When Intrepid decided to part ways with the TUI Group back in 2015, Chief Executive James Thornton said he felt the move was necessary in order for the travel company to pursue entrepreneurial plans.

Not wasting any time, shortly after the split, the Australian-owned company set out to redefine the day tour through its short tour brand, Urban Adventures, it opened a fun and welcoming space for its Melbourne-based employees and it re-positioned itself to become more mainstream, which has led to record sales (up 19 percent this year on last year).

The break up also empowered the Intrepid Group to follow a more sustainable path, one that has allowed the company to help strengthen indigenous culture, raise awareness on climate change and urge the travel industry to re-think orphanage tourism.

It’s this focus on sustainable travel experiences and entrepreneurial growth that has prompted the group’s latest move, the partial acquisition of Chimu Adventures.

Pictured: James Thornton - CEO, Intrepid Travel, Greg Carter - Co-founder, Chimu Adventures and Chad Carey - Co-founder, Chimu Adventures.

Pictured: Greg Carter – Co-founder Chimu Adventures, James Thornton – CEO, Intrepid Travel and Chad Carey – Co-founder, Chimu Adventures.

The strategic partnership was announced early this morning, with Intrepid buying a 50 percent stake in the South America and Antarctica specialist. The agreement also included a 50 percent investment in Chimu’s three South American destination management companies as well as a 50 percent stake in Chimu Adventures, Get About Asia, and three sales offices in the United Kingdom, Sydney and the Sunshine Coast.

The partnership commences effective immediately, and according to Thornton, together, the two companies will form one of the largest sellers of Antarctica travel in Australia and will act as an “important player in the Polar market globally“.

“We’ve just launched a new Adventure Cruise range and it’s growing rapidly, so it is our intention to expand in to polar charters as part of this cooperation.”

James Thornton, Intrepid Group CEO

Chimu Adventures’ two Co-Founders, Greg Carter and Chad Carey were equally thrilled to be partnering with the “fantastic team at Intrepid Group” because they share “many common ideas on sustainable travel and we believe it’s a perfect fit for both businesses”.

“We recently had KarryOn Founder, Matt Leedham come to our annual retreat to present his ‘Travel to change the world’ initiative, and when asked by one of our team members which company was most similar to Chimu from a sustainability and culture point of view, Matt said he thought Intrepid Travel was probably the closest.”

Chad Carey, Chimu Adventures Co-Founder

“It was a great verification for Greg and I that we were doing the right thing and that our company cultures were aligned.”


What does this mean for travellers?


Chimu Adventures will continue to remain independent from the Intrepid Group, so tours and future itineraries will not be affected. In fact, right now travellers can take advantage of the tour operator’s fly free offer on South American trips.

Intrepid’s decision to invest in Chimu’s DMCs will enable both companies to expand their global network of local destination management companies. This could eventually mean access to more in-destination offerings for travellers such as wider hotel choices, activities, excursions, transfers and more.

Additionally, the acquisition will lead to quicker growth for the two companies, which means more variety in trips in the near future.


What does this mean for Chimu Adventures?

Chimu Adventures 2

Chimu Adventures will remain independent of the multi-brand Intrepid Group under the new agreement, with Co-Founders Greg Carter and Chad Carey continuing to have complete autonomy to run the company where it will be business as usual.

However, one priority that has been agreed for the new joint venture partnership is to launch a range of charter cruises to the Arctic and Antarctica.  


What does this mean for Intrepid?


The addition of Chimu’s $30 million business will add close to 10 percent of revenue to the Intrepid Group, which is already in excess of $300 million.

Additionally, Intrepid will be able to access Chimu Adventures’ expertise in tailor-made product, an offering the Group is keen to be able to provide its clients.

What do you think of the big news and acquisition?