An incredible adventure starts locally
Although Intrepid Travel has long been involved in responsible tourism, senior product manager Erica Kritikides says the small group adventure travel company is keen to get businesses across the tourism industry to look at ways to rebuild responsibly.
“It’s hard to believe given present circumstances, but just prior to the onset of COVID, overtourism was one of the biggest contemporary challenges facing the tourism industry, with international tourist arrivals reaching 1.4 billion in 2018 and some significant sites, natural landscapes and popular cities being overwhelmed with visitors,” Kritikides tells Travel Courier. “With international travel having been all but stopped in its tracks, we have a unique opportunity to assess what our industry has not done well in the past and to correct these issues moving forward – whether that be better managing overtourism, ensuring we are mindful to issues of animal welfare and the environment and, perhaps most critically, that we are doing what we can to help our travellers to lower their carbon footprint.”
As the tour operator brings new itineraries to life, she says Intrepid focuses on working with locally-owned businesses to ensure the economic benefits of the trips impact the communities where they travel and operate.
“All our trips are led by local leaders and the majority of our operations teams are local to the destinations where we travel,” she says. “We also actively seek out and promote new and emerging destinations and itinerary routes in popular destinations to ensure the benefits of tourism can stretch beyond the usual suspects.”
Intrepid has also been involved in establishing a number of community-based tourism initiatives.
“This has involved Intrepid partnering with local communities in off-the-beaten-track locations to create accommodation and experience packages for Intrepid customers, which the community then owns, operates and benefits from — both in terms of employment opportunities and a new source of income,” she says. “In addition, where possible, we include purpose-focussed experiences in our trips that support gender equality, wildlife and environmental conservation, and other social enterprises – and the Intrepid Foundation, our not-for-profit, provides our travellers with an avenue to donate funds to support projects in the places we visit.”