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 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.

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    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.
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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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    Picking up rubbish from the trails of the Himalaya (2017)

    The Mountain Company would like to thank our guides and trekkers for enthusiastically embracing our AITO Project Protect pledge to help make the environment in the Himalaya and Karakoram cleaner. Our initial pledge was to remove 220kg of rubbish, and this was exceeded with a total of over 350kg removed from trekking routes in Nepal, Bhutan, India and Pakistan.

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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:

    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.

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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.
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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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    John Muir Trust

    We are proud to be members of the John Muir Trust., the leading wild land conservation organisation in the UK, dedicated to protecting wild places. We support the Trust in its belief that wild places are essential for people and wildlife.

    • Safeguard iconic wild lands such as Ben Nevis, Sandwood Bay and the Red Cuillin
    • Support campaigns against inappropriate developments in wild places
    • Reinforce John Muir’s message that we need wild places for nature and people.
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