AITO: The Association of Independent Tour Operators
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Members Practising Sustainable Tourism

Members Practising Sustainable Tourism
You can view each members' sustainable tourism projects under their own company listing. Here is an overview of some of the fantastic work going on in the UK and abroad by our members.

TRAVEL + PROTECT

Tribes Travel takes responsible and sustainable tourism seriously. Since we started Tribes Travel in January 1998, we always aimed to offer travellers authentic, high quality holidays, and to do it in a responsible and sensitive way in regards the earth’s natural and cultural assets.

We developed TRAVEL + PROTECT, a digital booklet to give clear information to our clients about how Tribes organises trips that promote responsible travel, how we help our destinations and to highlight various grass roots projects that we support through our charity, The Tribes Foundation. TRAVEL + PROTECT includes informative articles for clients to help them travel responsibly through their own actions.

We believe that, given the facts & opportunity, most travellers would choose to make a positive difference to their world. We hope that our TRAVEL + PROTECT digital booklet helps point the way to more responsible travel.

  • Promote sustainable tourism practices
  • Help clients to make the right choices when travelling
  • Use website, blogs, newsletters to convey message
  • Raise awareness for The Tribes Foundation
  • Promote grass roots projects we support
Find out more

Five new holidays promoting the use of public transport around the destination

In 2019 Scandinavia Only will research and develop a programme of packaged holidays which are based on, and include, in-destination public transport as the primary means of transportation. Our target is to introduce and promote an additional three public transport holidays for the summer of 2020 and an extra two for the winter of 2020. This will increase our public transport holidays from 5 to 8 tours in the summer and 3 to 5 tours in the winter.

Public transport services, especially buses, are a means of transportation many customers do not use regularly at home. We will therefore present these journeys in an exciting and adventurous way making them more desirable experiences and not just a way of getting from A to B. Once a customer arrives in their destination country, their transportation between resorts i.e. the places where they will spend the night/s, will be by public transport following a detailed travel itinerary with pre-purchased tickets for all domestic journeys. This will provide the customer with a more authentic, ‘everyday’ experience and an opportunity to meet and travel alongside local people.

By doing this we will be supporting local transport companies who will benefit from additional income for their service, benefit the environment by using existing transport services and reducing CO² emissions from the alternative car hire option, and providing a steady and sustainable level of individual, experiential tourists who spend more in the destinations they travel to.

  • Research local bus routes.
  • Ensure bus journeys can be included in package.
  • Create holiday itineraries.
  • Promote tours via website and brochure.
Find out more

Carbon offset through donation to Practical Action

Buying ‘carbon offsets’ has become an increasingly popular option. This is a way to balance carbon emissions by paying for projects that save an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide elsewhere. Whilst this is a valid option, Llama Travel is less comfortable with this approach. Many of the organisations offering offsets are commercial enterprises. Additionally, a lot of the activity undertaken is planting trees, the environmental benefits of which are much disputed. We prefer to support projects introducing renewable energy sources in developing countries, so communities can advance economically and socially without developing a ‘carbon habit’.

Llama Travel is proud to support the work in Africa and Latin America of Practical Action, a development charity founded in the UK in 1965 by Fritz Schumacher, who coined the phrase ‘small is beautiful’ to describe the need to apply small-scale technology to reduce poverty. One of the areas we are supporting is the development of renewable energy in rural communities, allowing them to develop without using polluting forms of energy generation.

The going rate for carbon offsets for a Llama Travel holiday is approximately £25 per person. We ask each customer to donate £25 after they have travelled with us. We match this donation and use the money to support the work of Practical Action.

  • Llama Travel supports Practical Action.
  • We ask each customer to donate £25 after they have travelled with us, which we match and donate to Practical Action.
  • We aim to increase our donations by 66% in 2019/20.
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PT Ski is continuing to reduce their single use plastic consumption in Klosters

PT Ski is continuing to reduce and eliminate single use plastics in Klosters in their operations, influenced by and supporting the work of the Klosters Forum.

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Plastic Oceans

Purchase and installation of a Seabin on the West Coast of Scotland to help remove plastic and other waste from our oceans.

Seabins are a relatively new technology. It is a floating rubbish bin that filters and removes waste, including floating debris, macro and micro plastics and micro fibres, from the water in busy areas such as marinas and harbours. It contributes to cleaner and safer seas for wildlife and people.

  • - Making a contribution to removing plastic from our oceans.
  • - Purchasing and installing a Seabin in Mallaig on the West Coast of Scotland.
  • - Engaging with the local community to devise a management strategy for waste reduction.
Find out more

Supporting Working Women in India’s Pink City

In 2019 Wild Frontiers pledges to support women from low-income households in Jaipur, India, through our new sustainable tourism project with the Pink City Rickshaw Company.

Helping the Pink City Rickshaw Company to empower women through employment, we aim to raise £4000 through the Wild Frontiers Foundation to build two new electric rickshaws and train four local women to be driver guides.

Wild Frontiers will continue to support the women and the project by booking our clients onto their tours with the Pink City Rickshaw Company when visiting Jaipur. The aim is not for the ladies to provide an in-depth tour full of historical facts, but instead to allow visitors to step behind the scenes of one of India’s most beautiful cities and soak up their surroundings away from the typical tourist crowds.
In what is traditionally a male dominated profession in India, the project not only offers the women the opportunity to learn new skills, including basic English, and gain regular employment, it builds confidence, self-esteem and self-worth in a safe and structured environment.

We believe this initiative is responsible and sustainable tourism at its best, breaking down barriers and offering our clients a truly unique travel experience, while supporting a local enterprise that offers disadvantaged women the chance to build a career and drastically improve the livelihoods of themselves and their families.

This will hopefully be the beginning of Wild Frontiers’ involvement in a larger initiative to empower women through tourism across other cities of India.

  • Empowering women from low-income families in Jaipur, India
  • Supporting local enterprise, the Pink City Rickshaw Company
  • Building two new electric rickshaws
  • Training four local ladies to become driver / guides
Find out more

10 Years of the Wild Frontiers Foundation

2019 year marks the10th anniversary of the Wild Frontiers Foundation! Supporting communities that we have the privilege to visit has always been at the heart of the Wild Frontiers ethos.

Since the company’s humble beginnings in 2002, we have contributed to projects in places we've travelled, from landmine clearance in Afghanistan to providing educational materials to rural schools in India.

Taking that commitment a step further, in 2009 we established our own charitable foundation, which has allowed us to raise funds to develop our own initiatives and support grassroots projects through our inspiring charity partners.

In the meantime, here's a snapshot of our work over the past decade and the projects that have benefited from over £100,000 raised, none of which would have been possible without the support of Wild Frontiers' clients.

  • In the past 10 years The Wild Frontiers Foundation has......
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Increase support for charitable projects in Asia

In 2018 Bamboo Travel successfully supported eight charitable projects in Cambodia, Laos, India and Sri Lanka. Our aim for 2019 is to increase the number of projects to 10 and add new experiences in Vietnam & Indonesia.

These projects provide locals with important new skills and a more sustainable income, and they also offer enjoyable experiences for our clients as well, giving them the opportunity to help and support the local communities they visit.

This year our new projects include a cooking class in Hanoi, which provides invaluable training and job opportunities for disadvantaged youths, and a visit to a school in Sri Lanka, which offers vital skills and employment for young adults in Sri Lanka’s under-supported Hill Country community.

We will donate US$10 to one of the following charities for each client booked onto one of these experiences: Bicycles for Girls in Nepal, and a fig-planting program in Borneo. By the end of this pledge’s two year period we hope to have raised $2,000 (200 clients) which will be split between our selected charities.

We are aware that the success of our pledge is very much reliant upon creating awareness of these experiences. Therefore this year we also intend to inspire interest through a sustainable tourism themed newsletter, a series of blog posts and by actively promoting our pledge to clients travelling to one of the above destinations.

We are excited to be supporting new projects and charities this year that we are confident can really make a difference to local people’s lives.

Find out more: https://www.bambootravel.co.uk/pages/responsibletourism

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Engaging with local businesses

Successful sustainable tourism depends on travellers personally engaging in authentic local experiences. Clients return having enjoyed a richer holiday experience and communities gain from direct investment in small businesses and the preservation of traditional crafts. Bearing this in mind Kirker will improve and increase such possibilities in Italy, France and Spain over the coming years.
In 2019 Kirker will focus on implementing this long term goal in Italy, our most important destination. We will update and extend our Guide Notes for Italy, to recommend more locally-run and independently-owned businesses that contribute to the long-term social and cultural fabric of the destination and to communicate better the benefits of sustainable tourism. .
In addition, we will introduce a new weekly walking tour in Florence for all Kirker clients at a subsidised cost to help them discover smaller museums, local restaurants and traditional artisans where authentic crafts, customs and skills are preserved. We will also better promote travel to Italy at off-peak times for more authentic experiences and to help reduce over tourism.
Finally, Kirker will raise more than £10,000 in donations from client events and sponsorship by the end of 2019 for charities, including the Venice in Peril Fund which is devoted to the preservation of cultural and social heritage. Kirker is delighted to be able to continue to support local individuals, businesses and charities in our most important destinations. In doing so we aim to raise awareness and encourage more responsible and rewarding travel among our guests.


  • Help visitors to engage with authentic local experiences
  • Promote local businesses: bars, restaurants and shops
  • Subsidised walking tours with local experts
  • Raise a minimum of £10,000 for charity to support conservation
Find out more

Promoting the Protection and Preservation of Natural Landscapes in the UK - Our 2019 AITO Protect Pledge

In 2019 Absolute Escapes have chosen to focus on becoming a more environmentally conscientious tour operator by introducing comprehensive sustainability policies for our employees and promoting sustainable practices to our clients.

More specifically, we aim to create a comprehensive Sustainability Policy covering all areas of our business for each member of our team to actively engage with. We will also promote sustainable tourism practices in communication with clients prior to their holiday (approx. 1000 clients per annum) as well as through our social media channels.

In order to further highlight our commitment to sustainable tourism, we will continue our work with the John Muir Trust, dedicating 30 volunteer days to the Trust; organise a monthly litter pick-up in the green-areas of Edinburgh, our hometown; and our staff will also pick up litter on their trips outside the office. We will also participate in a charity fund-raising event in aid of Venture Scotland (www.venturescotland.org.uk), aiming to raise £500 for them to improve the lives of young people in Scotland by teaching them outdoor skills to help with their personal development.

The promotion of the protection and preservation of natural landscapes in the UK is important to us as we benefit directly from the natural beauty of our surroundings. It will benefit our clients and destinations by protecting the landscapes that they visit on their holidays with us.

We hope that by engaging in these promises and promoting them to our clients we will encourage further interest and discussion on conservation.

  • Create a comprehensive sustainability policy
  • Promote sustainable tourism practices with our clients
  • Continue our work with the John Muir Trust
  • Monthly litter-picking activities
  • Fund-raise for Venture Scotland
Find out more