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.

Creating a “Wilderness Future Fund”

We love Scotland’s wild places and so do our customers. At Wilderness Scotland we understand the powerful sense of exhilaration and awe that these places can evoke. We also recognise the environmental sensitivity of these places and strive to do everything we can to preserve them for future generations.
In 2017, we plan to build on the success of our past Customer Contribution Scheme and create a “Wilderness Future Fund”. This will be an annual fund created by increasing the voluntary contribution from £5 to £10 per person.
Rather than simply donating the money to a conservation charity and letting them choose how the money is spent Wilderness Scotland want to direct the fund towards specific local environmental and community projects, ensuring that we are closely involved in how, and where, the money is spent.
We pledge to support two projects each year, one environmental and one social. We predict that £6,000 of donations will be available in the first year with increases predicted in following years. Every customer who contributes to the fund in 2017 will therefore be directly helping us to fulfil this pledge.
We plan to support different projects each year and to grow our fund so that over time we can help a variety of projects. Together with our customers, we will be investing in the future of Scotland’s wild places and helping to ensure that future generations can also experience these incredible wild lands.

  • Protecting Scotland's wilderness for future generations.
  • Increasing our voluntary contribution to £10 per person.
  • Creating a fund that can be directed to specific projects.
  • Taking control over how funds are allocated.
Find out more

Protecting Europe’s Butterflies

Amongst the 450+ wildlife holidays that we operate around the world each year, around 20 focus on butterflies. Here in the UK and across the globe the habitats that these endearing insects need are becoming increasingly fragile with constant pressures from the ever-developing world we live in. We want to do our utmost to help protect and manage these habitats which will not only benefit butterflies but the ecosystem as a whole.

In 2017 Naturetrek will invest 10% of all income generated from our butterfly-focused holidays to the charity Butterfly Conservation. This aim in year one is to protect and effectively manage an area of the Chilterns specifically to allow the threatened Duke of Burgundy butterfly to expand its range. This work will greatly reduce the risk of further local extinctions hence ensuring this beautiful butterfly can thrive in this area. We will be funding different projects each year focusing on protecting and correctly managing habitats for different butterfly species, whilst ensuring that under Butterfly Conservation’s expert stewardship a great range of other species will also benefit. Each participant on our butterfly holidays will also receive a year’s membership to the charity, giving them the opportunity for further learning and inspiration on the conservation of butterflies. With this commitment, our Naturetrek customers will be helping to ensure that vital butterfly habitats are protected across the UK and Europe for the enjoyment of all.

  • We are supporting Butterfly Conservation via dedicated butterfly-focused tours.
  • 10% of tour income will be donated to the charity each year.
  • Projects in 2017 include management of The Chilterns for conservation of the Duke of Burgundy.
Find out more

Funding places for four young people on conservation summer camps

Martin Randall Travel is proud to support Action for Conservation. AFC is a UK charity which aims to inspire young people, aged 12–18 and predominantly from deprived areas, to become the next generation of nature conservationists through workshops in UK secondary schools and conservation-focused summer camps. We have chosen to become involved with AFC because we understand the importance of protecting our destinations – so that travellers today and into the future can continue to enjoy them – and that education is a big part of that.

The camps provide an environment in which to focus on conservation issues and solutions, as well as developing social and leadership skills. The ultimate aim is to empower young people to become ‘Ambassadors for Change’, and that they will go on to actively engage with environmental issues and to educate others.

In 2018, Martin Randall Travel aims to work with its clients to raise £3,000 for AFC, which will be enough to send four young people on a camp. We will encourage our clients to donate by offering to match their donations up to our target of £3,000, and by informing them about the difference their donation will make. So as to provide a firm commitment for AFC, we will guarantee at least £1,500. We aim to reach our target by April 2018, so that we can fund spaces on camps in summer 2018.

In addition, we are planning one-off fundraising events such as carol singing at our local tube station, and we will post photographs and videos of these activities on social media and our website so that our clients can follow our progress .

The testimonials and statistics that AFC have shown us regarding the impact of their camps are incredibly impressive and show that these camps can really be life-changing experiences for these young people. As we continue our involvement with the charity, we hope to be able to demonstrate the impact that donations from us and our customers have made.

  • Action for Conservation is a UK-based charity, which runs conservation summer camps and workshops for young people.
  • Martin Randall Travel is aiming to fund four summer camp places in 2018.
Find out more

2017 Pledge - Expert Africa’s travellers helping the Big 5.

Seeing the ‘Big 5’ is one of the main reasons our travellers want to go to Africa. Rhinos are one of the most iconic species of the 5 but some species are critically endangered.

Expert Africa wants to play its part in conserving this incredible animal by working with Save the Rhino. We also aim to bring benefits to those living alongside these magnificent animals.
In 2017, we will begin a partnership with Little Indaba, a women’s group in Lusaka, Zambia that produces and sells organic cotton animal toys. A selection of these are sold via Save the Rhino and a percentage of the sales support rhino conservation locally and globally.
Expert Africa pledges £5,000 to help financially support Little Indaba. We will also contribute our time, in terms of business expertise and marketing support. We aim to help grow the group’s business sustainably, enabling them to reach more local women. Ultimately, this will raise more funds for the women themselves and more investments for Save the Rhino’s vital conservation work.

We also pledge to make a financial contribution of around £15,000 throughout 2018 to community-based projects linked with different aspects of conservation in Botswana, Namibia and Tanzania, which are some of the countries most visited by our travellers.

We will actively promote these projects to our travellers, online and via social media. Increasing our own knowledge of conservation efforts in our key destinations will enable us to provide a better service, and also play a part in safeguarding the preservation of these wonderful species.

    Find out more

    Supporting the Education for All programme with ChemU in Uganda

    We work with the Kate Farrer Foundation to support their partnership with ChemU in Uganda - an education for all programme which is very close to our hearts. As well as ad hoc help, we sponsor five young people to complete their secondary education as part of this programme. Promise is one of these young people - here she is with her father, receiving an award for her excellent performance in primary school. With our help she started secondary school in 2017.

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      Bushbaby as a Family-Friendly Employer

      Bushbaby is all about family values. We might be small but our family-friendly work practices are streets ahead of many larger companies and we offer the kind of flexibility that most parents dream of. Our friendly, supportive team enjoy working from a rural office.

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        Supporting the Provision of Personal Care Kits to 100 Girls at Twabuka Community School, Zambia

        As a family specialist tour operator, Bushbaby loves creating experiences that inspire lifelong memories. Our values of love, integrity, family and enrichment put responsible tourism at the heart of what we do and a natural focus for us is access to education. We work with many lodges that are owned by or which support their local community, especially youth programmes. We are promoting Waterberry Lodge in Zambia and particularly value their community schooling focus. In 2017/18, in partnership with the lodge, we will be working on a menstrual health project which will directly benefit girls in Grade 5 and above at Twabuka Commmunity School. Lack of modern sanitary wear and cultural taboos around periods have led to girls missing school. By providing 100 girls with a kit, composing eco-friendly, reusable and washable sanitary pads as well as underwear and information on puberty and self-care, the aim is to improve school attendance amongst this demographic. Each kit will cost £20 to buy and last at least 2 years. Bushbaby will help produce literature to support the roll-out and will contribute a multi-pack of underwear for each kit. We plan to visit the project and encourage clients staying at the lodge to find out more, visit the school and ‘pack to protect’ as well as sharing updates through our newsletters and website.

        We love introducing new destinations to our clients and by choosing Bushbaby they in turn demonstrate support for our shared values, sustainable tourism and meaningful community engagement.

          Find out more

          Teach the Children - Our AITO Project Protect Pledge

          In 2017/18 Just Grenada will harness the generosity of its customers to provide educational aid for children in the Caribbean. We have been doing this in an informal way for a number of years by asking clients to donate particular items suitable for use by underprivileged children through the "Pack for a Purpose" initiative.
          This year we want additionally to set up our own scheme to ensure that our clients' support is targeted in a more specific way and directed where it will be most effective.
          We will identify one educational establishment in a deprived area in Grenada and another in Bequia and we will ask each head teacher to prepare a costed "wish list" of essential supplies and educational aids that the particular school requires. We will then ask each person who books with us to make a donation towards this fund. Just Grenada will add at least £10 of our own to each donation to help boost the fund still further.
          We hope the scheme will produce between £3000-4000 each year.
          The total amount will then be divided between the establishments we have chosen according to a percentage proportion which will correlate with the turnover we achieve in each island.
          We will ask for confirmation of what has been purchased for the children including photos and feedback from the schools.
          We at Just Grenada will keep our clients informed of the progress by posting news and pictures of what is being achieved in each establishment on our website and social media and we will continue to support "Pack for a Purpose"

          • In Grenada we will support Samaritan Presbyterian School in St Mark's parish plus the Grenada Community Library in the capital St George's.
          • In Bequia we will also support the Sunshine School of Bequia.
          Find out more

          KE Adventure are raising £5,000 in 2017 to help rebuild Nepal

          Nepal is one of KE Adventure Travel’s top destinations. Our customers love to travel there! It is also a place close to our hearts, so when it was hit by the devastating earthquake in April 2015 we wanted to do all we could to help this remarkable country get back on its feet. We asked our clients for donations and had an amazing response, raising £165,000 with which we built 10 new schools through The Juniper Trust.
          Now just over 2 years later Nepal is no longer in the headlines but it is still in need of our help. Our pledge for 2017 is therefore to raise at least £5,000 to put towards school maintenance and the continuous requests for educational items so that we can continue to help provide the young children with the best schooling possible. By helping to teach them we are contributing towards a better future for Nepal and its subsequent generations.
          We hope to achieve this by doing the following:

          • empowering our customers with the option to forgo their free gift and to choose a donation to the Juniper Trust.
          • involving our clients in this objective, so that the value of their holiday experience has been increased.
          Find out more

          Sharing the Adventure Travel Experience With Children From Zimbabwe

          About 10 years ago Oasis Overland’s Director was delivering surplus blankets to a children’s home in Zimbabwe. He went to the wrong Home by mistake -one for older children that received very little outside support. Whilst there he got talking to the staff – this was the start of what turned out to be a great relationship.
          Over the years we realised that many of the children in the home very rarely leave the compound and this formed the basis of an idea. As a company we have our own Expedition vehicles and drivers. Why not use our assets to open up the world a little bit for these children?
          This year we will use our vehicles and crew to take all 100 children and home staff on a day trip – to a local game reserve. Oasis Overland will provide vehicles, fuel, staff, insurances and general logistics and we will end the event with a big party for the children. We have also formed a partnership with Responsibletravel.com who will fund entrance fees and lunch through their ‘Trip for a Trip’ scheme. If the partnership is a success we hope to expand it to another of our destinations next year. Every client that books a trip with us this year will indirectly be contributing to this trip for these young people. We are also going to ask our clients travelling in Zimbabwe to donate to new play equipment for the children. We know that this trip will leave the children with lasting positive memories and a real sense of excitement in the build up to the day, and the day itself.

          • A few days before Christmas 2017 we will take all the children and staff out for a day trip to a Rhino and Wildlife Conservation area, ending the trip with a big party!
          • The children and staff are already aware and excited about the trip!
          Find out more