We’re captivated by the places we visit, from the rugged, crimson sands of Australia’s outback deserts to the verdant forests and inky depths of New Zealand’s fjords and valleys. Our passion for our lands, their people and wildlife is part of what makes each AAT Kings experience unique, and is why we work with partners who share our vision for making travel matter, now and in the future. When you travel with AAT Kings and any of our sister brands you can be assured that you are choosing to travel with a company that puts sustainability and the planet at the core of everything we do.
The TreadRight Foundation was founded over a decade ago as a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of brands with a mission to ensure our trips have a positive impact, and AAT Kings is proud to be a founding member.
Community support and cultural preservation by targeting overtourism through the inclusion of new Make Travel Matter experiences, the creation of a standalone strategy to encourage greater diversity and inclusion at AAT Kings, and our global give-back efforts.
Sustainability and conservation by targeting climate change, sustainable food production and responsible consumption through carbon management, renewable energy, the food cycle, waste reduction, and the elimination of single-use plastics.
Conservation and protection by targeting animal welfare and conservation, and ethical wildlife experiences through TreadRight’s Animal Welfare Policy.
The TreadRight Foundation works together with three dedicated women who are storytellers and activists with a strong belief in people, planet, and wildlife and help us to further our goal to MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®
Sarain is a storyteller who is dedicated to amplifying the voices of her Indigenous community. She works with the Manitobah Mukluks Storyboot School to preserve culture and stories.
In partnership with the TreadRight Foundation, we have supported more than 55 sustainable tourism projects worldwide which seek to protect wildlife and marine life and have a positive impact on the people and communities we visit. Each tourism project we support is assessed based on its impact on each of the TreadRight pillars of people, planet and wildlife, underpinned by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which combine to form the basis for our five-year sustainability strategy, How We Tread Right (HWTR).
AAT Kings supports the following TreadRight Foundation Projects
Kiwi Conservation with the National Kiwi Hatchery
Since 1995 Rainbow Springs Nature Park in Rotorua on New Zealand’s North Island has provided vital support to vulnerable populations of the flightless Kiwi bird, a beloved national species. The species is under threat from predators and their ground nests lack adequate protection, causing their population to decline each year. To date the National Kiwi Hatchery at Rainbow Springs has hatched more than 2,000 eggs, providing a safe environment for birds to hatch, releasing them into ideal habitats in the wild so that they can continue to reproduce. You can visit the Hatchery to learn more about the vital work they are doing to ensure the survival of the species, with less than 70,000 kiwis left in the wild.
Save the Tasmanian Devil
In some areas, more than 80% of the Tasmanian Devil population has been wiped out by Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) which continue to spread through wild populations in Tasmania. In conjunction with the TreadRight Foundation, AAT Kings support the work done at the University of Tasmania to develop a vaccine to ensure the population of Tasmanian devils can thrive disease-free in the wild. Guests travelling on selected Tasmanian tours can spend time observing the nocturnal behaviour of the Tasmanian Devil and learn more about these fascinating creatures with our Devils After Dark experience.
Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors
The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, Australia’s busiest koala hospital, has treated over 2,971 koalas since 2014, thanks to the support of AAT Kings and the TreadRight Foundation. The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital aims to give injured wildlife a second chance and plays a vital role in saving Australia’s native species, offering specialised care and rehabilitation to their unique and much-loved patients. Equipped with world-class facilities including a surgical theatre and intensive care units, the dedicated wildlife veterinarians and nurses are able to provide specialised care to injured or orphaned wildlife.
How We Tread Right (HWTR)
How we Tread Right is The Travel Corporation’s new five-year sustainability strategy which seeks to address the environmental and social impacts of TTC’s family of brands and support sustainable tourism initiatives all over the world to ensure that travel has a positive impact on our planet, the people and communities we visit and the diverse wildlife we encounter. The 11 goals at the heart of this strategy are anchored to the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and were development in consultation with over 30 TTC brand and business leaders.
Achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 or sooner
Source 50% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2025
Sustainable Food Production
Reduce food waste by 50% across all hotels and ships by 2025
Sustainable Food Production
Increase use of local & organic food products by our supply chain by 2025
Reduce printed brochures by 50% by 2025
Eliminate as many unnecessary single-use plastics from our operations and itineraries by 2022
Include at least 1 Make Travel Matter Experience on 50% of TTC itineraries by 2025
Achieve a 20% increase of itineraries visiting developing regions for select specialist brands by 2025
Increase employee and market sentiment regarding diversity and inclusion across our brands
Complete 30,000 volunteer hours by 2025
Achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 or sooner
There are plenty of things we can all do while travelling to contribute to sustainable tourism practices. We’ve developed a series of tours that each include a signature MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience, allowing our guests to see and understand firsthand the important work we support and its impact.
What is a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience?
These experiences have been selected based on the social and environmental impact they have on their communities and those who experience them.
By choosing to travel on an AAT Kings journey that includes a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience, you can be assured that you will be contributing in a meaningful way to the people and places you visit. Each MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience is assessed against a robust set of criteria using a proprietary assessment tool endorsed by industry experts and developed exclusively for The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of brands.
As our guest, you’ll be assured that your on-trip experience will have a positive impact, and will encourage the greatest community benefit.
Karrke Aboriginal Experience
Kings Canyon National Park
Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Experience and Tours is an authentic aboriginal cultural experience on areas of importance in their cultural knowledge on bush tucker and bush medicines used for spiritual and healing and a lot more, as used by the Luritja and Pertame (Southern Aranda) people and this helps with knowledge being passed on.
100% Aboriginal owned and operated family business, Pudakul offers cultural and nature-based experiences cultural experiences from the Adelaide River Flood Plains on Aboriginal owned Limilngan-Wulna Land. Engage with local Aboriginal people, the environment and wildlife, learn basket weaving, dilly bag making and the techniques used in the process. Learn to throw a spear, play the didgeridoo and clapsticks then learn about local bush food and medicine.
Maruku is owned and operated by Anangu artists who are the Aboriginal people from the Western and Central Deserts of Australia. For thousands of years, Anangu have passed down their knowledge from generation to generation to keep the land, their culture and their people strong.
The Wadandi people have a deep connection to the Cape to Cape region and through this connection sustainability of the land is their way of life. Living with it and their knowledge and experience helps to protect and share their traditions to ensure that they live on. The passing on knowledge of the land through bush tucker (food), bush medicines, land management and traditional way of life strengthens the Wadandi peoples culture.
This organisation recruits and employs local Indigenous people. They reach these groups by way of providing support to assist with employment, and creating sustainable, Indigenous operated commercial enterprises, financial assistance for items such as work related licences, personal protective equipment, training and tools. They also put in place Positive Peer Pressure Programs that are aimed at building connectedness and broadening social networks.
Cataract Gorge welcome to country and Aboriginal guide
palawa Enterprises Pty Ltd (pET) has been established by the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania (ALCT) to oversee the operation of the wukalina Walk and other local indigenous enterprises including the Cataract Gorge welcome to country and guide programme which was created specifically for AAT Kings. This enterprise provides opportunities for Tasmanian aboriginals (palawa) to share their ancient stories with visitors and ensuring not only that guests leave with a deeper understanding of this culture but also that these stories continue to be passed down through the generations. This opportunity of course also provides much needed jobs within the community.
Te Puia The New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute
Te Puia is owned by The Whakarewarewa Joint Trust which is a joint trust between two Te Arawa iwi, Ngati Whakaue and Wahiao Tuhourangi. Te Puia is supporting the retention and development of ahurea (culture) and toi (arts and crafts) Maori, as well as providing training in whakairo (carving) and raranga (weaving).
A feel-good encounter on your New Zealand tour, support the population of New Zealand’s national bird by teaming up with ‘Operation Nest Egg’ on a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience at The National Kiwi Hatchery. Get up close and see kiwi eggs being incubated, the hatching process, and even newly hatched kiwi chicks. Located in Rainbow Springs Nature Park in Rotorua, this national leader in kiwi husbandry is helping to prevent kiwis from becoming extinct and without their crucial ongoing support it’s estimated that the brown kiwi will be extinct in the wild within two generations. You’ll learn how The National Kiwi Hatchery was launched in 2008 to become the most successful kiwi hatching facility in the world and has since hatched over 1850 eggs with a 98% survival rate. As you learn about the work being done to save this rare native bird, know that on your travels you’re contributing to this valuable conservation effort.
At the heart of Tamaki Māori Village are three pou or pillars - Mana Whenua (The Land), Mana Tangata (The People), and Mana Atua (The Spirit). This experience combines traditional and contemporary elements of Māori culture and is a gathering place for generations of Māori families to come together to share their culture, offering employment and the chance to be involved in preserving and sharing it with the world.
Goals #1 and #2 of our sustainability strategy, How We Tread Right (HWTR) respectively commit to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 or sooner, and to ensuring that 50% of our electricity is secured from renewable sources by 2025.
To ensure we are successful, we’ve built a Climate Action Plan. Our five-point plan will help us manage the carbon footprint of our business and trips, and prioritises reducing and removing emissions ahead of offsetting. In addition, we commit to learning and adapting as technology and innovation help us in our transition to a low-carbon business. Our plan builds on progress made to date and evaluates how we become a part of the global effort to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century, as outlined by the International Panel on Climate Change.
Beginning in 2022, all our offices and employee air business travel will be offset as part of our Climate Action Plan. In partnership with our carbon offset provider, South Pole, we will compensate these emissions by investing in a verified forest conservation offset project in Victoria, Australia.
AAT Kings is committed to only offering ethical wildlife experiences on our trips guided by TreadRight’s Animal Welfare Policy to support a tourism industry free of animal cruelty. The policy is based on the Five Domains of Animal Welfare and you can read more about the policy here.