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BEST PRACTICE of skills development in tourism from Italy: KEL12

In today’s rapidly evolving tourism industry, developing a strategic approach on skills development within organisations is crucial for a futureproof sector and workforce to remain competitive and responsive to changing market demands. In this series of best practices we highlight key areas of skills development necessary for the digital and sustainable transformation and inclusive tourism growth. We discuss best practices that have been carefully selected in the PANTOUR project countries to get inspired. In this blog, we focus on Kel 12 is the first tourism company in Italy, seventh in Europe, to obtain B Corp certification, a result that is part of a long and committed journey that underlies the philosophy of Kel 12. It means: No direct advantage for the operator, but the creation of a shared well-being.

Background information

B Corps are a new type of business that creates benefits for all stakeholders, not just shareholders. Over the years they have worked hard to raise awareness among their travellers and to support activities and projects that have the same objectives as theirs but also shared values and principles. They are companies that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Certified B Corporations are companies that take care of their people, work towards a more inclusive supply chain and take corporate social responsibility to the next level.

 

Analysis and overview

The tour operator strongly believed in the following statement: Prioritising passion within your company can help you create a healthy and happy work environment that you can pass on to your customers. The company has adopted this guiding principle to achieve its goals and create high-quality products.

 

Key principles

The mission of the Kel12 Tour Operator is to propose ethical and sustainable trips, which are experiences, encounters with nature, history, art. Their travels are an opportunity to meet people, the other, the different: to be known and respected. Their vision is providing unique and unforgettable travel experiences, proposing a new way of being travellers: responsible, aware, and curious.

 

Examples and case studies

Kel 12 is B Corp. B Corp certification represents a type of business capable of creating benefits for all stakeholders and not just shareholders. These are companies that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance but also public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

 

Potential pitfalls and challenges

The managing director said “Only 3% of companies that undertake the path to obtain a B Corp achieve their goal. We completed the journey in two years. Excellences and values recognized today that Kel 12 has always practised since the brand’s debut, following the motto: “Leave no footprints in the world”. The challenge was to create truly sustainable and non-greenwashing tourism, strongly connected to the company’s philosophy. B Corps are a new type of business that creates benefits for all stakeholders, not just shareholders. Kel 12 has an extremely organised and immersive travel philosophy. An idea that was born in the Sahara Desert where the legendary Kel, the Tuareg tribes, live. There are said to be eleven in total. And it is from the sands of the desert that the project of Kel 12, the twelfth tribe, was born. It was 1978. A pioneering story that in four decades managed to create itineraries all over the world, to open routes and paths that are common today, but which were completely new at the time. To follow their philosophy the managing director of the tour operator. declared that:

“In line with our purpose of providing products and services of superior quality and value, we are equally committed to improving the lives of our employees. The people of Kel 12 are the foundation of our success and bring our values to life. At Kel 12 we promote a work environment of safety and trust. An important aspect of our commitment to our employees is our employee rights policy, which honours our principles and values and meets standards internationally at work”.

“Our employees hold themselves and other employees accountable to act with confidence and integrity, putting themselves out there as leaders and owners of the business and to compete effectively honourably with a passion for achieving goals. Retaliation of any kind is not consistent with our values of integrity and trust and, simply, they are not tolerated”.

Kel 12 tour operator is committed to creating a work environment that promotes dialogue and supports employees in communicating potential violations. The company believes that for the personal and professional growth and development of. It is essential for each employee to define a training path that allows him to increase his wealth of knowledge. The Company therefore ensures that it is available to all employees some training tools, both internal and external, also making use of specific training providers and specific instruments. In line with the purpose of providing products and services of superior quality and value, they are equally committed to improving the lives of their employees. The people of Kel 12 are the foundation of their success and bring their values to life.
At Kel 12 they promote a work environment of safety and trust.

An important aspect of their commitment to their employees is their employee rights policy, which honours their principles and values and meets standards internationally at work. The employees hold themselves and other employees accountable to act with confidence and integrity, putting themselves out there as leaders and owners of the business and to compete effectively honourably with a passion for achieving goals. Kel 12 is committed to creating a work environment that promotes dialogue and supports employees in communicating potential violations. Training is guaranteed to all employees regardless of role, by seniority in the company and the type of contract signed. In addition to this, each employee, if he deems it necessary, will have the right to propose and agree with your manager on further initiatives training which will be submitted to management for approval, after consultation with the direct manager. Training is guaranteed to all employees regardless of role, by seniority in the company and the type of contract signed.

 

Benefits and outcomes

For the trade, this is a great opportunity. Tourism promotes local culture, encourages local suppliers. The sustainability of travel is another aspect of the Kel 12 proposals with concrete interventions such as the exclusive use of electric cars in Botswana or the meeting with local communities or the conservation projects of the villages in the Himalayas and the plastic free program which allows to save more than 250 plastic bottles for each travel group. Moreover, travelling promotes social growth. Regarding the performance of individual employees, as well of the entire corporate organisation, the Company has a system of performance evaluation of each employee which involves the whole company and guarantees a 360° evaluation, both by superiors and of equal levels and of coordinated people. The methodology used includes the following aspects:
• the evaluation of the professional and managerial skills demonstrated;
• the definition of individual objectives in terms of results and expected behaviours;
• support for individual people in improving their performance;
• evaluation of performance and communication of results and future expectations of the individual.

The evaluation process involves all employees independently by the role, seniority in the company and the type of contract signed and has at least annually.

 

Measuring success

For Kel 12 it also means returning a part of the profits and benefits to the territory and the environment that generate them, helping to reach the steps of the 2030 Agenda and pursuing the company mission which expressly consists in making people discover the beauty of the planet. Kel 12 has embraced several projects over time, including the Water & Beyond linked to the problem of water that involves different countries and many people. The company’s officer said that

“Our tour operator does not produce anything, but we want to underline the importance of both the environmental and social objectives. The message we want to convey is that you can be a profit-making company characterising yourself with a higher level of transparency, responsibility and mission.”

 

References and external resources

https://kel12.com/b-corp/ 
https://www.mbnews.it/2022/11/kel-12-tour-operator-monza-e-brianzambcircle/

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