Aito Agents enjoyed record sales worth £60.2 million through supplier members of the Association of Independent Tour Operators in 2017.

The figures, reported at the annual Aito Domestic Conference in Hinckley, Leicestershire, were up from £58 million in 2016; £56 million in 2015; and £53 million in 2014.

The sales were made by all 87 of Aito’s agents through 38 of Aito’s operators – a third of the members – as part of the organisation’s Aito Agents All Stars Incentive Scheme.

The scheme’s most successful agents were reognised at an award ceremony at the conference. Beaver Travel scooped the National All Star of the Year 2017 accolade for the fifth year in a row, and Off Broadway Travel won the Most Improved All Star 2017.

Carolyn Park, of C The World, received the Shining Star 2017 Agent award for outstanding service by an individual, as voted by Aito operators and the Aito panel, while Hisham Mahmoud of Kirker Holidays won the Shining Star 2017 Operator award, as voted by Aito Agents.

In the regions the most successful agents were Beaver Travel, which won the South of England All Star 2017; Journeys A La Carte, which won the Central England and the East All Star 2017 category; and Worldwide Escapes, which was awarded Northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland All Star 2017.

Agents were also recognised at the conference for the first time for their engagement with Aito following the first year of the Aito Excellence Programme.

A total of 12 agents received gold, silver and bronze accolades after being monitored on specific ‘engagement’ criteria ranging from how prominently they display the Aito logo to how much information they give about Aito on their company websites and new operator partnerships.

Aito Agents chairman Gemma Antrobus said: “The Excellence programme was designed purely to help agents the most of out of the the Aito partnership. Its sole intention is to ensure agents get the maximum out of their membership.”

The agents to win gold in the new programme were Haslemere Travel; Marco Polo Travel; RB Collection; The Travel Concept; and C The World in Easter Compton.

Silver accolades went to C The World, Bath and Westbury Park, and Journeys A la Carte; and bronze went to: Inspired Travel; Beaver Travel; Peakes Travel Elite; Spear Travels in Upminster; and The Putney Travel Company.

In total 163 delegates attended the domestic conference, made up of 68 agents, 71 tour operators and 24 affiliates and guests.

The conference included a discussion by Sam Clark, managing director of the Experience Travel Group on how to provide clients with exceptional experiences; guest speaker Ted Welman, cofounder of Doctors Adrift; and a marketplace of 700 pre-arranged appointments.