Investing in local communities and tackling climate change head on has paid off for Intrepid Travel with it being awarded the Global Tourism Business Award at the annual Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.
The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards (run by the World Travel and Tourism Council) recognise those leading travel organisations that have gone the extra mile to demonstrate sustainable tourism best practices in their philosophy, strategy and operations.
Intrepid Travel was recognised for the depth of its sustainability practices that span its entire operations, from fair trade sourcing of its supply chain to its environmentally–friendly practices and the non-profit Intrepid Foundation.
Intrepid Travel’s sustainability and responsible travel achievements include:
- In 2010 Intrepid Travel completed a four year project addressing climate change culminating in becoming carbon neutral. In addition to measuring, reducing and auditing its carbon emissions at 30 global offices, Intrepid Travel also introduced Carbon Offset Trips where the cost of carbon offsetting is included in the cost of the trip.
- In the 2010 financial year Intrepid Travel offset 12,997 tonnes of CO2-e emissions of its passengers’ trip footprint, the equivalent to taking 2,500 passenger vehicles off the road for a year.
- Intrepid Travel measures its responsible travel performance through passenger feedback on each trip. In the 2010 financial year it reached its highest responsible travel rating in three years of 4.49 out of 5 across all of it trips.
- Since 2007, Intrepid Travel has offset over 45,000 tonnes of emissions through its Carbon Offset Flights program, investing over AUD $500,000 in renewable offset projects from this initiative alone.
- Since 2002, over AUD $2.2 million has been donated through the Intrepid Foundation to support health care, education, human rights, child welfare, and sustainable development in the areas Intrepid Travel visits.
- Intrepid Travel employs 90% local leaders and 100% local guides on its trips.
“When we started Intrepid 22 years ago, we wanted to ensure that we were very much engaging local people in our operations and essentially ‘doing the right thing’ by them. This Award recognises the efforts our staff and hosts, the locals in the communities we visit have undertaken to realise this goal,” said Intrepid Travel’s General Manager and co-founder, Geoff Manchester.
The Tourism for Tomorrow Winners underwent a rigorous four-step judging process with an international team of 22 independent judges, led by Costas Christ, a leading expert on sustainable tourism. After all Award entries were received by WTTC, they were carefully reviewed and finalists were selected, followed by an on-site inspection, including local meetings with project stakeholders. Judges assessing Intrepid Travel’s application experienced its Active Morocco and Classic Peru trips and assessed the responsible travel and sustainability aspects of these trips.
The other two finalists in the Global Tourism Business category were Sabre Holdings/Travelocity Global and Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts.