To provide experiences that enrich destination communities and travelers alike, the new initiatives span 16 countries and include activities such as meals at local establishments supporting women, migrants and seniors; and immersive tours preserving Indigenous and ethnic minority legacies.
Intrepid Travel, the B Corp-certified tour operator with a mission to create positive change through the joy of travel, has added 22 new “impact initiatives” to its itineraries in 2022. The company defines these as activities that directly support environmental or wildlife conservation, preserve Indigenous culture or support marginalized social groups — bulking up an already robust portfolio of sustainable and ethical travel experiences around the globe.
Recent research shows that travelers are increasingly wanting their travels to have a positive impact. A 2022 Travel Trends Report from Expedia states that travelers are more willing than ever to “go big” on their next trip and wring every bit of richness and meaning out of their experiences. While Booking.com’s 2021 Sustainable Travel Report revealed that 84 percent of travelers believe increasing cultural understanding and preservation of cultural heritage is crucial, and 69 percent of travelers will actively avoid popular destinations and attractions to mitigate overtourism and ensure they are doing their part to disperse the positive benefits of travel to less frequently visited destinations and communities.
Intrepid is one of the travel operators at the forefront of the trend toward more conscientious tourism — introducing over 40 decarbonized tour options and a global vaccine-equity campaign in 2021. The majority of Intrepid’s top trips already contain ‘impact initiatives’ — the company says the addition of 22 more in 2022 is proof of its ongoing commitment to operate trips that give back to both people and the planet. Airbnb has also been working to increase community enrichment through its operations — the company partnered with UNESCO in 2021 to promote less-traveled experiences and itineraries that engage with and benefit the host destinations and communities as much as the travelers.
Examples of Intrepid Travel’s new ‘impact initiatives’ for 2022 include:
Authentic teahouse experience in Morocco supporting local women — Intrepid travelers on the company’s 13-day Morocco Uncovered, 10-day South Morocco Discovery, 15-day Premium Morocco In-Depth and 12-day Premium Morocco Explorer tours will visit Tawesna — a community-run teahouse on the river in Aït Benhaddou that provides local women with a living income. The women use natural ingredients sourced from local cooperatives to prepare tea and pastries, taking great pride in sharing their stories and giving visitors an authentic Amazigh experience.
Carbon-neutral whale watching in Iceland — On Intrepid Travel’s Premium Iceland tour, travelers will board a carbon-neutral electric boat to spot minkes and humpbacks with an expert whale-watching guide. The silent boat keeps a respectful distance from the whales, allowing visitors to observe them in their natural environment without disturbing them.
Paper crafts class supporting the local deaf and mute community in Hue, Vietnam — During Intrepid’s Vietnam Family Holiday, travelers will visit a local NGO that supports Hue’s deaf and mute community by providing training, employment, support and a place to connect with others. Here, visitors will meet members of the community and join them for a traditional paper flower-making class – a fun and interesting way to get to connect with the hosts without exchanging words.
Treats at a generation-bridging café in Vienna — On Intrepid’s 15-day Best of Central Europe trip – which visits Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – travelers indulge in kaffe and kuchen (coffee and cake) at Vollpension — also known as “Granny’s public living room” — a generation-bridging café in Vienna whose mission is to create meeting and learning areas for new types of cooperation and togetherness among generations, providing support to seniors on their way out of financial poverty and loneliness.
Heritage tour in South Dakota to help preserve the Lakota community’s legacy — Visit the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to tour the Heritage Center with a local expert Lakota guide on Intrepid’s new South Dakota Lodge Stay. The Heritage Center, one of the first cultural centers and museums located on a reservation, helps Lakota artists to preserve their artistic heritage, improve their economic situation and share their traditional arts and crafts with the world. Travelers will also enjoy lunch at a Lakota-owned restaurant that specializes in traditional foods.
“The tourism industry is it at a pivotal moment with the gradual resumption of travel. Businesses such as ours have an exciting opportunity, not to mention a responsibility, to find more ways to contribute in a positive way to the places and people we visit,” said Erica Kritikides, Senior Product Manager at Intrepid Travel. “Intrepid’s sustainable, experience-rich style of travel allows people of all nationalities and backgrounds to connect through immersive, hands-on experiences. Being more intentional with the experiences we offer our travelers allows us to collectively make a greater positive impact in our shared world.”