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Intrepid Travel is incredibly proud to announce that we’ve been named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in 2021 according to Fast Company.

This globally recognised list ranks businesses — in all sectors, across the globe — that are making the most profound impact on both industry and culture in today’s world. These organisations not only find innovative ways to create value internally, but create shared value for their wider industry, customers and the planet.

According to Fast Company, Intrepid Travel was named 5th on the list of 10 Most Innovative Companies in the travel sector for our leadership in sustainability, product innovation and advocacy projects which our business implemented in 2020, while COVID-19 brought the world — and the travel industry — to a halt. As the world’s largest adventure travel company, a certified B-Corp, and a pioneer in sustainable travel for nearly 32 years, Intrepid Travel has remained rooted in sustainability amidst the unprecedented global pandemic, advocating for a more sustainable and equitable post-pandemic travel industry.

Here are the five ways we continue to innovate and are helping to lead travel’s responsible and sustainable recovery:

5. Empowered the travel industry to decarbonise

In July 2020, Intrepid Travel released a 10-Step Quick Start Guide to Decarbonise Your Travel Business authored by our Environmental Impact Specialist, Dr. Susanne Etti. The complimentary guide was created as a low-barrier method for other travel companies to start on their carbon journey, providing straightforward steps to implement carbon reduction strategies within their organisation. Since its publishing date, more than 180 businesses have downloaded the free guide and Dr. Etti has conducted over 30 free consultations.

4. Launched our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

In July 2020, Intrepid Travel became the first global tour operator to achieve Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan status — officially endorsed by Reconciliation Australia — and we’re now moving into phase two of our four-stage commitment to reconciliation. As an Australian-owned business with a significant global presence, we recognise the importance of having a RAP that pushes us to do better as a business. Our RAP is a reminder that genuine reconciliation must involve working in partnership with local people, by listening to and learning from diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including Traditional Custodians and Elders.

3. Open-sourced an Animal Welfare Policy Toolkit to protect the world’s wildlife

In August 2020, in partnership with global animal welfare organisation World Animal Protection, Intrepid Travel launched a free, customisable Animal Welfare Policy Toolkit to encourage other travel companies to end — for good — the exploitation of wildlife in tourism and entertainment venues. As the first tour operator to ban elephant rides in 2014, we wanted to provide other businesses with the proper resources and contacts to draft and implement more animal-friendly practices within their organisations.

2. Became the first and only tour operator in the world with science-based climate targets

In October 2020 our purpose team, led by our Chief People and Purpose Officer, Natalie Kidd, helped Intrepid Travel to become the first and only tour operator in the world to set verifiable science-based emission reduction targets through the Science Based Targets initiative. This program independently assesses corporate emission reduction targets in line with what climate scientists say is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. These provide Intrepid with a clearly defined pathway to future-proof growth by specifying how much and how quickly the company needs to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to keep temperature rises to within 1.5 degrees. It puts Intrepid in strong company as a global leader in corporate climate action. This was a critical achievement as part of our seven-point climate commitment.

1. Created a new, innovative product that benefits all in a post-pandemic world

We created, developed and launched Intrepid Retreats, a first-of-its-kind for Intrepid Travel, designed to immerse small groups in one location, with handpicked accommodation that explores nearby locales and experiences. The new range encourages ‘slow travel’ and allows our adventurers to immerse into local communities in a post-pandemic world: away from the crowds, in a more controlled setting and with enhanced safety protocols. Plotted in lesser-known regions — to avoid contributing to overtourism — the tours are designed to economically and socially support local communities and businesses affected by the pandemic, while also providing enriching activities for travellers who spent the pandemic indoors. We now have launched over 100 new “closer to home” trips around Australia, New Zealand, Europe and North America.

Thank you to all of our team members, travellers and industry partners who helped us receive this incredible recognition.

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