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 Travel Agencies in the UK

The first thing to do in this section is acknowledge the enormous contribution of the first travel agent, Thomas Cook who started his business in 1841 by taking 570 temperance campaigners from Leicester to Loughborough for one shilling each. Now of course, Thomas Cook is one of the worlds biggest Travel Agencies, with around 20 million customers a year.

The Association of British Travel Agents sets binding standards on its 5,750 members with a strict code of conduct -you can search their database by location and specialism to find a agents who suit your needs, or you can use the ABTA database to check if an agent is a member.

There are a number of agencies and travel companies specialising in ethical travel -you might start with Responsible Travel, Travelcare or Tribes.

 Useful Sources:

  • ABTA -the official website of the Association of British Travel Agents.
  • ASTA - The American Society of Travel Agents is the world's largest association of travel professionals.
  • IATA -the trade association that represents the airline industry world-wide.
  • Marco Polo Travel -an independent travel agency established in 1989, based in Bristol. Inveterate travellers, they pride themselves on their knowledge, expertise and creativity in helping you with your travel plans whether it be a complex round the world flight routing or a beach holiday in the sun.
  • PureTravel -features tours from across the world, all of which are supplied direct from local operators, thus supporting local communities with money going straight back into the local economy.
  • Responsible Travel -online travel agency that specialises in providing holidays that help local people to earn a fairer income from tourism, support local conservation and social projects, and minimise any negative environmental or cultural impacts.
  • STA Travel -the travel company for students and young people -specialise in discounted student flights, round the world trips, gap year and adventure travel, plus two discount cards ­ the ISIC (International Student Identity Card) & IYTC (International Youth Travel Card).
  • Thomas Cook -the original travel agent founded in 1841 is still one of the UK's leading travel companies, providing travel and holidays for millions of customers every year.
  • Trailfinders -the UK's largest independent travel agent renowned for its tailormade itineraries and huge selection of discounted flights and tours.
  • Travelcare -part of the Coop group, whose Corporate Social Responsibility policy underlies everything they do.
  • Tribes -independent specialist travel company started by Amanda and Guy Marks in 1998, it bills itself as the fair trade travel company.

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Unforgettable Places to See Before You Die
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