Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO)
What is AITO?
The AITO Quality Charter -OUR CONSUMER PROMISE taken from www.aito.co.uk
AITO is the Association for independent and specialist holiday companies. Our member companies, usually owner-managed, strive to create overseas holidays with high levels of professionalism and a shared concern for quality and personal service. The Association encourages the highest standards in all aspects of tour operating.
AITO sets criteria regarding ownership, finance and quality which must be satisfied before new companies are admitted to membership. All members are required to adhere to a Code of Business Practice which encourages high operational standards and conduct.
An AITO member is required to arrange financial protection for all holidays and other arrangements (including accommodation only) booked by customers with the member under the AITO logo. This financial protection applies to customers who are resident in the UK at the time of booking and to most overseas customers who have booked directly with the member. In doing so, the member must comply with UK government regulations. Members are required to submit details of their financial protection arrangements to AITO on a regular basis.
ACCURATE BROCHURES AND WEB SITES
All members do their utmost to ensure that all their brochures and other publications, print or electronic, clearly and accurately describe the holidays and services offered.
PROFESSIONAL SERVICE AND CONTINUAL IMPROVEMENTS
All members are committed to high standards of service and believe in regular and thorough training of employees. Members continually seek to review and improve their holidays. They listen to their customers and always welcome suggestions for improving standards.
AITO endeavours to monitor quality standards regularly. All customers should be directed to leave feedback on www.aito.com the results of which are scrutinised by the Association.
AITO members acknowedge the importance of AITO’s Sustainable Tourism ethos, which recognises the social, economic and environmental responsibilities of tour operating.
All members endeavour to deal swiftly and fairly with any issues their customers may raise. In the unlikely event that a dispute between an AITO member and a customer cannot be settled amicably, either party can call on a low cost arbitration service to bring the matter to a speedy and acceptable conclusion.
AITO Sustainable Tourism Award
Pure Crete has been awarded the outstanding 4 star status for Sustainable Tourism. This reflects our commitment to sustainability, responsible tourism and ecotourism. In the past we have restored stone-built Cretan houses and villas and have helped to protect endangered species in Crete. This means that our clients can enjoy the rural tranquility of traditional houses safe in the knowledge that their holiday helps to conserve Crete’s natural and physical environment.
Houses are owned by local families so that the economic benefits go to local communities who engage in restoration and environmental work. We encourage our clients in Crete to recycle and we use local products and traders to supply our welcome- packs of food and wine which we give to our guests. Pure Crete assist in subsidising the installation of solar energy in the houses we rent. In the UK we use recycled paper and encourage staff to bring forward initiatives to promote sustainability. We have run wild flower and walking holidays for 26 years and for several years we introduced a carbon offset scheme, adding a £3.50 carbon off set charge per passenger, per return flight on each invoice that clients can pay or opt out of. Since then, Pure Crete clients have raised over £5000. In the past this has been donated to the Tourism Industry Carbon Offset Service (TICOS), which was then managed by Beyond Carbon. Pure Crete’s contributions have gone towards the “Sun Fire Solar Solutions Solar Stoves Project” in South Africa.
Our customer loyalty is linked to our environmental approach as well as the enjoyment of a holiday in Crete.
AITO PROTECT As a member of AITO (Association of Independent Tour Operators) Pure Crete, alongside all fellow members,has recently provided its annual Pledge, for an activity that we will carry out this year to protect the tourist destination our clients visit. You can read all about our pledge, and other AITO members on the AITO website here
The pledges were part of the AITO project PROTECT launched in Spring 2017 in recognition of the important role that destinations play in the future of the travel industry. “PROTECT” being an acronym. “People – Resources – Outreach -Tourism – Environment- Conservation- Tomorrow”
Pure Crete’s Aim: – to reduce landfill on Crete by installing recycling bins in 50% of Pure Crete properties:-
Over the past few years our representatives have noticed an increasing amount of our customers ask where they should take their refuse to be recycled. Our houses and villas have not had recycling bins and our customers are used to recycling back home. We therefore aim to increase recycling by 80% in 50% of our properties by providing one bin for plastics cards and tin and one bin for glass. There are recycling points in local villages and towns. We intend to report our results at the end of October 2018.
We hope we can achieve this aim by our customers following the recycling instructions in their property. By helping us to recycle more waste they will be directly involved in reducing landfill on Crete. We hope this will contribute to the enjoyment of their holiday by giving them a sense of giving back to the environment of the destination they have visited and enjoyed.
OCTOBER 2018 UPDATE AND TESTIMONIAL
In 2018 Pure Crete improved recycling facilities in its properties on Crete. We chose this Pledge because many of our customers are keen to recycle on holiday and ask where they should recycle their waste on Crete. Promoting recycling is significant to us because we want to leave the environment in Crete as pristine as possible and hate to see it covered in rubbish. We want to reduce landfill on the Island.
In total Pure Crete installed one glass bin and one non glass bin in 10 properties in 2018. Data was collected to provide a rough calculation of the amount of waste guests recycled. With an average fill of 20 weeks in each of the 10 properties we collected around 5000 litres of non-glass recycling and around 1998 litres of glass recycling in one season.
It has been very encouraging to see the recycling bins in place and the information provided in the houses for guests to read about the scheme. We feel that our customers have benefited the most from this pledge. One customer, who has holidayed with us for over 10 years, told us “Lovely to see that you’ve finally made it easier for us to recycle whilst on holiday. It was always a bit of a chore to drive to the municipal recycling bins. Well done! ”
One of the main challenges was getting all house owners to dispose of the recycling in the main bins. Two Greek house owners felt it was extra work for them so Pure Crete staff helped with the correct disposal of recyclables by collecting it at their properties throughout the season. Next time we will encourage more property house owners to take part by offering this help from the beginning.
We hope that carrying out our pledge may have raised awareness amongst property owners about how important it is to recycle waste in Crete and how important it is to our guests, that holiday in their houses. We have made a small but localised effort on Crete to improve the situation and which our customers have enjoyed being involved in.