It's been a great week for Peter Sommer Travels. We've won the UK Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO)'s Tour Operator of the Year Gold Award for 2017. It's fair to say that we are thrilled, chuffed, tickled pink or whatever other term for very happy comes to mind.
Granted, it's not a Nobel Prize or an Academy Award, but we are not competing for those. Within our remit, the AITO prize is very significant, and it is an honour to receive it, even more so as we also received Gold for 2015, when AITO first introduced its awards, and Silver for 2016.
What's special about the AITO Awards is that they are not based on some jury's deliberations, but on independent reviews submitted to the AITO website by the guests who have travelled on our scheduled tours and cruises. It is the quality and quantity of such reviews that determines the award rankings, meaning that although the award is bestowed by AITO, it is in a sense decided by the travellers themselves - and it shows. In each year so far, we have found ourselves sharing the top three places with very fine operators, each doing their utmost to offer a top-range product to their guests. If you are curious to see some of our reviews (we have accrued more than 250 so far), you can look them up here.
Offering a first-rate cultural travel experience is, of course, what we are about, and our main motivation is certainly not what award we might win, but simply what we can share with our guests to give them the most fascinating, enjoying, fulfilling and unforgettable time possible. We strive to make our tours the best-prepared trips of their kind available, in all six countries we currently cover, by land or by sea, be it a cultural cruise or land tour, a gastronomic voyage, a walking trip or a family adventure, be it in Italy, Greece, Croatia, Turkey, Ireland or the United Kingdom. Our tours are usually the result of years of painstaking research and hands-on preparation, leaving no stone unturned to offer the best and most fascinating aspects of an area and never cutting corners on the quality of the experiences we offer, from archaeological site tours via meals to accommodation. It doesn't stop there: once our tours are up and running, our tour experts and guides go out of their way to present a riveting and accessible narrative of a region, to share their passion for history and culture with our guests, and to look after the needs of our groups at all times.
We see the AITO Award as a welcome recognition and a reflection of these efforts, but we have no intention to rest on our laurels. Following this blog, or our Facebook page, or subscribing to our newsletter, you can keep up-to-date with what we are up to and what we will offer next.
Here, we would like to express our gratitude to all of our team, from the office staff in our Monmouth headquarters to our guides out in the field, for the hard work they have been doing. Moreover, we would like to thank all our guests for the trust they have shown us and for the wonderful reviews they have submitted. Thank you all so very much - and maybe see you on one of our tours or cruises this year?