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LEADERS: Intrepid named as one of World's Most Innovative travel companies

The Intrepid Group and Intrepid Travel have been named as one of the World’s Most Innovative Travel Companies in 2019 by Fast Company.

The Intrepid Group and Intrepid Travel have been named as one of the World’s Most Innovative Travel Companies in 2019 by Fast Company.

Their annual list ranks the businesses that are making the most profound impact on both industry and culture in today’s world.

While hybrid Airbnb/hotel startup Sonder took out the #1 spot, Delta came in at #2 for their RFID chipped bags with digital travel guide specialists ‘Get Your Guide’ gracing the third spot.

According to Fast Company, Intrepid Group, and their flagship travel brand Intrepid Travel was named number 4 on the list of the 10 Most Innovative Companies in the travel sector for letting people travel with a light footprint and a positive impact.

Read on for five reasons why Intrepid made the list for their continued innovation in sustainable and responsible travel.


5. Eliminating their carbon footprint

Pic: Intrepid Travel

Pic: Intrepid Travel

Intrepid has been completely carbon neutral since 2010, and in those nine years, have offset over 290,000 tonnes of carbon emissions by investing in renewable energy projects all over the world.

Intrepid says “as a travel company, we know it’s our responsibility to help protect the planet that we use and enjoy every day. That’s why we made a commitment to minimize our environmental impact by measuring and offsetting the carbon emissions of our trips and our offices worldwide.”


4. Leading with purpose

Leigh Barnes (CPO), Intrepid Travel

Leigh Barnes (CPO), Intrepid Travel

In 2017, Intrepid Group added two new senior executive roles to their global leadership team: Chief Purpose Office (CPO) Leigh Barnes and Chief Growth Officer (CGO) Michael Edwards, who work in concert to sustain growth in both purpose and profit.

Barnes works closely with Intrepid Group’s non-profit brand, The Intrepid Foundation, to give back to local communities we visit and has been instrumental in helping them achieve certified B Corp status.

Intrepid says “the two roles were created to continue to achieve Intrepid’s philosophy of helping the people and the planet through travel and to help create a new industry standard of a purpose beyond profit.”


3. Banning elephant rides

Pic: Intrepid Travel

In 2014, Intrepid became the first global tour operator to ban elephant rides on all their trips. Although this decision was controversial at the time, many tour operators have followed suit in recent years and local operators have been encouraged to lift their standards of animal welfare.

Intrepid says that as a business that is committed to responsible travel, “we have always advocated against participating in activities that exploit animals. That’s why we embarked upon a research project with World Animal Protection to investigate the ethics of elephant riding.”

Their project revealed that even if the elephants are born in captivity, the practice of “breaking” them to accept human control is exceptionally cruel.


2. Curbing over-tourism

Uzbekistan. Pic: Intrepid Travel

Uzbekistan. Pic: Intrepid Travel

In recent years, over-tourism – the negative impacts of too many people visiting a destination on both the local environment and the local residents has been a major concern for travel companies.

Intrepid works to manage over-tourism by creating balanced itineraries that visit the highlights people expect to see on their trips and as well as more off-the-beaten-path destinations that allow travellers to see a destination in a new but totally authentic way.

What’s more, they are expanding tourism in destinations that were previously less frequented by tourists, like Moldova, Sumatra and Uzbekistan, positively impacting their economies and expanding the possibilities of travel destinations in the minds of tourists everywhere.


1. Becoming a B Corp

In June of 2018, the Intrepid Group completed the rigorous three-year certification process of becoming a B Corp, joining the ranks of companies – like Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s – using business as a force for good.

Intrepid says “they have always designed trips that favoured a style of travel that gives back to the people and places we visit, but this accreditation certifies that our tours meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to benefit people and the planet.”

What is a B Corp? Find out here


Who else do you think deserves an innovation award in travel?