Top 25 responsible travel achievements in 25 years

intrepid passenger talking with local children

Carpe diem. Seize the day boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” These were the classic words of Robin Williams in the now iconic film Dead Poet’s Society, released in 1989.

Also back in ’89, two 20-something young men called Darrell and ‘Manch’ took these words to heart. They not only made their own lives extraordinary, but those of many thousands of others through the launch of Intrepid Travel, THE classic responsible travel company.

In the beginning, for Darrell Wade and Geoff ‘Manch’ Manchester…it was about ‘doing the right thing’ on Intrepid trips and in business. As the Intrepid team expanded, their values became embedded into the company’s DNA and thus was formed our ‘Responsible Travel’ philosophies, an approach that today continues to affect all aspects of how we operate.

Here’s a shortlist of awesome achievements thus far!

25. First company with a dedicated Responsible Travel department, now known as Responsible Business.

24. Our tours have injected more than AU$500 million dollars into local economies by choosing to support locally owned/run businesses.

23. We currently use over 2040 local businesses globally for accommodation, transport and other service providers, giving an income to tens of thousands of local people.

22. We have employed over 9,400 people, with more than 80% being local to the country or region.

21. Our biggest fundraiser, The Intrepid Asian Tsunami Appeal, raised AU$225,000 for Plan and MSF’s tsunami response, through The Intrepid Foundation.

20. Since 2009 we have invested over AU$1 million into internationally accredited renewable energy programs in India, China, Brazil, Thailand and Turkey.

19. Since 2009 we have offset over 130,000 tonnes carbon emissions from our carbon offset trips.

18. In 2010 Intrepid became a carbon neutral business.

17. In 17 years of travel to China we have avoided felling the equivalent of a small forest for disposable chopsticks, by issuing our travellers with reusable chopsticks.

16. We helped restore eyesight to 2900 people, by supporting The Fred Hollows Foundation’s work through The Intrepid Foundation.

15. Won the Tourism for Tomorrow Award – Global Tourism Business Award category (2011).

14. Intrepid has conducted in depth Community Based Tourism research in 5 communities of Asia and 4 communities of Peru. Learn more

13. From tuk tuks to trains, 21 different kinds of public transport are used on our tours globally – lowering our carbon footprint and maximising opportunities to meet the locals.

12. Won First Choice Responsible Tourism Awards – Best Tour Operator & Overall Joint winner (2006).

11. 150,000 Responsible Travel cloth bags have been given to Intrepid travellers, so they can say ‘No’ to plastic bags (since 2005).

responsible tourism infographic

click image to enlarge

10. 50,000 trees have been planted in Australia, Kenya and Thailand thanks to Intrepid funding.

9. Intrepid travellers currently rate our Responsible Travel performance at an average score of 4.5/5 (2013).

8. The CEO and 3 employees have all become Climate Reality Leaders through Al Gore’s program.

7. 2.6 tonnes of food waste has been munched in our worm farm, avoiding the waste going to landfill and 4.26 tonnes CO2e emissions into the atmosphere.

6. 25 years of actively working to protect local children from exploitation through tourism.

5. Intrepid is the first global adventure tour operator to become a signatory to the UN Global Compact. Check out our Communications on Progress.

4. Intrepid has raised and donated over AU$4 Million to more than 75 not-for-profit organisations in more than 30 countries.

3. Project SAMA, our gender advocacy project has reached out to more than 12,000 people.

2. Every limb counts: provided 43 prosthetic legs in Laos, 27 prosthetic arms in Morocco and 3 prosthetic legs for elephants in Thailand! All via The Intrepid Foundation.

1. 1 million people have travelled with Intrepid. How about you?

On our website you’ll find more about Intrepid’s Responsible Travel and Responsible Business approach.

Support The Intrepid Foundation’s far-reaching work…Intrepid Travel covers all administration costs so you can be assured that 100% of your donation gets to where you intend, AND Intrepid Travel will double it – up to AU$400,000 in each financial year and a maximum of AU$5,000 per donor in each financial year.

About the author'
Jane Crouch - Jane is a responsible business guru who writes about all aspects of how travel can bring positive environmental, social and economic benefits. Informed through travel on seven continents, leading Intrepid trips through SE Asia, work in outdoor education, energy conservation, international development, philanthropy and climate change action, plus a big love of walking, mountains and world music.

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Bryan Spykerman / Reply

But can you say ‘No’ to throw-away plastic water bottles?'

Here, here Bryan! Yes, we actively encourage travellers to use alternatives for purified drinking water in all our destinations – with region specific information in Trip Notes – like for example UV treated water in India, ‘bubblers’ in hotels in Vietnam and our bulk treated water on our overland vehicles in Africa.

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