AITO: The Association of Independent Tour Operators

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.

Pintando El Cambio project

Pintando El Cambio project uses art to lift spirits, preserve traditions and generate much-needed tourism in Santa Catarina, Guatemala. This year Journey Latin America raised funds for six of the 400 houses painted with Mayan traditional designs.

  • This is a project that we could tangibly see was lifting the spirits of a town by using art. We at JLA have a long term and deep rooted affiliation and affection for the people and traditions of Guatemala.
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Supporting the start of sustainable businesses around the world (2019)

In 2019 Explore’s pledge will focus on boosting our Start-up-Fund programme, something that we are very passionate about and proud of. The aim of this fund is to enable local people in the countries we visit, and care about, to start sustainable, self-sufficient and reliable businesses. Since its launch in 2016, this initiative helped eight businesses to get off the ground. They include purchasing looms for women’s’ cooperatives in Morocco, a vertical garden project in Cambodia and a bike repair shop with apprentice scheme in Tanzania.

In 2019 we aim to grow the Start-up-Fund by supporting three more projects. We will fund these with £3,000 raised by commission from the sale of Water-to-Go filtered bottles to our customers (15% per purchase) and by Explore’s Responsible Business Forum budget.

In August we will ask our local agents around the world to nominate brand new business ideas or small, grass-roots start-ups that need a boost of funding. The ideas must be sustainable and be able to continue to flourish without continued financial support. The winners will be announced in September and communicated in customer publications, on our social media channels and the specific charities page of Explore’s website. In some locations there will be opportunities for our customers to visit the projects and see the benefit to local communities.

  • Our Start-up-Fund has a sustainable impact on the livelihoods of the communities our trips visit, reaching beyond the recipients by providing inspiration, skills training and job opportunities.
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Complete the requirements to achieve a Travelife Partnership at the end of 2019.

At Audley we have always been focused on traveling the right way, but we have not always been good at communicating this to clients and staff. We decided the best way to address this challenge was to work towards a Travelife Partnership, which we started in 2017. Travelife ( is an international sustainability certification guiding travel companies to meet high environmental, social and economics impact standards.

In 2019, we pledge to complete our Travelife partnership by implementing our Audley Travel Sustainability policy stating our sustainability commitments across the business. In addition, we will publish our 2019 Sustainability report informing clients and staff on our sustainability achievement this year and commitments for the following year. Working toward our partnership has helped us to improve across the board and record our social and environmental impact. This will create a solid base on which to build our future vision.

Upon completion we will share our Sustainability Policy with our clients and staff to hold ourselves accountable going forward. An intrinsic part of the Travelife partnership is ensuring we work hard to educate clients and staff on how they can help us on our journey to even more sustainable and responsible travel in the years to come.

For more information on our pledge please contact Audley Travel’s Responsible Travel and Sustainability Manager, Heather Magnussen.

  • - Sign up for a Travelife Partnership
  • -Work across the business to alter the way we worked to meet the Travelife guidelines
  • - Submit application to be approved for a partnership
  • -Annual check ins to maintain partnership status
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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
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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.
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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.
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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
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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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