Just in time for International Women’s Day over the weekend, Intrepid has released new women’s-only expeditions to Pakistan and Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
The two new destinations add to the existing portfolio of Iran, Jordan, Nepal, Kenya, Morocco, Turkey and India, with customer numbers on the women’s-only expedition range growing 116 per cent in 2019.
According to Intrepid Travel’s senior product manager, Jenny Gray, the women’s expedition range is the company’s fastest-growing.
“We have seen women connect with women in powerful and moving ways,” she said.
“Now in its third year, local female leaders offer insight and a unique understanding of women in these regions with respect to their cultural and religious values.
“We have found experiences that share stories of female empowerment, and directly benefit local women by seeking out female-owned accommodation, restaurants, suppliers, and businesses in Pakistan and Israel and the Palestinian territories.”
This emphasis is in line with Intrepid Travel’s new gender equality goals. Last year, the company met its target of doubling female tour leaders, to increase opportunities for women in tourism where they were previously limited. There were 154 female leaders in 2017 – in January 2020, that number was 342.
This year, Intrepid plans to enhance those goals with new commitments to increase employment opportunities for women in the travel industry. This includes doubling the number of female porters globally who assist travellers on mountain hikes in Tanzania, Peru and Nepal, to name a few.
“It’s crucial for us to enable women in all levels of the business – from our leaders on the ground all the way to gender parity on our board,” Intrepid Travel CEO James Thornton said.
The new women’s only expeditions are:
Pakistan (RRP: $4,270)
A 15-day women’s expedition to Pakistan’s remote northern mountains, joining a local female leader for a unique journey to the Hunza and Yasim valleys. Here, your client can see the communities and landscapes associated with the hallowed Karakoram and Hindu Kush mountains and meet the local women working on empowerment projects such as cooking schools, carpet weaving and cafes throughout the region.
Your client can immerse herself in remote mountain villages while staying overnight and sharing food and stories with a local family and drive the world-famous Karakoram Highway to Khunjerab National Park in search of yaks, Himalayan ibex and the elusive snow leopard. She can check out alpine lakes, ancient glaciers and the remnants of ruined empires, then witness the march of modern Pakistan in the country’s capital of Islamabad.
Israel and The Palestinian Territories (RRP: $3,195)
An eight-day women’s expedition to Israel and Palestinian territories with local female leaders and guides from Israeli, Palestinian and Bedouin backgrounds this trip will immerse your client in the different cultures of the region through the eyes of some incredible women.
She can meet Palestinian peace activists, break bread with Bedouin women and learn about Israeli women working to secure the right to pray at the Western Wall. Travelling in an all-female group means your client can access spaces that are off-limits to mixed-gender groups and connect with local women in an entirely new way. She can visit an artist’s village in Arad where the local community has developed a social tourism project that highlights what life is like on the edge of the Judaean Desert.
She can explore the West Bank city of Ramallah with a local peace activist, then enjoy a home-cooked meal and discussion with activists from the Women Wage Peace organisation. Historical sites of Jerusalem will be witnessed on a unique dual-narrative tour, with both an Israeli guide and a Palestinian guide.
She can immerse herself in Bedouin culture and discover the secret art of Henna, enjoy lunch and discussion with Bedouin women involved in grassroots activities in tourism and agriculture creating livelihoods.