Sustainable TourismAITO Responsible Tourism 3 star status

Our Environmental Responsibilities

As research has shown rail travel is a more environmentally-way to holiday and generates ten times less carbon dioxide than flying. We should all take responsibility to minimise the environmental impact of travel and reduce our carbon footprint. Small changes can make a big difference to our planet's future.

We appreciate that to reach a few of the destinations on our tours we must first of all take a flight to get there and would encourage you to 'offset' the effects of this.

Sustainable Tourism

All tourism potentially has an environmental, social and economic impact on the destinations involved, and we recognise our duty to respect and preserve the culture of the places we visit. Great Rail Journeys takes this responsibility seriously and has been awarded AITO's 3-star status in recognition of its commitment to the Sustainable Tourism policy. Rail travel is one of the most ecologically-friendly means of transport and using trains as much as possible during our holidays is one way we endeavour to minimise the negative effects of tourism on our environment.

Our Sustainable Tourism practices extend to our Head Office, where we try to minimise pollution and energy loss, and conserve natural resources by recycling products wherever possible.

Further information on Sustainable Tourism is available at http://www.aito.com/sustainable-tourism/ethos.  

Offset your CO2 emissions

When it comes to carbon dioxide, we all unknowingly over-indulge. Each time we heat our homes or drive the car, CO2 is added into the atmosphere. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions like CO2 and prevent further damage to the atmosphere we all need to work towards a low-carbon lifestyle. This responsibility applies as much when we travel and particularly when we fly. As well as taking steps to reduce your 'carbon footprint' you can neutralise or 'offset' the adverse impact of your flight. Carbon offsetting means donating money to projects, specifically set up with the aim of reducing the level of CO2 in the atmosphere on your behalf, thus making your air travel 'carbon neutral'. In this way we can counteract the damage we cause. Projects include: 

  • Renewable energy - this replaces non-renewable fuel such as coal
  • Energy efficiency - this reduces the amount of fuel needed
  • Forest restoration - this absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as the trees grow  

You may wish to offset your CO2 emissions using our preferred Offset Partner, Climate Care. To calculate the impact of your flights, use the Air Travel Calculator on their website. Your donation, entirely voluntary, may be much less than you think - for example, to offset one person's flight from Athens to London will cost just £2.33. As a business, we pledge to offset the carbon emissions generated by the air travel of our Tour Managers, plus the emissions generated by the business air travel undertaken by our office staff whilst researching our worldwide holidays.

Please visit click here for further information.

Air Travel Organisers' Licencing (ATOL)

Your Financial Protection

ATOL blue with number low res 75x75.jpgThe air holiday packages in on this website are ATOL protected with the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 3278. Please see our booking conditions for more information.

ATOL, which is part of the CAA, is a financial protection scheme for UK tour operators and protects you from losing money or being stranded abroad in the unlikely event of our insolvency. All monies paid to us in advance for a booking will be refunded and, if necessary, arrangements will be made for your repatriation back to the UK.

ATOL Protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.

For more information about ATOL visit http://www.atol.org.uk/ and for information about the CAA, visit http://www.caa.co.uk/ or call 020 7453 6424.

The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO)

Great Rail Journeys is a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators, an organisation representing over 150 of Britain's best specialist tour operators. Members of AITO strive to create holidays with high levels of professionalism and a shared concern for quality, personal service and customer satisfaction. The Association encourages the highest standards in all aspects of tour operating and all members are fully bonded for clients' protection, in compliance with UK and European regulations. Great Rail Journeys - like all other AITO members - are also bound by the organisation's Quality Charter.

The AITO Quality Charter

Exclusive Membership

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.

Financial Security

An AITO member is required to protect money paid by customers to the member for any holiday sold under the AITO logo. This protection applies to customers who are in the UK at the time of booking or to overseas customers who have booked directly with the member. Members have to comply with UK Government Regulations in this respect. Members submit details of their bonding or guarantee arrangements to the Association on a regular basis.

Accurate Brochures and Websites

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.

Monitoring Standards

AITO endeavours to monitor quality standards regularly. All customers should receive a post-holiday questionnaire, the results of which are scrutinised by the Association.

Sustainable Tourism

All members acknowledge the importance of AITO's Sustainable Tourism guidelines, which recognise the social, economic and environmental responsibilities of tour operating. Those demonstrating their achievements beyond the pure acceptance of this principle are recognised by the award of 3, 4 or 5 star status.

Customer Relations

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, AITO's low-cost Independent Dispute Settlement Service may be called upon by either side to bring the matter to a speedy and acceptable conclusion.

For further information about AITO visit www.aito.com or call 0208 744 9280.

How was your holiday?

We are proud of our holidays. Please give your feed back on www.aito.com so others can see how satisfied our customers are. AITO independently monitors its members and their standards.

AITO
And the winner is...

Great Rail Journeys was very proud to be the recipient of the 'Best Rail Operator' award at the 2014 Travel Weekly Globe Travel Awards. These awards are voted for by travel agents, so many thanks to all our travel trade partners who supported us.

We were also delighted to win the 'Best Overall Holiday Company by Train' category at the 2013 British Travel Awards. These awards are voted for by the travelling public - so thank you to all of you who voted for us.

These prestigious award follow other accolades in recent years including 'Best Overall Holidays By Train Tour Operator' in the 2012 British Travel Awards, Runner Up in the 2011 Telegraph Travel Awards in the category of Favourite Independent Specialist Tour Operator, and the Bronze award in the Best Holidays by Train Operator category at the 2011 British Travel Awards.

Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA)

Great Rail Journeys is a tour operator member of ABTA, the Association of British Travel Agents, and our ABTA number is V2170. ABTA's main aims are to maintain high standards of trading practice for the benefit of its members, the travel industry at large and the consumers they serve. Both ABTA and its members help holidaymakers to get the most from their travel and assist them when things do not go according to plan.

As an ABTA member, we are obliged to follow the organisation's Code of Conduct. This ensures that our customers receive a high standard of service, fair terms of trading, and clear and accurate information on issues such as passports and visas, health requirements, and details of any alterations to your holiday. In the event of things going wrong, the Code of Conduct ensures that we respond to any complaint within strict time limits.

For further information about ABTA, the Code of Conduct and also the independent arbitration scheme available to customers if you have a complaint visit http://abta.com/ or call 020 3117 0500. Alternatively, ABTA may be contacted at the following address:

ABTA
30 Park Street
London
SE1 9EQ

Tel: 020 3117 0500
Fax: 020 3117 0581
Email: abta@abta.co.uk
Website: http://abta.com/

 

ABTA

Visit York

Great Rail Journeys is based at St Saviourgate in the beautiful city of York, and is a proud member of Visit York.

Visit York offers up-to-date, expert information about hotels, sights and things to do around our bustling city, a fascinating combination of medieval and modern. For more information see www.visityork.org.

We are pleased to promote tourism to our home city and have a wide selection of tours around Yorkshire.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)

Whatever your cruise requirements, you can book a Great Rail Journeys cruise with confidence as we are members of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), formerly known as the Association of Cruise Experts (ACE). This award-winning training and support organisation is dedicated to providing expert cruise training and support for travel agents and peace of mind for customers. Supported by 30 of the world's leading cruise lines, and in turn supporting over 12,000 travel agents, CLIA make sure that cruise customers get the holiday of their dreams. For more details visit http://www.cruiseexperts.org/.

Investor In Customers

Great Rail Journeys is delighted to have been awarded the top possible rating by 'Investor in Customers' followed a 2013 assessment. The "3-star - Exceptional" award is a reflection of our commitment to providing industry-leading customer services and a truly 1st Class holiday experience.

The Investor in Customers award is based on independent research into the views, opinions and experiences of customers, as well as the staff and senior management at the company, and professional assessments conducted by IIC staff themselves. The aim is to discover how well a company:

  • Understands their customers' needs
  • Delivers products and services that meet those needs
  • Delivers 1st class service
  • Engenders loyalty (in customers and staff)