The Association of Independent Travel Operators (AITO) has just announced a whole tranche of new tours and destinations from its alliance of over 120 members. Travellers can book directly through the AITO members featured in this newsletter. AITO members marked * can also be booked through a local, trusted AITO Specialist Travel Agency.

Departing 2017 and 2018 

Activities Abroad* has a brand-new four-night Betwixmas holiday based in Jeris Finnish Lapland. Staying in a cosy winter cottage with wood-burning stove and private sauna, families will hunt the Northern Lights by snowshoe, dine in an ice restaurant, meet friendly reindeer, and embark on husky and snowmobile safaris. Departs 26th December 2017.

Adagio* – the experts in “gentle walking” small-group expert-led holidays – has launched its new 2018 brochure with a selection of magical trips including ‘Mediterranean Switzerland’, with its palm-fringed lakes, ‘The Romantic Heart of Spain’ featuring the ancient cities of Segovia and Toledo, and ‘Magnificent Mont Blanc’, exploring France’s Chamonix Valley. Departing between 25 June and 10 September 2018.

Ciceroni Travel offers a comprehensive introduction to the arts in Berlin and Potsdam with a new escorted cultural tour. Led by Tom Duncan, see major historic sites and museums, plus an optional opera and concert performance at the newly reopened Berlin Staatsoper. Enjoy special access to the Reichstag, with dinner at its rooftop restaurant, plus Potsdam and the magnificent Sanssouci. Departures from 8 to 13 April 2018.

Ffestiniog Travel* has released the 2018 edition of its Rail Holidays of the World brochure, featuring new escorted rail tours to Albania and California, new itineraries for rail connoisseurs to France, Spain and Portugal, and a new addition to its Easy Rail Holidays collection (one-centre, price-friendly European escorted tours): the four-night Bonn & The Rhine in Flames. Departs 3 May 2018.

Inntravel* has introduced a new Winter Walking break to Spain’s Costa de la Luz, a coastline where each successive sandy beach is more beautiful than the last. Explore the whitewashed houses and warrens of terracotta-tiled passages of Vejer de la Frontera and spend four days based in Tarifa, where one might spot whales and dolphins offshore. Departures until 31 May 2018.

Journey Latin America* has launched a new escorted group tour of Bolivia: Zampullin: Vistas of Bolivia. The itinerary covers the country’s highlights of La Paz and the Uyuni salt flats as well as some lesser-known regions including the Che Trail from Santa Cruz, where Che Guevara was killed 50 years ago on 9 October 1967. Departing between 15 April and 21 September 2018.

Kudu Travel* is offering a new UK short break: Cornwall: Art, Gardens & Walks. This five-day tour takes in the refurbished and iconic art gallery, Tate St. Ives, featuring guided tours of three magnificent Cornish gardens and walks on the South West Coast Path. Departs 23 April 2018.

Martin Randall Travel is running three new cultural tours designed exclusively for solo travellers. Explore the palaces and art collections of St Petersburg, travel to Samarkand and the Silk Road cities of Uzbekistan and discover the historical treasures of Sicily. These three trips offer an exceptional opportunity to share an interest with like-minded people. Departures until 24 November 2018.

Mountain Kingdoms* offers an exciting new eight-day trip to the Canary Islands, La Palma North to South, discovering the islands’ many highlights on foot. Explore a stunning variety of rocky coastal paths, volcanic peaks, picturesque pine forests, sandy beaches and a misty cloud forest. Departing between 25 January and 29 November 2018.

On Foot Holidays has a brand-new Yorkshire Dales route all the way from Ripon Cathedral to Austwick, where guests get to eat extremely well along the way. Taking in the best of the Dales, walkers will trek from inn to inn, east to west, with a steadily increasing ruggedness, into classical limestone country and a final dramatic climb with stunning views across to the Irish sea. Departing between May and October 2018.

Sunvil* is now offering a new four-night Wilderness Weekend at Pine Tree Lodge in the delightful village of Kangos in Swedish Lapland. This exciting new trip includes a snowmobile tour, a dog sled expedition, led by an enthusiastic team of huskies, and visits to popular sites with grazing reindeer and moose. Departures until 28 September 2018.

The Aurora Zone* has a brand-new tailor-made Autumn Northern Lights holiday. This holiday includes spectacular accommodation where guests will sleep under the Northern Lights in a glass-roofed Aurora Cabin, high above the Arctic Circle in the village of Saariselkä. The holiday can be booked from a minimum of three nights. Departures until 9 November 2017.

Wilderness Scotland* has added a new all-inclusive walking trip to Five of the UK’s National Parks for 2018. The 10-day trip takes in the Cairngorms and Trossachs in Scotland, before heading south for walking in Northumberland, Yorkshire and the Lake District too. Departs 6 May, 10 June, 22 July and 9 September 2018.

Latest news from AITO-affiliated Tourist Boards

CzechTourism introduces the up-and-coming destination of Pardubice in the Czech Republic, with Ryanair launching new direct flights from Stansted. The town itself is worth visiting thanks to its lovely atmosphere, its gingerbread scent, fantastic beer and its well-known horse racing tradition. It is also an easy train ride  from Prague and the journey to this picturesque region of Eastern Bohemia costs around £5.

Visit Finland is promoting Finnair’s new direct flights from the UK, which is making holidays to Lapland easier than ever. Flights from London Gatwick to Kittilä commence on 12 December, and to Ivalo on 14 December. Lapland offers UK travellers a great range of winter activities from ice fishing, hunting the Aurora Borealis and skiing, to husky safaris and reindeer sleigh rides. For more information, click here.

The German National Tourist Office is celebrating ‘Culinary Germany’ by providing a gastronomic travel tour of Germany in 2018, highlighting innovative Michelin-Star Gourmet menus to delicious, specialist regional foods. News stories for 2018 include the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth, 250th anniversary of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, Dresden’s new car exhibition, the reopening of the Margravial Opera House in Bayreuth, 875th anniversaries for Chemnitz and Lübeck, plus ‘Germany by Night’.

VisitDenmark and the seven Nordic destinations are teaming up for The Great Nordic Feast – a foodie experience that will bring raw nature, fire and local Nordic produce to the centre stage in the heart of London. Join in at The Southbank Centre from the 20th to 22nd October. For more information and tickets, visit the Nordic Feast website.

The West Sweden Tourist Board introduces Henriksholm island in Dalsland. A new case-study investigating the potential health effects of Sweden´s close-to-nature lifestyle involved five people with some of the most stressful jobs to make the island their home for 72 hours. The result? Stress levels dropped, blood pressure decreased, and guests became more creative. Experience the calming effects of a holiday close to nature in Dalsland staying in a glass cabin and explore the unique relationship Swedes have with nature.

The Tenerife Tourism Corporation is pleased to announce that Tenerife has been chosen to host the launch of the 2018 edition of the ‘Michelin Guide to Spain and Portugal’. The prestigious ceremony will take place on 22nd November at the The Ritz-Carlton in Abama, home to two of the island’s Michelin-starred restaurants, and will reinforce Tenerife’s growing reputation as a paradise for fine food lovers.

Turismo Lanzarote will become the Sustainable Tourism world epicentre from 19 to 20 October 2017. The International Summit named ‘Sustainability: a key factor of competitiveness in the Tourism Industry’ is a highly relevant event promoted by the Institute of Responsible Tourism (ITR) and the Lanzarote Tourist Board (SPEL-Turismo Lanzarote) and will bring together speakers specialising in responsible tourism.

Visit Portugal is featuring a new guide “From Farm to Table” for travellers who enjoy organising their own holidays. Categorised into six major itineraries and divided into 17 routes, this guide showcases a series of food and wine itineraries in the Alentejo and Ribatejo regions, where local producers are opening their doors to visitors.

Visit Sweden presents two new southern regions for World Travel Market 2017: Skåne – with its castles, gardens, famous golf courses and artisan food trend – and Småland – the perfect outdoor destination offering over 5,000 glittering lakes for fishing and canoeing, plus forest hiking and biking trails with packages ready to go.

AITO,, is an alliance of over 120 of the best specialist holiday companies. AITO members collectively provide an unrivalled range of holidays to every corner of the world. They are passionate about what they do and pride themselves on their attention to every detail of their customers’ holidays.

AITO members’ joint aim is to offer personal, caring service, to look after the environment in the places in which they work and to provide holidays that deliver both good value and high standards. All AITO holiday companies are required, as a condition of membership, to take full financial protection measures on behalf of their clients via the appropriate industry bonding schemes.