Tour Operators and Travel Agents

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Certification procedure

  1. Application and preparation

Company information

Based on the company details as filled in the Travelife online checklistand aself-evaluation based on the Travelife Certified standard the company applies for certification. 

The Certification Offer

If the information supplied in the online reporting tool is meaningful and complete, Travelife will prepare an offerbased on the audit time guidelines, and other factors related to the certification, such as location, language and scope of certification. The offer is developed following documented procedures that do not favour or discriminate against any applicant organisation. 

Informal online audit

In the frame of the first Certification, the Travelife secretariat will conduct an informal online audit. Purpose of the online audit is to identify weak points in the documentation and the implementation requirements. The results of the informal audit are explained to the organisation through the online reporting tool and in the form of a “remarks report”.The results of an informal audit can lead to a modification of the initial certification offer, if circumstances require. The organisation must address deviations found during the informal audit before the certification audit commences. The auditors will review the corrective action resulting from the informal audit during the certification audit.

  1. The certification audit

Around three weeks before the certification audit Travelife submits the company report and related documentation to the lead auditor (which has been approved by the company). 

Stage One Audit (online)

Purpose of a stage one audit is to verify information received from the company and to determine the crucial organisational or sustainability related characteristics of the organisation. It is also the objective to conduct a review of the documents during the stage one audit.The auditor may request for further clarification. A report on the evaluation of the documents is written and sent to the organisation if the evidence provided does not fully comply with the requirements of the standard. Corrective action may be requested by the auditor before the on-site audit will commence.Based on the stage one audit the auditor prepares the audit plan, including list of the persons to be interviewed. The results of the stage-one audit may lead to a suspension of the stage two audit.

Stage Two audit

Approximately two weeks prior to the audit the companyreceives the audit plan for review and agreement.

During the stage two audit the implementation and effectiveness of the management system and sustainability performance criteria and indicators are reviewed on site by a competent auditor using a method of interviews and sampling of evidence of the implementation and effectiveness of the Travelife Certified criteria and requirements. Deviations detected by the audit team are documented.  Non-conformitiesrequire corrective action such as follow-up audit or submission of new evidence before the certification can be issued. Scope and extent of a follow-up audit are limited to the requirements affected by the non-conformity. 

Audit report

Based on the findings of the stage one and stage two audit the auditor prepares a formal draft report stating the conformity of all criteria towards the standard. Non conformities are clearly motivated and corrective actions are set with concrete deadlines. The draft report is shared with company who has the right to provide corrective information. After mutual agreement on the facts and conclusions presented in the audit report the report will be signed, first by the company and after that by the auditor.

  1. Certification

Issue of a Certificate

A certificate is issued following a positive review of the audit conclusions by the Travelife certification manager. The certificate is valid for two years provided at least annual surveillance audits are performed at the organisation. 

Surveillance check

A surveillance check will take place at least once every two years (between the audits).Before a surveillance check all relevant information about the organisation and the certification requirements shall be updated online to provide for significant changes which may have an effect on the scope or other issues of the organisation’s certification.In addition to the significant changes certain requirements of the standard are checked, including update of key indicators, useof the certificate and complaints against the sustainability system and requirements. 

In case of non-conformities, the same procedure as with a certification audit is adopted. In the case of severe, repeated or unattended non-conformities or violations of the certification contract, the certificate may be suspended or withdrawn. 

Re-Certification

Before the period of two year validity expires, a recertification audit shall be performed to extend the certificate for a further two years. The effectiveness of the entire sustainability system is tested during the audit. Changes to the compliance must be announced by the organisation in advance. The audit is performed in a comparable manner to a certification audit. 

Disputes and Appeals

If there is reason for the organisation to dispute or to appeal a decision of Travelife, they can address the Travelife Certification Manager directly. If the disagreement cannot be removed by the Certification Manager, the organisation may present his case to the Appeals and Complaints Panel for a ruling.

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