Meeting in the week of the Copenhagen climate summit, the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) Council endorsed a number of sustainability measures, including a plan for the whole membership to sign up to their sustainable tourism criteria during 2010.“Whereas there is a core of our membership that is in the vanguard of sustainable tourism practice, there are others who do not see this as central to their business practice,” said Roger Diski, chair or AITO’s sustainable tourism group.
“By the middle of the year, all tour operator members will be expected to have achieved a minimum standard which includes reviewing their practice and setting targets for sustainability.”
To facilitate this, AITO Council also agreed a memorandum of understanding with the Travel Foundation.
The two organisations will share material and intend to work jointly on projects.
AITO is now considering ways of encouraging more AITO operators to contribute to the work of the Foundation. The Travel Foundation’s new Greener Business Guide will become required reading for every AITO tour operator.
In 2010, AITO is also going to encourage tour operators to support TICOS, a carbon reduction scheme which has been developed specifically for the organisation.
At present TICOS has 16 schemes in tourism destinations which are active or ready for funding, all of which combine verifiable carbon reduction with clear socio-economic or developmental benefit to communities in those destinations.
For more information about AITO go to www.aito.com.