AITO: The Association of Independent Tour Operators

Applying for AITO Membership

Applicants are required to satisfy a number of criteria about their status and the nature of their activities, as follows:
  • They should be bona fide tour operators whose business is primarily organised as that of a tour operator contracting with holidaymakers as a principal.
  • They should be able to demonstrate that they are not in a position to derive benefits on a substantial scale from the ownership of travel agencies or an airline or other travel industry related business by the member, its parent company or another subsidiary of its parent company
  • They are not subsidiaries of larger organizations that would qualify for but have not sought membership of the Association
  • A significant proportion of the activity of the business amounting to at least £250,000 in annual turnover is attributable to the sale of inclusive holidays.
  • They should have been trading as a tour operator for a minimum of two years (two sets of annual audited accounts or those certified by an accountant are required).
  • A minimum of £10,000 paid up share capital.
  • They should be UK based and their literature/brochures and website should be produced in English.
  • Their marketing information, whether brochure or web-based, must reflect the high standards expected of AITO members.
  • They should match the general profile of AITO members, most of whom are small-to-medium specialist companies with hands-on management involved in the day to day running of the business.
  • They should provide full financial protection of clients monies as required by the regulations in the event of the business failing. This includes both licensable (ATOL) and non-licensable turnover including accommodation only. Trust Accounts, other than the Travel Trust Association are not acceptable.
  • They should have public liability insurance with minimum cover of £2m.
  • They should be prepared to abide by the terms and spirit of the AITO Quality Charter and Code of Business Practice.
  • The AITO logo is seen as a kite mark of excellence. Applicants have to satisfy the AITO Council that the quality standards expected are being met.

Types of Membership

There are two types of membership: Independent or Invited.

Independent Membership: Independent members are those tour operators whose share capital is at least 50% owned by directors, their relatives or the employees.

Invited Membership: Invited members, who only total around 15% of the total membership, are those operators who cannot satisfy the share ownership test but whom the AITO Council believe have a similar philosophy and share AITO's standards and values. The precise rights of invited members are set out in the Association's Memorandum & Articles but in general terms they enjoy all the rights of independent members other than the entitlement to vote on constitutional issues.

How to Apply

Tour Operators who wish to apply for membership, have further questions, or require an application form, please contact or call AITO HQ on 020 8744 9280

Annual subscriptions for membership of AITO are based on turnover. For the current list of subscription fees, please contact AITO HQ as per above.

The application fees are dependent on turnover and start at £250+VAT If the application is not accepted, £100 of this fee is non-refundable.