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.

Helping rural families in India to be water self-sufficient

In 2018/2019 TransIndus pledges to help build roof rainwater harvesting systems in villages in Rajasthan. These rural communities face drought forcing women and children to walk over two kilometres in a desperate search for water. Rajasthan is a location which has given us and our clients a vast array of enriching experiences over the years and we want to give something back to these wonderful communities.

We will help protect these communities by providing them with safer, cleaner and sustainable water by installing rainwater harvesting systems for five households in rural villages. We will do this in cooperation with the charity “Water Harvest” which has already installed 112 of these systems working with one village at a time.

This year, Water Harvest aim to install 50 new systems. Each one costs approximately £300 including material costs, building work, support, education and maintenance. Each of the five systems TransIndus helps install will be funded entirely from company profits. We are proud to be supporting this work and helping to change the lives of these villagers for the better.

In addition to the above funds, we aim to involve our customers in the project. We encourage them to visit some of the villages to see the systems being built, to contribute in person by offering expertise and support or to donate money towards the installation of further rain water harvesting tanks.

To learn more about the project and how you can make a difference

  • In 2018 TransIndus worked with “Water Harvest” to fund five water harvest systems for five families in remote villages in Rajasthan and Gujarat, India, thus providing them with sources of safe, clean and sustainable water.
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Reducing single-use plastics and encouraging the use of reusable items

Plastic waste is becoming an increasing problem in travel. In 2018 KE want to help prevent this and ensure sites remain beautiful for all to enjoy by making an official commitment to reducing single-use plastics and by encouraging the use of other reusable items.

We will educate clients on the effects of using non-reusable items. Our kit-lists and pre trip information will remind all of their clients to take their own water bottle and a non-plastic reusable bag. We will begin to establish links with companies who provide alternatives to single-use products so we can provide a customer discount and empower them to buy reusable items.

We will also inform our ground agents that reducing single-use plastic is a priority and work with them to resolve any issues surrounding this. We want 70% of agents to agree to stop providing single-use plastic bottles on their trips within the year. This will prevent the use of around 10000 plastic bottles.

Finally, we want to start lead by example at our HQ. New guidelines and access to discounts will persuade at least 70% of our 34 members of staff to use alternatives for plastic bottles and single-use coffee cups. We will also take part in at least one local litter pick, starting with The Great Cumbrian Litter Pick, and better promote our efforts to protect the planet by improving our responsible travel web pages.

  • In 2018 KE Adventure Travel made an official commitment to reducing single-use plastics by contacting 118 agents worldwide to combat the problem, forming a partnership with Water-to-Go, educating clients and assessing and reducing our impa
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Backing initiatives for local people and the environment

Here at Bamboo Travel we care deeply about the countries in which we operate. There are a number of worthwhile projects already being run in these destinations which support the sustainable tourism ethos. Our aim is to create a range of travel experiences incorporating these projects, which our clients can add to their tailor-made tour.

In 2018 we will introduce two experiences from four of our main destinations. In Cambodia we selected a tuk-tuk foodie tour of Siem Reap which supports training restaurants for underprivileged young adults, and in India, clients will be able to take part in a walking tour of Delhi conducted by former street kids. Similar projects will also be chosen for Laos and Sri Lanka. These tours, many run by not-for-profit organisations, invest in the community by providing employment and training for local people, and our clients can make a direct impact by taking part.

By the end of the year we will have eight experiences in total, which will be detailed on our new Sustainable Tourism webpage along with information on how clients can get involved and how they can make a difference.

We are aiming for a minimum of 100 clients to take part in these tours over the coming year. In addition to this, for every Sustainable Tourism experience booked, we will donate $10 per person to the Safe Haven Children’s Charity in Cambodia, a project we have supported for a number of years. This will generate an additional $1,000 in donations.

  • In 2018 Bamboo Travel booked 69 people onto 8 sustainable experiences in 4 countries across Asia, thereby increasing support for several worthwhile projects, while also raising US$690 for a children’s charity in Cambodia.
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Supporting Social Enterprise in Asia One Meal At A Time (2017)

At Experience Travel Group we are passionate about crafting truly experiential holidays that allow clients to get under the skin of a destination. We believe that understanding a culture comes through learning about the history, getting to know the people and, of course, trying delicious local food.

Across Southeast Asia, there are innovative social enterprises that support vulnerable young people by helping them build a career in hospitality. The restaurants of Inle Heritage in Myanmar, Streets in Vietnam and Friends in Cambodia sponsor marginalised youth in their respective communities to enter comprehensive training programmes. These restaurants not only protect people by investing in their future but preserve the heritage of their local communities by producing authentic, traditional cuisine.

Our pledge is, therefore, to help these inspiring organisations flourish by organising 150 client visits to their restaurants by the end of 2017. Each client who visits will positively contribute to this worthy cause simply by enjoying a delicious local meal. In the organisations’ own words, the best way to support them is by visiting, learning and spreading the word. Watching the testimonies of former students, it is clear that these projects enabled them to support their families and achieve their ambitions.
We believe that this is a collaborative, sustainable and tasty way to support local businesses with a powerful social impact.

  • We are proud to say that we have been successful in our pledge to book 150 meals at social enterprise restaurants in Asia. As experiential holiday specialists, it was imperative to have an insightful experience at the heart of our pledge.
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Raising funds to train Mountain Guides in Tanzania

Discover Adventure funds a place each year for a budding porter, in Tanzania, to receive a recognised qualification in Tour Guiding and Wildlife Management from the Udzungwa Mountain College Trust.

At Discover Adventure, we care personally about investing in the countries we visit and contributing to the local economy. Our founders, Jonathan and Jane Bryan are passionate about giving back in a tangible way and have many friends amongst guides and operators in Tanzania. Without them we couldn't operate the challenges you love.

By funding a porter to receive training we not only provide a future guide for our groups, but also help them to support their family, raise their career prospects and enable their deeper understanding of sustainable and responsible tourism.

In 2018 we will be sponsoring two young porters, Amos and Elineka. Both have worked on the Mountain for 6-7 years. Elineka is our first female porter to be sponsored.

The 18 month long course is designed to enable studying whilst continuing to earn an income, however the course cost of Tsh2,720,000 is a huge amount for a porter to raise.

By donating just £10 you will directly contribute towards enabling Amos and Elineka to become qualified. Next time you visit Tanzania you may meet one of them or another guide, whose training you have helped fund and hear about the positive difference this training has made to their lives.

You can make your donation when booking on our website or by calling our office on 01722 718444.

  • Investing in local education and economy
  • Supporting environmentally friendly and sustainable tourism
  • Promoting gender equality
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Picking up rubbish from the trails of the Himalaya (2018)

In 2018 the Mountain Company’s groups removed 320kg (average 1.6kg per person) of rubbish from the Himalaya. We have also incorporated rubbish collection and disposal into our standard operating procedures for our destinations of Nepal and Bhutan.

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Saying NO to single use plastic bottles

In many of the destinations we visit, we find the land and waterways littered with plastic bottles. At Dragoman Overland we are committed to the reduction of plastic waste and we actively encourage our customers to use refillable water bottles and the drinking water supplied on our trucks. However, we also wish to reduce the number of plastic bottles purchased by our clients, when away from the truck, by offering our clients the opportunity to purchase a Water-to-Go bottle at a discounted price. This bottle has a filtration system, thus enabling our clients to have access to clean potable water when away from the truck without adding to plastic pollution within the destination.

By the end of 2018, we will ensure that all 80 of our crew and office staff are issued with WTG bottles so they can actively encourage our clients to purchase these bottles for use on our trips. We will also highlight the benefits of these reusable bottles on our website, in our confirmation emails to our clients and in our newsletters.
We will monitor the number of bottles purchased and estimate that each bottle purchased will save on average at least three disposable water bottles per trip week. It is our aim that 5% of our clients will purchase WTG bottles annually.

We hope that these measures will help out clients to continue to refuse to purchase water in single use plastic bottles on their future travels, thus reducing the amount of plastic waste that is created.

  • Reduced waste of single use bottles
  • Allows access to clean potable water
  • Discount available through Dragoman website of 25% off
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LATA Foundation

Journey Latin America currently supports The LATA Foundation, a UK-based charity that supports grassroots social and environmental projects throughout Latin America. These projects are carefully chosen and always aim to relieve poverty through sustainable development and environmental conservation. Over the past 10 years the Foundation has upheld this aim through a number of different initiatives. Projects supported include the provision of clean drinking water fountains to schools around Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, free dental care for hundreds of children in the ‘villas’ of Buenos Aires and the planting of more than 30,000 native trees in the Sacred Valley of Peru by local communities. The Foundation is also able to support emergency relief to affected areas through working with trusted local organisations.

  • The projects are usually located in areas where tourism is high and fall into four categories:
  • Education and training
  • Health
  • Community development
  • Conservation
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AITO Protect Pledge

Undiscovered Destinations is supporting Fonkoze, Haiti’s leading microfinance institution, to help empower Haitians—primarily women—to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. We aim to raise $1,500 during 2018 that will directly support their ‘Staircase Out of Poverty’ initiative, a comprehensive, four step approach uniquely designed to provide women with the resources and support needed to ascend from poverty. More information on the four steps is all available at

Undiscovered Destinations decided on this pledge because it aligns with our business values and Haiti is a country we have very close links with. By helping us to make this donation, our customers will be able to assist people like Saincia on their journey out of poverty. Read about Saincia climb up the staircase here

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    Tackling plastic bottles – one sip at a time

    Travelling in more remote and unspoilt places often means not being able to drink the local water, so travellers often rely on bottled water. While this can be inexpensive and readily available, many destinations don’t have recycling programmes and as such are left with vast amounts of plastic waste that is either sent to landfill or strewn about the countryside.

    This is an issue that concerns RWH’s clients and staff because who wants to see a natural beauty spot blighted by litter? So, to help matters we have teamed up with a UK based company called Water to Go to promote the use of a re-usable filtered water bottle that allows travellers to safely drink from local sources without creating more plastic waste. In 2017/18 we aim to sell 1000 reusable bottles at a discounted price. By using one of these filtered bottles on a week holiday, one person alone could save between 14-21 plastic bottles. With every 100 reusable bottles sold, that’s between 1400-2100 bottles!

    We will highlight the benefits of these reusable bottles to our clients by providing information at the Adventure Show, Destinations, 50+ travel shows, in over 55 000 brochure mailings and on our website. Water to Go will make a donation to our own staff led charity, Heart & Sole, for each bottle sold. We will then use these funds to support projects around the world, such as a school breakfast club in St Lucia and providing needed items to an orphanage in Costa Rica.

    • In 2017 and 18 RHW sold around 1300 filter water bottles providing safe drinking water for travellers without adding to the plastic mountain and in doing so raised £2000 for a variety of social projects around the world.
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