Flexcations. Hotels with private workspaces. And now, toe-dip trips. These are all things most of us had never heard of—and that maybe were never even a thing—before COVID-19. There’s no denying the pandemic has changed life forever, but especially the way we travel. And one such change is an increased focus on sustainability and concerns with overtourism.
So it should come as no surprise some brands are meeting the demands of travelers who want to be more conscious.
This week, Intrepid launched Intrepid Premium, a selection of 70 sustainable tours across 40 countries focused on luxury travel. The travel tour company has long been known for its sustainability initiatives, ranging from partnering with local communities to raising money for disaster relief, and holds the title of the world’s largest travel B-Corp.
The launch of Intrepid Premium doesn’t come as much of a surprise and is actually right on par with the American Express Global Travel Trends report which shows 68 percent of those surveyed want to be more “sustainability-friendly” and 72 percent are excited to venture to destinations that boost the local economy.
Intrepid describes its new tours as the “sustainable choice for premium, locally-led adventures.”
“With our aim to become a world leader in sustainable, experience-rich travel, we identified that many of our customers were seeking a higher-end product with purpose,” said James Thornton, Intrepid Travel's CEO, in a statement.
The new journeys highlight the usual must-see destinations of a city, but Premium itineraries also include activities that aren’t available on the company's other offerings, like a stay at Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, an eco-friendly jungle hideaway in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
As with every other Intrepid trip, Premium tours are 100 percent carbon offset, but there’s a heightened focus on accommodations that utilize renewable energy and activities that encourage community involvement, like visits to “social enterprise projects” that promote gender equality and economic empowerment for the local community.
“As we continue to prepare for a gradual and sustainable recovery, we saw Premium as an opportunity to build a new style of tour that ensure local communities truly benefit from high-value tourism. We wanted to show that a premium product can also deliver on a premium purpose,” said Thornton.
Bookings for Intrepid Premium trips are currently open, and departures start in January 2022. Offerings include tours such as 15 days in Morocco, a trip that includes spending time with a local family, and visiting a community-run business that employs mothers.
There’s also eight days in Tuscany. For just under $5,000, that trip includes a night’s stay at a converted castle, a moonlit tour of the Colosseum, and wine tasting at a family vineyard.
While booking a trip months in advance has become increasingly tricky due to ever-changing border closures and travel restrictions, Intrepid’s flexible booking policy, launched last June, may provide comfort and protection for travelers. Some exclusions apply, but for most trips canceled up to 21 days before departure, the company allows deposits to be transferred to a future trip, and there are no change fees.
Fast Company. "The World's Largest Adventure Company is now a 100% Carbon Neutral B-Corporation." August 6, 2018