Explore wins AITO’s ‘Most Sustainable Tour’ Award 2010 for its Tiger Tiger trip. Find out why it is considered best in class by industry experts, what else Explore does to promote Responsible Tourism across all of its tours, and watch a video clip of the awards.
Adventure specialist operator Explore has won AITO’s (the Association of Independent Tour Operators) 2010 ‘Most Sustainable Tour’ award for its ‘Tiger Tiger’ trip to India.
The itinerary was commended by AITO for its focus on environmental, conservation and social issues. As well as using a family-run ground agency with ST guidelines built into its contract, it utilises local guides and supports the Asharan Orphanage in Delhi, inviting customers to bring out donations of children’s clothes, books and toys. Trains are used for domestic travel to reduce the carbon footprint and all customer flights are carbon-offset. The tour is also audited using the Ethical Tour Operators group’s formative social impact questionnaire.Explore has long been one of travel's most determinedly green companies. It has always operated small groups to minimise environmental and social impact on destinations visited. Since January 2008, all customer and staff flights have been carbon-offset. The first major tour operator to do this, Explore also supports around 20 charities, including The Gorilla Organization, for whose recent ‘Great Gorilla Run’ it was chief sponsor, raising nearly £9,000.
The company is a regular winner of ST awards – it was named Best Tour Operator in the 2008 Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards and Best Transport or Travel Business at the 2009 Green Business Awards. Explore was also the highest placed travel company in the Sunday Times’ 2009 Green Business Companies awards. Explore also has the maximum five stars for Sustainable Tourism from AITO.
Says Ashley Toft, Managing Director of Explore: “This is the latest in a fabulous string of accolades for our sustainable tourism efforts, and shows that we are really getting it right in this crucial area. AITO is world-renowned for its green travel tenets, so to win this award ahead of around 130 other eco-friendly companies is a real honour.”
Celebrating its 30th birthday next year, Explore is the UK’s largest adventure travel company. Across three brochures – Active, Discover and Family Adventures – it offers over 450 tours to 130 countries, plus as a Tailormade Explore programme for private travellers.
‘Tiger Tiger’ is a seven-day break to India that combines sightseeing in Old and New Delhi, a ride on a rickshaw train and three days on safari in Ranthambore National Park, one of the best places in the world for tiger-spotting. It next departs 24 October and costs from £990 pp including flights, all transport, five nights’ B&B, five other meals and an Explore tour guide.
Judges for this year’s award included Richard Hammond, founder of www.greentraveller.co.uk, and Dick Sisman, founder of the tourism industry carbon-reduction scheme (TICOS).