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.

Supporting social enterprise and environmental conservation initiatives in Cambodia

For our 2019 AITO Project PROTECT pledge we will therefore focus on one of our most important and much-loved destinations – Cambodia. We will expand our support for grassroots initiatives in Cambodia by promoting simple but positive changes in our holiday itineraries.

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To help combat litter and promote the reduction of single-use plastics in Morocco and further afield

In 2019 KE Adventure Travel is focusing on reducing litter and single-use plastics in Morocco. We’ve seen first-hand and heard from clients that litter is a significant problem there and want to ensure we leave no trace when we travel there and help combat the issue too.

This year we will arrange 2 unique departures for 2020 on our Edge of the Sahara Trek. This will involve using 2 extra camels so we can responsibly bring back litter collected by clients. Our aim will be for each client to collect 1 kilo, so that for 2 full trips with 12 pax each we will collect 24 kilos from the Sahara desert in total. If successful we will run these special departures each year.

We also want to continue to develop our project from last year by providing our leaders in KE's top 10 destinations, with 10 free Water-to-Go bottles per country. Leaders can then reliably access clean water and lead by example for our clients. We’re going to get clients involved and make this sustainable by giving them the option to buy a KE branded Water-to-Go bottle at a discounted rate, whereby one filter is donated for a guide. In the next 6 months we aim to sell 125 Water-to-Go bottles generating the same amount of filters for the guides.

  • Our customers will benefit greatly from both projects as they’ll contribute directly to the issue and give back to an area they love to visit.
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Supporting the start of sustainable businesses around the world

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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Creating a formal Responsible Travel Programme to raise awareness about projects that Dragoman Overland support.

Dragoman Overland has supported a number of responsible travel projects for many years but has not promoted these effectively in the past or sought donations from their passengers to support them. In April 2019 we therefore created “Dragoman Supports”, a formal entity to raise awareness with our clients and which will enable them to visit these projects and then make direct donations via a new web system.

In 2019 we will have this new system up and running and ready for clients to make donations to projects included in Dragoman Supports. Over the coming year we will aim to involve a minimum of 500 customers in these tours and we aim for a minimum of 250 clients to make a £2 donation which will raise £1,000.

Dragoman Supports currently includes a total of 21 projects. These projects are either supported financially by Dragoman or are visited on specific tours by our passengers. Each project is selected on the basis that it invests in the community by providing employment and training for local people and enables our passengers to participate and increase their awareness of sustainability and responsible travel. making a direct positive impact by taking part.

To find out more about Dragoman Supports or to make a donation go to the Responsible Travel pages on the Dragoman website or donate using our booking system at the time of booking.

  • Dragoman Supports has a mission to
  • Support local communities
  • protect the environment we travel through
  • assist wildlife conservation work particularly with endangered species
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Transforming the lives of families living on the shores of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala through art.

Helping the village of Santa Catalina, on the shores of Lake Atitlan , by supporting the Pintando Project which aims to change the lives of the community through thoughtful street art linked to Maya tradition.

  • . Make as much money as possible for the project !
  • . Help promote the project by introducing as many people as possible to this vibrant destination.
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Protecting Scotland's marine life

At McKinlay Kidd we recognise that Scotland’s coastal environment is as fragile as it is breath-taking. We understand the importance of protecting this environment and those that live in it for future generations.

  • • Reduce the impact of tourism on the marine environment through education
  • • Inform people travelling to the Hebrides about the need for marine life protection
  • • Promote the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust
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Leading by example to reduce plastics in InsideAsia Tours offices and destinations

Implement initiatives to reduce plastics in offices and destinations for the benefit of the environment.

  • Reducing plastic use in our offices.
  • Encouraging tour leaders and staff on FAM trips to lead by example.
  • Empowering our clients to reduce their plastic use by giving them language tools to refuse plastic and to prepare them in advance.
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Cyclone Kenneth Relief

Mozambique, is a beautiful country that we at Africa Collection are proud to have worked with for many
years. We understand the necessity to help protect and develop the destination, especially after the recent natural disasters that have had devastating effects and will continue to have long-term impacts.

In 2019 we have therefore chosen to work with the two organisations that are already helping to rebuild this beautiful country.

Firstly, we aim to raise £1,000.00 through fundraising this year for the Disaster Emergency Committe (DEC). This money will go specifically towards their Cyclone Idai Appeal to deliver relief such as emergency shelter kits, food, water purification tablets and urgent healthcare to the affected areas.

We also aim to raise £5,000.00 for a project of the Nema Foundation in Northern Mozambique which helps rebuild the communities washed away by Cyclone Kenneth. To raise this money we will double every £5.00 donation made by a client on a booking to raise the total donated from each booking to £15.00. We will also carry out further fundraising activities such as a raffle and a sponsored walk. The Nema Foundation work to equip rural communities to sustainably eradicate poverty in their villages by creating projects that overlap and reinforce each other, creating stronger foundations for continued development.

The money Africa Collection raises will be vital for completely rebuilding communities and helping them to get back on their feet and continue to thrive. If you would like to further support this cause, please donate here:

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    Reducing single-use plastic bottles on our tours and festivals.

    In 2019, Martin Randall Travel are starting a new initiative to reduce the number of single-use plastic water bottles distributed on our tours and festivals. Currently, we provide these bottles on coach travel for all clients on our tours. In 2019 so far, this amounts to 27,472 bottles.

    This year,however, we aim to reduce this by 12% percent thus saving 3,333 single-use bottles. We will do this by asking all clients travelling on select tours from June 2019 onwards to bring a reusable water bottle or purchase a Water-to-Go bottle, particularly useful for destinations where tap water isn’t drinkable, instead of providing plastic bottles on coaches. We will then roll out the initiative across our global destinations with the aim to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles on all tours by 2021.

    By partnering with Water-to-Go we are able to offer MRT clients a 15% discount when they purchase a bottle. Water-to-Go bottles are built for life, have zero carbon footprint and filter out 99% of bacteria in dirty water. Water-to-Go will also donate 15% of all proceeds to our chosen charity – the India Solar Water Heating project led by Natural Capital Partners, which provides solar water heaters to households in India fuelled by renewable energy.

    By implementing this pledge MRT and its clients will be helping to reduce plastic consumption and waste, thus protecting the wonderful environments we travel through, especially those with limited infrastructure to dispose of plastic waste, and our beautiful oceans.

    More information:

    • Use the code 'MARTINRANDALL' for a 15% discount.
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    Sustaining the Threatened Livelihoods of Sri Lanka's Chauffeur-Guides (2019)

    Experience Travel Group has raised £15,157 in a crowdfunding campaign, to support our freelance chauffeur guides in Sri Lanka whose livelihoods were threatened by the sudden drop in tourism following the bomb attacks of Easter Sunday 2019.

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