AITO: The Association of Independent Tour Operators

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee

Our DEI Goal

As an association, AITO has recognised that, in this changing world, we need to spread awareness of DEI.  AITO has made a commitment to do better, to listen, to educate itself and members, to evolve as an Association and to help members to embrace and adopt a DEI policy and culture.  In doing so, we aim to implement the necessary measures for the Association to adopt as best practice and to be in a position to advise members. The committee was set up in March 2021 - right in the midst of the pandemic - to formulate a DEI policy with a set of tentative, but adaptable, end goals.

Our DEI Committee

The DEI committee is made up of 17 individuals (from all areas of membership & AITO staff and directors), all of whom have committed their time and energy because they understand the importance of DEI in their own businesses and want to help AITO and its members to engage and learn. 

Members of the committee personally cover all nine protected characteristics as identified in the Equality Act 2010 – namely, but not limited to, the following:

  • 53% female members; 47% male and gender-fluid members
  • 4 LGBTQ+ members
  • 4 ethnic minority members and 2 members with ethnic minority partners and children
  • A broad age range, from 30 to 73
  • A number of different nationalities and religions
  • A number of the female members are also full-time working mothers

What We Have Achieved?

In the short amount of time since the formation of the committee, a reasonable amount has, we feel, been achieved, including the definitions of, and understanding of, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, along with AITO’s statement of intent, as well as AITO’s Equal Opportunities, Diversity and Dignity at Work Policy and a statement for Staff Handbooks.  All of these are being integrated into a shared working resource area which the committee are using to compile and collate useful and pertinent information.  Once fully established, these resources will be shared with the membership, so that they too can learn and evaluate their own businesses, adopting the necessary policies and principles.  Within this will also be a host of training modules that members can utilise, in a number of ways, for on-going development

The first task for the committee to achieve was to establish our understanding of what DEI represents.


Diversity refers to demographic differences of a group – often at team or organisational level. The recognition of Diversity is about taking account of the differences between people and groups of people, and perhaps MOST importantly placing a positive value on those differences. Often, diversity references are protected characteristics in UK law: age, disability, gender expression, identity or reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.


Equity is defined as the proportion of justice and fairness, within the procedures, processes and distribution of resources, within an organisation.  It is about treating people according to their own needs when the playing field is not level. A tailor-made approach to individuals will result in real equality at the end; in other words, the outcome must be equal.


Inclusion is defined as the process of ensuring that all people, regardless of their abilities, disabilities or any differentiator, have the right to be respected, appreciated and welcomed as valuable members of a community. An inclusive organisation is one where everyone, regardless of their background, identity or circumstance, feels valued, welcomed and supported to succeed at work.

Going Forward

AITO’s DEI committee already has a roadmap in place, with a draft timeline of what they wish – and hope - to achieve.  Working within the association itself first, followed by the membership, the ultimate aim is to work with all of the suppliers that AITO’s members use, at the very least to establish their values and beliefs, but with the ultimate aim of educating and aligning everyone in the broader AITO family.

The committee is very much at the beginning of its journey and will be looking for input from anyone within the membership who wishes to get involved, as well as from outside parties and associations with whose values and beliefs AITO aligns.