As the world’s leading adventure travel company, Intrepid Travel is passionate about socially responsible tourism. Our model of responsible tourism focuses on supporting local communities through sustainable travel, encouraging environmental conservation and responsible tourism while simultaneously encouraging social empowerment and economic development in countries where we operate.
Last year, Intrepid Tours achieved their goal to double the number of female tour leaders from 154 in 2017 to 342 by January 2020. These trips provide support and opportunities for women and their communities by creating job opportunities and encouraging education.
Supporting Local Communities
Intrepid Travel has been a pioneering force in socially responsible, experience-rich travel for over three decades. From working with local communities to develop their tourism industries, creating employment opportunities for women in the travel industry, and investing in wildlife conservation projects – Intrepid has always put people and the planet ahead of profit.
They strive to ensure that tourism dollars sent are directly deposited into local hands and economies, so fewer dollars go to governments and more supports local communities through sustainable tourism. By traveling with Intrepid Travelers around the world, travelers are making a positive impact on communities everywhere they go.
Intrepid travelers and the community guides they employ benefit from this partnership. By working for Intrepid, these local residents receive a steady income that allows them to provide the highest quality service and experiences to guests; at the same time, travelers get to interact with real locals in an authentic and enjoyable way.
Many Intrepid tours take travelers off the beaten path and into the heart of local culture, so they can get a unique perspective and learn about a region through direct interaction with locals. To do this, they hire only English-speaking local leaders who are experts on their destinations who speak fluently about their cultures, languages, food and more.
Local leaders often serve as more than a traditional tour guide, helping travelers plan their itinerary and ensure they have an enriching experience. Furthermore, they arrange transportation, lodging, and meals so you can focus on having fun while exploring your destination.
They’re an invaluable resource for travelers with questions about their destination or desire to learn more about local culture, and can assist with any emergency situations that might arise during your trip. Furthermore, Intrepid ensures their leaders receive a fair salary for the work they do.
Adventuresome travelers are more likely to interact with locals and discover the uniqueness of a destination, forming deeper relationships and connections while traveling. Furthermore, they’re likely to share those experiences with their friends and family back home, creating lasting memories and strengthening ties within the community.
Prioritizing Environmental Conservation
At Intrepid Travel’s core mission, they strive to have a positive effect on local communities, the environment and cultures. Since 1988, they have invested in environmental improvement projects as well as wildlife conservation initiatives in an effort to enhance people’s lives while protecting our planet.
Environmental conservation is of immense value, not only in preventing climate change and maintaining quality water resources, but it can also have economic benefits and promote a sustainable tourism industry.
For instance, reforestation projects in tropical rainforests can provide drinking water to people and boost crop yields. Furthermore, they protect local biodiversity while creating a sense of community.
Intrepid Travel is committed to environmental conservation and responsible travel, so travelers can have a more immersive and ethical vacation experience. Additionally, the company takes steps to reduce its carbon emissions.
In 2018 Intrepid Travel became the world’s largest certified B Corp, a designation which affirms their adherence to high standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability for balancing profit with purpose. To this end, they have launched several low-carbon alternative tours designed to help travelers reduce their carbon footprints and contribute to environmental protection.
Intrepid Travel is striving to become a science-based target company through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), an independent assessment group that independently assesses corporate emissions reduction targets in line with what climate scientists say is necessary to meet the goals set out in the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, they have an environmental impact specialist and an entire department dedicated to climate action.
Furthermore, Intrepid Travel has added 22 “impact initiatives” – activities that promote environmental or wildlife conservation, preserve indigenous culture or assist marginalized social groups – to its itineraries for 2022. These new programs will take travelers deeper into destinations and cultures so they can better comprehend and value local communities.
Conservation planning tools come in many forms, from paper ranking systems to software programs using GIS mapping. They can be employed to assess a site’s ecological assets, potential for conservation and potential development threats and prioritize projects based on these criteria.
Fostering Social Empowerment
Intrepid Travel is one of the world’s largest adventure travel companies and has been at the forefront of responsible business practices since its founding. Their values are integrated into everything they do, ensuring their travelers’ experiences benefit local communities, human rights initiatives, wildlife conservation projects and environmental preservation initiatives alike.
Intrepid Travel is dedicated to sustainability and promotes social empowerment and economic development by working with local partners for maximum impact. They collaborate closely with organizations and community groups worldwide in order to build long-lasting partnerships that make a positive difference in local communities.
Intrepid has, for instance, supported programs that empower female leaders in Morocco, Iran and Jordan. During these trips, the company’s guides work to break down the barriers women face in these countries while supporting women-run organizations – thus supporting local economies while advocating gender equality and diversity.
They’re dedicated to driving social change through their involvement in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These 17 objectives urge all nations and stakeholders to come together in pursuit of a more sustainable future.
These goals involve combatting climate change and other global issues like poverty and inequality. Furthermore, they strive to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, promote clean water and sanitation solutions, as well as protect endangered species.
The tourism industry can be a great starting point for making an impact on society and the environment. This sector is highly inclusive, often employing people from disadvantaged backgrounds such as minorities or women. Furthermore, tourism fosters entrepreneurship and innovation which leads to strong economic growth and job creation.
Intrepid Travel strives to maximize their social impact while offering travelers an unforgettable experience. For instance, they partner with organizations that support rural tourism projects, encourage female-only chauffeurs in India and have a “ripple score” system for each trip that measures how much of expenditure stays within the local economy.
Intrepid is proud to be a member of the World Travel and Tourism Council, which developed guidelines for travel businesses to adopt an anti-animal cruelty policy. They have removed lion walks and elephant rides from their itineraries in support of UNESCO’s International Year of Biodiversity by raising awareness about endangered species.
Intrepid is dedicated to being a socially responsible company and embedding principles of sustainable development into all of its trips. This includes investing in local communities, human rights initiatives, wildlife conservation projects and environmental preservation through the Intrepid Foundation.
In 2015, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were unveiled and outlined a global blueprint to combat issues like poverty, inequality, environmental degradation and war. Every year since then, Intrepid has published a communication on progress report to highlight their efforts toward these objectives.
As the world’s leading adventure travel and destination management company, Intrepid Travel has taken a leadership role in advancing sustainability within the industry. They have committed to science-based emission reduction targets that aim to limit their global emissions at or below 1.5degC, as well as taking an initiative on animal welfare by eliminating elephant rides from their tours and raising awareness of lion walks’ cruel practices.
Due to the 2020 COVID-19 crisis, Intrepid Travel’s Editors around the world were forced to turn away many people who had planned trips with them. As a result, leaders, guides and homestay hosts who depend on tourism for their livelihoods had to make major sacrifices.
Intrepid has also collaborated with a number of partners and stakeholders in countries where it operates tours to share their expertise on creating travel experiences that benefit local communities. One example is USAID Turizam, which is helping revitalize Bosnia and Herzegovina as an environmentally friendly tourist destination.
Thornton says his company’s travel operations have always been mindful of their effects on local communities. For instance, funneling too much business to one family could contribute to social inequities. As such, Thornton now takes great care in selecting which local partners he works with.
Additionally, Intrepid Travel employs an in-house environmental impact specialist who constantly evaluates how they can reduce their carbon footprint while still offering travelers an unforgettable experience.