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.

Equipping our Mountain guides and staff correctly

This sounds completely logical - and it is - but we take the responsibility to equip our mountain staff in Kenya, Nepal, Tanzania and Russia with good quality mountaineering clothing and equipment.

  • We provide soft shell jackets, waterproof jackets, base layers, hats, gloves and climbing kit if necessary
  • Porters get Tshirts, sweatshirts, hats, socks and gloves, waterproofs.
  • The kit gets re-purchased every two years on average
Find out more

Guide Training for our Sherpa staff

We invest in our staff and Lopsang Sherpa is a good example of someone wanting to become a guide but needing the backing of a sponsor
We pay for his professional development during the off season

  • Nepal is a member of the UIAGM, and their international guide courses cost several thousand pounds and takes years to complete
  • As our employee, we commit to each other. He to his job and we to his career
  • Loyal staff = sustainable company
Find out more

Mattresses in Porters Lodges in the Khumbu

Every year we donate ~ 300 mattresses to the six porters lodges in the Khumbu Valley near Everest. Some come from our big expeditions, some are bought.
A mattress is about £18.00.
Great way of doing the right thing in a simple way!

  • Porters accommodation is great but the lodges are mostly empty, people need to keep warm and cook food
  • Blankets, mattresses, cooking stoves - basic requirements for sustainable living!
  • Happy staff = happy trips = reputation = sustainable
Find out more

Blue Line Hotel on slopes of Mount Kenya

A great rural hotel run by the effervescent Mama Nyokabi. We use it for all our treks and safaris on Mt Kenya. Fifteen years ago we brought her business and invested, and now she is a well known entrepreneur and the hotel is sustainable.

  • We provided route to market & advice
  • Hotel now a solid enterprise with positive social impact and hub of activity
  • Community developed out of poverty
  • Classic example of equality, collaboration and social entrepreneurship
  • Clients love it!
Find out more

Investing in Sherpa Social Entrepreneurs and Village Co-operatives

In partnership with our Moving Mountains NGO, we invest in facilities in the mountain villages where our guides and porters live.
Working together and harnessing tourism money, there is now long term improved quality of life.

  • Construction of a micro-hydro power plant to bring electricity
  • Buying milling machines to invest in businesses
  • Clean piped water supply to 66 homes so far
  • Installation of 65 high efficiency cooking stoves (so far)
  • All sustainable!
Find out more

Renovating Schools for Sherpa villages where our staff live

We have close ties with the mountain communities where our staff live, and with our Moving Mountains NGO we build schools and employ teachers in the villages where they live.
The ethos is to share your business success with the community.

  • Building and upgrading classrooms, toilets, and providing water and power
  • This contributes to happy family life and develops strong community life and ultimately happy staff
  • Our volunteer programmes provide sustainable income for schools
Find out more

Investing in Schools and making them sustainable in Kenya

We combine investment from our Moving Mountains NGO with sustainable financial support from AA.
For schools we use tourism to provide long term funding and also logistical support and advice.
In 20 years we've seen amazing turnarounds.

  • We work with 'MM' to build new schools and facilities like water pumps, kitchens,. toilets, desks, chairs etc
  • We offer trips for people to help with the project.
  • Our volunteer programme provides long term financial support to the school
Find out more

Baleygon School, Pakistan

Realising the remote village of Baleygon in northern Pakistan had no suitable school facilities, but over 100 children needing an education, we set about our most ambitious project so far. The project started in 2010.

  • Through £20,000 raised from initial K2 Charity Trek we:
  • Bought additional land for the school
  • Built 3 new classrooms
  • Furnish classrooms
  • Uniforms for children
  • Employed new teacher
  • Built toilet block
  • Working and fundraising is on-going
Find out more

Zanskar Bridge Project

Initiated by Mountain Kingdoms MD, Steve Berry, this unique project is building a rare Zanskari bridge of interwoven twigs, helping to keep ancient Zanskari traditions and culture alive. Email for further info.

  • Zanskar is a Tibetan Buddhist kingdom, just north of the main Himalayan range, in Ladakh, India.
  • Traditionally Ladakhi people depended on incredible woven twig bridges in order to cross the icy rivers.
  • 1st bridge has now been built
Find out more

Conservation Lower Zambezi

In 2009 we started a programme of regular donations to Conservation Lower Zambezi – an NGO which aims to reduce poaching and misuse of resources in Zambia's Lower Zambezi. These are ongoing, and to date have included:

  • 8 GPS devices for anti-poaching patrols.
  • 2 digital SLR cameras, for assisting CLZ's environmental education work.
  • An air-to-ground radio for use on anti-poaching patrols.
Find out more