The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) has announced Monty Halls - TV star of ‘My Family and the Galapagos’ - as one of the keynote speakers at its 2018 conference, taking place November 22 - 25 in Ras Al Khaimah.

The British conservationist and marine biologist is president of the Galapagos Conservation Trust and will give a talk to AITO delegates on his extraordinary family travel adventures, conservation and environmental issues and his immersive travel experiences.

Halls will be appearing at the conference with his family; wife, Tamsyn (also a keen conservationist) and their daughters Isla and Molly. The family uprooted to the Galapagos for three months and uncovered the strains put on this archipelago of volcanic Ecuadorian islands, where tourism and environmental changes are endangering not only the region’s ecosystem, with flora and fauna not found anywhere else in the world, but also its people.

His talk will offer delegates an insight into sustainable tourism in action and will take them through his tales of how the family managed their new life on the Galapagos, and the challenges they faced.

Derek Moore, chairman of the consortium, said: “We are thrilled to have Monty and his family come and speak at the conference this year. Our delegates will have a unique chance to hear about the real-life immersive experience of an entire family unit – an experience that is both thrilling and worthwhile. Our members are in for a treat, with a keynote talk that is sure to stay in their minds long after.”

Monty Halls added: “I’m absolutely delighted to be the guest of AITO at its annual conference. Responsible travel is key, not only for the people involved - both the tourists and the local communities - but also for the long-term health of the environments in which we visit. I feel it’s such an important time in the travel industry, and organisations like AITO have a huge responsibility in upholding standards. I thoroughly look forward to visiting the conference, meeting some of the best operators in the business, and of course exploring Ras Al Khaimah with my family.”

Between inspiring talks and important business sessions, delegates at the conference will have the opportunity to experience Ras Al Khaimah first hand, including the opportunity to fly the longest zipline in the world (2.83 km in length), to go kayaking on the inland waterways, to try dune bashing in the desert, to spot wildlife at the Al Wadi Nature Reserve or simply soak up the sights of the old town.

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