Published 2 years ago.
About a 3 minute read.
Image: The usual flight between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh in Cambodia has been replaced by a boat ride up the Tonle Sap River on Intrepid's new six-day 'Premium Cambodia' adventure. | Lukas Kloeppel/Pexels
The world’s largest B Corp travel company has introduced 42 new, low-carbon alternative tours. The move is part of a wider decarbonization plan that includes removing all
flights under 90 minutes from the top 50 trips, where possible, by the end of 2022.
Intrepid Travel, the world’s leading
sustainable tour operator, has reimagined its product line
during its post-COVID rebuild to incorporate both new and amended
itineraries with lower carbon footprints.
Intrepid has been carbon neutral since 2010; in October 2020, it became the
world’s first tour operator with verified
science-based climate targets, operating in
line with the 1.5°C future deemed necessary by the
IPCC in 2019. As part of its decarbonization
work in the last year alone, Intrepid has introduced over 40 low-carbon
alternative tours —
including closer-to-home adventures, and walking
and cycling trips in the US, UK and Australia. The tour operator is
also switching out carbon-intensive inclusions for more sustainable
activities on a number of its tours, each of which provides an added benefit of
further enriching the overall trip experience. And in July, Intrepid released
for carbon reduction and offsetting for tourism businesses, to encourage the
industry at large to rebuild more sustainably post-pandemic.
“While reducing our carbon footprint has been a priority of our company for
years, decarbonization is becoming increasingly central in our product
design now. As an industry, we must look beyond offsetting, advocacy and
administrative ‘green’ practices to focus on where we can have the most positive
impact — our trips,” said Intrepid CEO James Thornton. “Since the pandemic
began, we’ve been passionately talking about the need for the travel industry to
rebuild itself more
Now, we’re taking action.”
Intrepid continues to reduce emissions across its operations and trips, replacing transportation options on many of its itineraries to
lower-carbon alternatives. Intrepid’s decarbonization plan will include removing flights of 90 minutes or less from its top 50 itineraries by 2022. For example, Intrepid has traded internal flights for high-speed rail on the majority of its trips in China — and continues
to make similar changes elsewhere, whenever there is a feasible land, water or
road alternative available.
During the past year, Intrepid has increased its portfolio of walking- and
cycling-based trips, recognizing that they are some of the lowest carbon-output
trip styles — while also being in high demand, as travelers seek active, outdoor
adventures following months of indoor quarantining.
The pandemic accelerated the company’s focus on more travel options closer to
home in its major source markets of Australia, the UK and the US, resulting in
the addition of 25 new walking tours and 15 new cycling tours in these
destinations — with focus and respect paid to the Indigenous communities that
have stewarded certain visited areas for centuries. Examples include:
Trek the Larapinta Trail (Australia)
Cycle the Lake District (UK)
Walk Yosemite National Park (US)
In addition to the new and amended tours, Intrepid also recognized its power to
reduce the carbon output of its trips by looking to its supply chain. For the
recently launched Intrepid
Premium trip range
— tours geared toward high-end travelers — there was a concerted focus in
identifying and contracting more accommodation using renewable energy
sources. The company is also trialing electric vehicles for
its travelers’ arrival transfers in several destinations such as Jordan and
Iran. Each of these efforts will continue to be integrated into all Intrepid
Travel trips moving forward.
“While our plan to decarbonize our trips has been in the works for several years
now, the global pandemic has heightened the importance of these
efforts. As travel came to a halt in 2020, it provided our industry with the
opportunity to reassess our operations and commit to rebuilding in a way that is
beneficial to the planet,” Thornton said.
Published Apr 22, 2021 2pm EDT / 11am PDT / 7pm BST / 8pm CEST