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.

Improving employment opportunities for women with Explore Leader training

Here at Explore we know that our leaders have a huge impact on our customers’ experiences and really help to make their trips memorable. We currently have a lot more male leaders than we do female. We asked our local agents and female leaders in Burma and Vietnam what obstacles they face in becoming a leader or employing female leaders.
Explore want to break the stereotype that women cannot become tour leaders, we want to challenge the status quo by empowering and encouraging women in tour leader roles. Our goal by the end of 2017 is to have at least 9 females attend Explore training altogether in India, Vietnam and Sri Lanka, to help improve awareness and equality. We will do this by building on our strong relationships with our local agents and engaging with local stakeholders.
Last year Explore trained 282 new leaders and of those only 88 were female. We want women to know that they have equal rights in the tourism industry and especially within Explore; they will have the same pay, the same training and the same support which male leaders receive.
An increase in female trainees will change the way women are perceived by our male leader trainees. This in turn will influence local guides and drivers to show more equality. Our customers will be able to witness and benefit from this positive shift when they travel with us on these tours in the future. They will be proud to travel with tour operator who is helping to promote equal opportunity.

  • Last year Explore trained 282 new leaders and of those only 88 were female.
  • Our goal by the end of 2017 is to have at least 9 females attend Explore training altogether in India, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
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Keep Hydrated

“Keep Hydrated”. This is the key piece of advice our Tour Leaders and guides from Journey Latin America provide to our customers. Whether it is in the humid tropics of Central America, the windswept plains of Patagonia or the high altitude plains of the Andes having a filled water bottle close to hand is a simple and effective way to keeping healthy and alert while on tour. The knock on affect of this is that numerous bottles of mineral water are bought and consumed daily considering the water from the tap is not drinkable. This in turn leads to huge amounts of plastic waste which, as widely reported, has reached critical levels for the environment.
Journey Latin America want to combat this by offering our group tour passengers the opportunity to purchase a Water Bottle with an extremely effective water filtration system at a 50% discount. We will monitor the impact by asking our tour leaders to note how many bottles of water would otherwise have been used. We envisage that every customer taking one of these bottles with them on tour will mean on average 10 less bottles bought and discarded per person per trip. We hope to reach at least 80% of our group tour passengers (approximately 600 clients) in the first year of the pledge and then expand the initiative to include our passengers on Tailor Made trips, of which we book over 2,000 a year. We feel this is an effective and tangible way of reducing the plastic waste in the continent we care so deeply about while also including our customers in the fight against the polluting of these incredible destinations.

  • - We want to help reduce plastic waste from discarded water bottles in all of our destinations
  • - The program involves everyone from our clients, tour leaders and office staff with the aim to also include our suppliers.
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Our AITO Project Protect pledge 2017

The Mountain Company pledge is as follows: Collecting at least 120kg of rubbish/ trash in the Himalaya and Karakoram during 2017.

At The Mountain Company we want to go further by picking up rubbish/ trash found along the trekking trails and around the campsites.

In 2017, we will ask each of our groups to pick up at least four sacks of rubbish during their Himalayan trek. Each sack will weigh approximately 1kg so each group will have a target of 4kg of rubbish to collect. During 2017 our thirty groups travelling to Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan and India will therefore pick up a total of at least 120kg of litter.

  • We have received client feedback that rubbish is a problem
  • By picking up litter this activity will make the environment cleaner and will help to maintain the natural beauty of the Himalaya
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Encouraging greater communication of sustainability projects on the Davos Klosters website

The community of Klosters takes great pride in its local environment and does a huge amount to protect its mountains, forests, glaciers and wildlife as well as its farming heritage and local traditions. However, they could certainly improve the way they communicate what they are doing to various stakeholders such as tourists, local businesses and other interested parties. We believe that many visitors to Klosters would be genuinely interested to know the action that is being taken to preserve the charm and character of this lovely ski resort. Indeed, by making this information more readily available they will foster greater engagement with their stakeholders which could lead to further funding and support for their initiatives.


PT Ski will work closely with Klosters to encourage them to promote their sustainability activities more widely. We aim to inspire them to dedicate a section of the Davos Klosters website detailing their successes in taking care of the local environment and outlining their plans for the future by the end of 2018. Once online we will link this section of their website to our own and would be delighted to share future successes on our own social media platforms and newsletters. In future, we also aim to pick one or two of the initiatives that are mentioned and to support them either financially or in other ways because we love the village of Klosters and want to help in any way we can to preserve and support this wonderful place. We know that our guests will be delighted to know that by coming on holiday with us they are helping preserve the destination.

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Love Cape Town

Africa Collection has been dealing with South Africa as a tourist destination for 20+ years. We have seen this amazing country develop, and visitor numbers steadily increase. However, in many areas, social & economic transformation has been slower than anticipated. Africa Collection is partnering with Uthando (meaning Love) in Cape Town, a non-profit organisation that supports an amazing collection of innovative and inspiring community development projects. In 2017 we will donate £5 000 to work with an exciting youth initiative:

PingOut
Also referred to as street or outdoor ping-pong, PingOut is more than simply ping-pong! The PingOut project is based on the idea of bringing social togetherness, physical activity, design and art into the public space. We aim to provide 5 x 1.2 ton ping-pong tables - fully manufactured, delivered and installed (by a civil engineer).

During your stay in Cape Town you can join one of Uthando's authentic, uplifting and fun day tours, visiting the community projects which Uthando is working with and supporting - and by doing so you are also making a donation, as part of the tour price. The focus of the tour is to visit interesting, innovative and inspiring community development projects, and at the same time helping these wonderful initiatives continue with their efforts. 'Pack For a Cause' is a project whereby we will also advise you what you can bring and donate when visiting the community projects.

  • Bringing Ping Pong to the community in Cape Town
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Carbon Neutral holidays to protect our destinations

In 2017 as part of our AITO PROTECT project, Scandinavian Travel introduced carbon neutral holidays and offset 181 tonnes of carbon. Following a successful launch, from July 2018 we will become the first Scandinavian specialist Tour Operator to exclusively provide carbon neutral holidays.

Scandinavia has a reputation as an environmentally responsible region, and as specialists in this area Scandinavian Travel wanted to make similar commitments to the environment and climate. There is a significant carbon footprint associated with travel, especially greenhouse gas emissions from air travel, and limiting the footprint of our customers continues to be an appropriate pledge for us.

This year we aim to offset 500 tonnes of carbon by covering the cost to offset the per person carbon footprint in all our holiday packages. As in 2017, offsetting will be through two accredited projects, but this year we are letting our customers choose the second project we donate to. Voting will take place in July through an online poll sent out to our customer database by email and social media. This year we aim to raise awareness of our pledge internally and externally.

Our carbon neutral holidays provide Scandinavian Travel customers with an effortless way of travelling responsibly in Scandinavia. By delivering carbon neutral products we are directly contributing to the fight against global climate change. This directly benefits our destinations and will help protect the winter sports industry for future generations. Scandinavian Travel clients can be proud to book and travel with a responsible Tour Operator.

  • http://www.scandinavian-travel.co.uk/carbon-neutral-holidays
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My AITO Protect pedge

Adventure Alternative is dedicated to sharing the benefits of tourism with our local staff and companies, and we are well known for being responsible and fair as well as professional and fun. We believe in compassionate leadership.

  • We empower our staff through training and working together and we invest in their future.
  • Each local Adventure Alternative company receives financial support and training. We will be investing £2000 in training for around 50 staff.
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New Lifeline

Nomadic Thoughts are the UK office of New Lifeline - supporting vulnerable people through social, health and education programmes.

  • We are proud to continue working with and supporting a variety of sustainability projects across Mexico and Guatemala.
  • http://nomadicthoughts.com/speak-to-an-expert/sustainable-tourism/new-lifeline/
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Tap & Recap - Join our Filtered Water BottleCampaign

As a part of Wild Frontiers traveller code we are asking our travellers to consider using refillable, filtered water bottles while on holiday to help reduce the ever growing problem of plastic water bottle waste across the planet.

  • A million plastic bottles are purchased every minute
  • Efforts to recycle this amount of plastic are struggling to keep up.
  • Read more
  • https://www.wildfrontierstravel.com/en_GB/filtered-water-bottles
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India Solar Water Heating

Martin Randall Travel is proud to now support the India Solar Water Heating project through its carbon offset scheme.

  • This project provides in-house hot water supplies fueled by renewable energy to homes, community buildings and small to medium-sized businesses throughout India.
  • We are partnered with this project through the organisation Carbon Neutral.
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