that some of the most sustainable experiences are also adventurous experiences. Did you know that in addition to cycling, the Netherlands offers great opportunities for sailing, kayaking, stand up
paddleboarding, introductory surfing, hiking, scuba diving... the list goes on. We also have 20 national parks here for you to explore. We want people to skip the flights to far off destinations for their adventure travel in favor of a potentially closer location.
When it comes to sustainability for our fellow humans, we also see a lot of room for growth, too. Certain populations, even in country like the Netherlands, still face challenges and even marginalization. Among many, this includes people with disabilities (or "differently-abled" people), and immigrants. We want to help create not only meaningful travel opportunities, but also opportunities for growth and empowerment within our community and abroad. It is also very important to us to support small, local businesses rather than multinational conglomerates.
Both the environmental and social components of sustainability factor strongly into our group tours. Here is a breakdown of some of the highlights:
Our goal is to avoid fossil fueled, polluting modes of transportation at all cost. We have established partnerships with companies offering electric, biodiesel and sail powered forms of transportation. Eventually, we hope to eliminate biodiesel motor coaches in favor of new, electric motor coach technology. We are also building itineraries with human-powered transport options like bicycles and kayaks.
We have sought hotel partnerships with small, locally based companies that have a proven sustainability record. We look for certifications like Green Key and Green Globe as well as the hotel building's energy rating. Some of our providers are too small to have these certifications, so we make sure the vet them for basic criteria including energy sources and usage, water management, chemical usage, food sources and social responsibility. Occasionally we choose a hotel outside our norms, but we're transparent about that and tell you why.
In building our itineraries, we consider the environmental impact of the places we go. You won't likely see a cheese factory or the Dutch flower auction included in any of our tours because of the immense environmental impact of these businesses.
We want to empower our guests to make sustainable choices on tour, so we include a few special extras to help them make environmentally friendly decisions:
-their choice of a reusable water bottle produced in the Netherlands by the Dutch company Dopper or a reusable shopping bag repurposed by the Rotterdam-based company Beat the Bag.
-an "OV-Card" for use on all public transit in the Netherlands that can be used to explore more during free time
-recommendations for local activities and restaurants with a sustainable focus
On every tour, we will also collect any materials like papers, wine bottles, unwanted clothes, etc. that can be remade through the circular economy and we will donate them to local organizations like Looped Goods. We will also carry along gloves, trash pickers and biodegradable trash bags so that if one of our guests sees a canal or park with rubbish and wants to clean up a bit in their free time, they can. It may sound crazy, but we would do it if given the opportunity, so maybe you would too
Finally, while we are not currently a 100% vegan company, we're working toward that. Our group dinners will still feature animal products, but as we build our client base, we hope to eventually offer only vegan inclusions.
As with our environmental sustainability policies, we partner with the best of small, local businesses. We want our guests' money to go toward helping people achieve their dreams, rather than padding the already full pockets of large tour operators, hotel chains and other businesses. This builds a stronger local economy and frankly, it gives our guests more opportunities for authentic experiences and interactions. We hate staged, fake attempts at culture or connection.
All people should feel welcome on a tour with us, no matter the itinerary. We strive to create a culture and a platform for inclusion. This has a couple of different components:
- If a guest has a "disability" which might otherwise prevent them from participating in the tour, we want to find a solution for that. Whether it's adaptive mobility technology to take part in a cycling tour, the use of printed materials and sign language during narration or a safe space from stressful triggers, we want to work with our guests to give them the opportunities they deserve.
-We have a zero-tolerance policy for abuse or discrimination. People of all sexes, genders, nationalities, races, religions, sexualities, abilities and beliefs are welcome on our tours. We expect our employees, guests and business partner to respect this.
On some of our tours, the narration or content may include some unpleasant subjects. We want to share the real stories and histories of the places we visit, not a whitewashed version. We will do our best to give the most balanced picture of historical and current topics and we welcome open and respectful discussions of these topics.
As we grow and have a diverse offering of tours and activities, we plan to partner with people in the local community who have skills and passions that they want to share. Musicians, artists, cooks, outdoor enthusiasts and so much more. We want to pay them a fair wage for sharing their passions with you- from playing violin at group dinners to delivering a talk about local bird life before we visit a nature preserve.