Who we are
At Maritime Travel, we take pride in providing superior service and value to our customers through our knowledgeable and caring people. Beginning with a single storefront in 1949, the company has since grown to become the largest independent travel agency in Canada. Headquartered in Nova Scotia, our retail operations now consist of over 90 community locations from coast to coast where we are proud to employ over 400 people.
As a trusted travel advisor to our customers, thoughtful employer to our colleagues and responsible business in our communities, we hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards of integrity in all we do. This extends to how we engage responsibly with the world around us and is the cornerstone of our approach to sustainability.
Our sustainability priorities
Maritime Travel is a retail company that sells leisure and business travel services to customers in Canada and the United States. As such, our business does not produce significant carbon emissions on its own. However, we recognize our role in the broader travel and tourism industry, and our relationships with airlines, cruise lines and other businesses that do produce more significant emissions.
In determining our sustainability priorities, we considered the topics that are most important to our business and our stakeholders, including our customers, employees and communities.
Sustainable travel Empowering our customers with responsible choices
Environmental stewardship Recognizing our impacts and contributing to solutions
People Engaging our employees as the heart of our business and trusted voice of our customers
Governance Acting with integrity and accountability in all we do
We believe travel is a force for good in the world. Travel and tourism are responsible for millions of jobs around the globe, are an important driver for the preservation of natural and cultural heritage and contribute to sustainable socio-economic development. When done responsibly, travel has the ability to uplift communities, connect diverse perspectives and preserve sensitive environments.
That said, we know that flying contributes directly to climate change, and around 2.4% of global CO2 emissions come from commercial aviation . While there are a number of important initiatives underway in the industry to reduce emissions, including production of fuel-efficient aircraft and use of sustainable aviation fuel, these solutions take time to develop, implement and scale. Meanwhile, travel is expected to increase as more people globally move into the middle class.
At Maritime Travel, we recognize the importance of individual and collective action toward managing negative impacts on the environment, people and economies. That’s why we are doing our part to educate and inform our customers about the impacts of travel and to provide them with information to help them travel responsibly.
Your partner in reporting and managing impacts of Business Travel
Our dedicated Business Travel Management team recognizes our customers have multiple objectives in managing their corporate travel programs. Increasingly, understanding, tracking and managing carbon emissions from business travel are among customers’ top concerns. Our team is ready with innovative reporting and emissions management insights.
We provide our business travel customers with the tools necessary to make informed decisions. Our MT Reporting tools are available to provide customers with a number of customizable data points, including:
• Air CO2 emissions
• Car CO2 emissions
• Hotel CO2 emissions
We take the time to understand your emissions management goals and how they fit in with your broader corporate travel program. We then customize reporting so it delivers the most important data in a clear, concise and shareable format. In short, we do the tracking so you don’t have to.
It’s our job to ensure all travel data is captured, sorted into meaningful reports and analyzed thoroughly. We do this from a holistic view, incorporating travel policy compliance, cost management, emissions management, and other relevant factors into our analysis. We then present recommendations that can turn into decisions that positively impact the direction of our customer’s travel program. Actions will depend on the customer’s business travel needs and can include moving to more sustainable accommodations, selecting lower emission flights, opting for teleconference over same-day travel, or carbon offsetting.
Our Business Travel Management team is powered by unique technology and expert assistance to deliver meaningful, actionable insights. As an SAP Concur TMC Elite partner , we provide the most comprehensive travel program management utilizing SAP Concur technology, which includes Concur Travel, Compleat Quality Assurance, Concur Expense and TripLink. For the Concur Travel online booking tool, we can enable sustainability features to help our customers make informed choices when booking online.
Helping customers understand and manage their travel footprint
As we all seek to reduce our carbon footprint, information is power. We recently started displaying carbon emissions on our customers’ itineraries to enhance emissions transparency and support our travelers in better understanding their travel footprint.
In addition to supporting informed choices, we are also helping our customers offset the negative impacts of their travel. Through our partnership with Trees 4 Travel, we make it easy for customers to book their travel and purchase carbon offsets in one simple step via a direct link from our customer’s itinerary. A member of the United Nation’s Environment Program, Trees 4 Travel creates positive climate action in 2 ways: First, its tree planting operations help to restore forests, biodiversity and support local communities through dignified work and poverty alleviation. Second, every tree purchased comes with a share of an investment in a United Nations certified renewable energy program, which goes toward offsetting emissions immediately.
We are proud of our progress to date but know there is much more to be done. Our customers are likewise eager to make responsible choices, but it’s not always obvious what the best choice is. To help, we have projects in development to support our customers in finding the right solution for them, including:
• Expanded carbon emissions tracking and reporting to help travellers manage their footprint over the course of their entire journey: flight, transfer, accommodation, and excursions
• Prioritizing hybrid cars on rental vehicle booking pages, and
• Promoting accommodation and resort providers that demonstrate commitment to sustainable practices.
Empowering sustainable choices
Maritime Travel is proud to offer our customers travel options for memorable experiences that leave a lighter footprint. Our Sustainable Travel webpage makes it easy to find responsible tours and cruises that support local communities and are sensitive to environmental impacts – from carbon-neutral adventure travel to hybrid-electric-powered expedition cruising.
In selecting tour and cruise operators for our Sustainable Travel webpage, we consider a number of criteria, including:
• Minimizing environmental impact and carbon emissions
• Supporting locally owned businesses
• Respecting animal welfare
• Contributing to the local community
• Providing an authentic cultural and educational experience to the traveller
Our team reviews the sustainability commitments, targets, accreditations and reports of suppliers to assess the authenticity of their claims in supporting economic, social and environmental sustainability in designing their trips.
We are committed to further expanding both the variety and functionality of our Sustainable Travel catalogue so travelers can easily search and find the types of trips that align most closely with their values. Whether that’s a preference for environmental sustainability over luxury, or finding cruises that educate travelers about local culture, customs and ecology between ports.
When it comes to taking care of our planet, it’s up to all of us to do our part. At Maritime Travel, we are constantly seeking out ways to operate more efficiently and responsibly to care for our planet. We have implemented a number of important actions thus far, but know there is always more to do.
Travel suppliers are working to understand and reduce their emissions through more efficient aircraft, sustainable fuels, new technologies, waste reduction and renewable energy use, among other initiatives. At Maritime Travel, we are implementing advanced reporting for our agents, and filtering options for our online customers, so they can quickly identify the most sustainable options that meet their travel needs.
While Maritime Travel has not yet completed its own greenhouse gas emissions assessment, we know that energy consumption at our 100+ locations is the most significant opportunity to manage and reduce our footprint. As set out below, we have already started measuring our electricity and fuel consumption, and identifying opportunities for reductions and efficiencies. We take total responsibility for our operations, and will reduce our consumption as much as possible, and offset what cannot be reduced.
We are proud to offer flexible work arrangements and virtual meetings to reduce emissions from employee commuting. However, the nature of our business occasionally requires travel by our employees. We are working towards being carbon neutral on our own business travel by 2026.
Reducing waste in our business practices has been a long-standing focus for our team. We are well on our way to becoming a paperless workplace and our marketing team is focused on leveraging digital promotion. Where seasonal campaigns do continue to use printed materials, we have implemented a policy of circularity, such that most marketing materials are fully recyclable or biodegradable.
As a trusted travel partner to our customers, we are working to reduce waste for our travellers throughout their journey. For more than a decade, we have exclusively provided electronic travel documents, rather than the traditional folio of printed materials that may end up in landfills. Further, for many years most gifts offered to customers as part of their Maritime Travel experience have been made with renewable materials, or were fully biodegradable (for example, our cork travel wallets). Going forward, we will further reduce our use of resources by foregoing physical customer gifts altogether in favour of gifting travellers a tree through our Trees 4 Travel partnership. We hope this gift is a reminder of the fragility of our planet and the need to tread lightly, wherever we roam.
Using 2019 as our base year, Maritime Travel has implemented energy consumption tracking at all locations across Canada. We are measuring the total electricity used for lighting and powering office computers and appliances, and natural gas needed for heating office spaces. In addition to total consumption, we will also measure the intensity of our energy use per square foot of office space occupied. Our goal in doing so is to understand our energy patterns more clearly, so we can effectively manage and reduce our consumption. Working with our office leaders in each location, we will identify, share and embed best practices for energy conservation in all our locations from coast to coast.
Our people are the heart of our business. They are directly responsible for delivering the bespoke experiences our customers have come to expect, and are key to Maritime Travel achieving its business goals. We strongly believe in taking care of our employees and supporting them to achieve their own personal and career goals, all while creating a work environment that is fun, engaging and inclusive. We believe it is our strong company culture, and focus on inclusion and belonging, that help us attract and retain our travel experts. Our people work with us because they enjoy building their careers and longstanding relationships with customers here, as evidenced by our 70% retention rate through the COVID-19 pandemic, and average employee experience level of 15+ years.
Diversity and inclusion
At Maritime Travel, we aim to create a culture of belonging. We believe that our team is strongest when every colleague brings their whole, authentic self to work. Our customers can feel the difference when our team is engaged and empowered to be themselves – they trust us because they know us. It is this genuine connection that is the bedrock of our relationships, and the secret to our 70+ year history of success.
Women in leadership
With women comprising more than 80% of our employees, ensuring there is opportunity for career advancement and leadership roles within our company is of utmost importance. We are proud to say there is exceptional and inspiring female leadership at all levels of Maritime Travel, with more than 2/3rds of our senior leadership roles being held by women.
Our people are the driving force behind our success, and we are only too happy to offer a workplace that supports them in fulfilling their personal and professional goals.
A prime example is our flexible working program, which empowers employees to take on the part-time or seasonal roles that best fit their personal situation. To support our people, Maritime Travel offers options for flexible employees to average compensation over the year, so they are not left on their own to manage budgeting during off-work periods. Further, the company absorbs a portion of group insurance premiums so flexible employees are not without coverage during off-work periods. This offers flexibility for parents of young families to enjoy summers together, and empowers those who are farther along in their careers to continue working with their long-standing customers while also enjoying semi-retirement.
We take our duty to provide a safe and inclusive workplace for all our employees seriously. In addition to an open-door policy and regular touchpoints with our colleagues, we do this formally through our antiharassment policy.
While we have more than 400 employees across Canada, Maritime Travel has an intentionally flat organizational structure. By keeping our team close, we are able to share and build upon our unique culture and values together. This has real benefits for our colleagues working in our 100+ community branches across Canada, as they are empowered to lead and make business decisions on their own. We believe credit is due where credit is earned, so each community team shares directly in the profits of their branch. As a result, our people feel a true sense of ownership and view the business as their own.
In addition to an open-door policy and regular touchpoints with regional teams, we also conduct two annual engagement surveys to give our people the chance to formally voice their views:
• Kincentric employee engagement survey is conducted annually to assess the company on four indices: employee engagement, agility, leadership and talent focus. In 2020, Maritime Travel was recognized as one of Kincentric’s Best Employers.
• Maritime Travel also conducts its own internal employee survey annually, to target in on specific feedback regarding programs that are unique to our business. For example, recent system changes, pension and benefits programs, or profit sharing programs. The results of both surveys are shared with employees by our President at our annual conference, and are posted to our internal website in full.
In 2022, Maritime Travel was recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Platinum Club for 17 consecutive years. A Platinum Club winner must maintain its Best Managed Company status for a minimum of six consecutive years.
Training and development
Travel and tourism is a dynamic industry that requires our employees to stay up to date in order to bring the very best service to our customers. Recognizing the need for lifelong learning, Maritime Travel is happy to offer a variety of training and development programs to our employees, at zero cost:
Mature Student Travel Program – Through a combination of flexible instruction and on-the-job training over the course of 2 months, employees learn the essential skills, technology system best practices and standards of service that are the foundation for a long and successful career at Maritime Travel
Continuous Learning – With a focus on engagement and upskilling, the continuous learning program is delivered through a combination of external experts and Maritime Travel’s in-house training team. Topics range from personal development to technical systems training, and are tailored to the needs of employees as identified in their annual survey responses.
Travel Program and Familiarization Trips – It is important to us that our customers receive knowledgeable advice from experts they can trust. For both our corporate and leisure travel team members, we support our agents through a subsidized travel program to take familiarization trips. This allows our agents to navigate the same border protocols, airports, transportation options, accommodations and experiences that our customers will encounter. This puts us in the best position to provide advice for a smooth and pleasant journey, because our people have been there.
At the core of our culture is the commitment to act with integrity in all we do. This commitment extends to all aspects of our company, leading to comprehensive care and protection for our customers.
As Canada’s largest independent travel agency, we have the best of both worlds – the agility to respond quickly and decisively to urgent issues, and the experienced senior leadership team to embed governance best practices.
Our senior leadership team is responsible for:
• Setting the strategic direction of Maritime Travel, including sustainability priorities;
• Overseeing the execution of action plans; and
• Assessing performance against established targets.
The leadership team also determines the policies that govern Maritime Travel’s business practices and reviews them on a regular basis.
For our customers, part of the Maritime Travel difference is the confidence they feel knowing we have them covered. Baked into our business model is a focus on traveler safety – whether that’s helping customers understand shifting travel restrictions and requirements through our TravelSmart Resource Centre, advocating for travelers who have had trips cancelled, or the comfort of knowing our 24-hour emergency travel assistance is available from anywhere in the world.
We have a number of programs in place to help our business travel customers travel safely. For international business travelers, our MT Duty of Care program automatically sends alerts regarding any safety events or concerns affecting the destination and includes a dashboard that allows travel managers to track all their travelers and receive daily news feeds regarding local events that may impact these traveling employees. In the event of a safety incident, Maritime Travel will activate its Red Alert process, through which our agents can identify your impacted travelers and offer assistance to get them home quickly and safely.
Data privacy and security
We take protecting our customers’ personal information seriously. We are firmly committed to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of personal information and maintaining physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect personal information in our care.
Across our organization, Maritime Travel has implemented appropriate physical, electronic and managerial security procedures in order to protect personal information from loss, misuse, alteration or destruction. We also regularly review security and encryption technologies and strive to protect information to the fullest extent possible.