Travel News from AITO

The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. As its 120-plus specialist operators continue to innovate, here is a selection of exciting new programmes, destinations and itineraries on offer for 2017

New tours and news from AITO members

The Aurora Zone has opened The Aurora Village – a lovingly created collection of private cabins, each featuring a half-glass roof through which guests can enjoy splendid views of the beautiful Arctic winter sky – in the enchanting wilderness of Saariselkä. The Aurora Village is the perfect place to combine hunting for the Northern Lights and other great winter activities.

Discover Adventure has launched 18 new trips for 2017, with one proving particularly popular with returning cyclists. A large number of Euro cycle fans are planning to up the ante with the new Ride the Coast to Cape Town 10-day trip, which takes in the famous Garden Route, passing sweeping beaches, vineyards, indigenous bush and forested mountain slopes. Finishing at Gordon’s Bay, admire vistas reaching across to Cape Peninsula and the Cape of Good Hope.

Discover the World has launched its new programme Essential Namibia Self Drive – a memorable 12-day trip offering a combination of escorted tours and self-drive itineraries which take in the very best highlights of Namibia, including wildlife jewel, Etosha National Park, and ruggedly beautiful Damaraland. Namibia is a remarkable country with welcoming people, spectacular wildlife and truly breath-taking scenery, making it one of Southern Africa’s most enticing destinations.

Ffestiniog Travel has added three new itineraries to its Rail Holidays Direct collection – escorted one-centre breaks where guests can unpack and settle in to their hotel whilst still enjoying a variety of organised and accompanied excursions. Joining Switzerland for 2017, where Ffestiniog Travel already offers two Rail Holidays Direct options, are Amsterdam & Haarlem, Bruges – Canals, Culture & Chocolate, and Strasbourg – the Jewel of Alsace.

Inntravel has added a new self-guided trip, The Volcanic Trails of La Palma,* to its winter walking programme. Starting on the southern tip, on land formed by the Teneguia eruption of 1971, visitors will tread some of the newest terrain in Europe before discovering magnificent Caldera de Taburiente, with its fragrant pine forests, rainbow waterfalls and aquamarine canyons. The trip culminates in the lively streets of cosmopolitan capital, Santa Cruz.

KE Adventure Travel has introduced a new itinerary, Paradise Trails of Bali and Lombok,* to showcase a unique side of the paradise islands. On this relaxed-paced holiday, walk on the slopes of Mount Batukaru, admire the sunrise from the summit of Pergasingan Hill whilst hiking on the slopes of Rinjani (the second highest volcano in Indonesia), visit the Besakih temple, and experience a traditional Balinese Hindu temple ceremony, with time to chill out on the beautiful Gili Islands.

Kudu Travel introduces a new two-week cultural walking tour to discover La Réunion,* the rainbow French département in the Indian Ocean. Highlights include walking through tropical forests, exploring the moonscape of La Réunion’s active volcano, swimming and snorkelling from a sand beach protected by offshore coral reefs and visiting historic coffee and sugar estates, botanical gardens and museums depicting the island’s fascinating history.

Llama Travel offers the opportunity to explore Peru by train on Latin America’s debut luxury sleeper train. Visit Lima, Cusco & Machu Picchu, followed by a 3-day luxury train journey from Cusco to Arequipa, via Lake Titicaca. It’s a truly unique way to explore the striking scenery of the Andean highlands while being treated like royalty aboard the Andean Explorer train.

Mountain Kingdoms is introducing two new holidays to Japan, including the Gentle Trekking Nakasendo Trail*. Step back in time on ancient trails that take visitors to historic post towns, whilst staying in traditional inns and a Buddhist temple. Exquisite Japanese cuisine and hot spring baths await guests after a rewarding day’s trekking. Other highlights include exploring key cultural sights, both old and new, including temples and monasteries in Mount Koya, Nara, Kyoto and Tokyo.

Peter Sommer Travels announces its first-ever walking and cruising tour in Croatia, Walking and Cruising Southern Dalmatia* – an enticing combination of a gulet cruise with expert-led walks exploring ancient forts, beautiful towns and magnificent castles. Walk atop the 5km wall at Ston, admire the dynamic set of vistas on Mljet and discover UNESCO World Heritage site the Stari Grad Plain on Hvar – a living archaeological landscape. Local delicacies served onboard and onshore.

Ramblers Walking Holidays has introduced a new walk, St Ignatius Way, for 2017 – a lesser-known Spanish camino through spectacular Basque countryside. Covering 70 miles, from the Holy sanctuary in Loiola to the medieval walled town of Laguardia in the wine rich Rioja Alavesa, the walk passes through the meditative limestone landscapes of Aizkorri-Aratz National Park, the Biozkonia Pass (spanning 1,200 miles) and the lush Cantabrian Mountains.

Travellers can book directly through the AITO members featured. Holidays marked with an * can also be booked through a local, trusted AITO Specialist Travel Agency.

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