Intrepid has gathered key members from its office, partners from Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG), tour guides, travel leaders, and more for a mega rundown of everything new with Intrepid’s world of adventure travel.
Taking centre stage at this year’s summit is the gorgeous adventure travel offerings in Australia and New Zealand’s own backyard. And with many attendees fresh off a litany of adventure-focused Intrepid famils, from the Red Centre to the Apple Isle, the delegates were rearing for what the Aussie wholesaler has in store going forward.
Intrepid’s general manager of sales and partnerships, Yvette Thompson, kicked off the summit by asking how we can accelerate all the good things the travel industry does and where we have room to go forward. This is a key theme for the many speakers of the day, ranging from non-government organisations (NGOs) tackling animal extinction to leaders at Flight Centre.
The day was kicked off with a heartfelt and personal acknowledgement of Country from Intrepid tour guide Isaiah Patterson from Adnyamanthna Country. Patterson opted for a more personal acknowledgement and reflected on his grandmother’s rediscovery of her Indigenous culture after being taken in the stolen generation, while talking of the important role culture and identity has in his life.
The Intrepid Foundation
Following Patterson’s acknowledgement and a quick roundup of some fun personal yarns from the famil goers, Biheng Zhang from the Intrepid Foundation spoke on the selfless work the foundation does.
With 40+ partners across 30 countries and seven continents, the foundation has received donations from 150,000+ travellers and raised over $13m since 2002. Particularly of note was the recent initiative by the Intrepid Foundation in Morocco that raised over $600k.
Speaking as one of the foundation’s partners was Chris Johnson from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Johnson discussed the work his NGO does with whale migration and how his organisation’s work in putting science into action is possible with partnerships with the Intrepid Foundation and other partners.
Tackling Modern Slavery & Reconciliation With FCTG
Intrepid and FCTG players have joined forces to tackle major ethical issues, namely modern slavery and reconciliation, plaguing the travel industry.
Speaking on modern slavery, Annette Sharp, the global social impact manager of Intrepid, and Michelle Degenhardt, the global sustainability officer of FCTG, outlined how this seemingly otherwordly atrocity can continue under our noses. The pair methods of forced labour, human trafficking, forced marriage, debt bondage and the lucrative business of orphanage tourism which all often go undetected in the travel industry.
In addressing this, the two companies have formed a consortium to ensure its employees across the world are paid appropriate wages and that the products and services being offered by the companies avoid participating in modern slavery.
On reconciliation, the two companies have an approach comprising four pillars: Relationships, Respect, Opportunities and Governance.
Part of this is a cross-cultural program across Australia and New Zealand called ‘Native Nations’ where First Nations tourism and education take centre stage in facilitating the next generation of Indigenous tour guides.
Overtourism and B Corp Initiatives
Talks from Virgin Australia and Intrepid’s tailor-made sales manager Hasret Ozturk followed the Flight Centre panel and took attendees to a talk from Sara King, Intrepid’s general manager of purpose who shined a light on initiatives Intrepid is undertaking to further advance its status as a B Corp.
Employing and facilitating the career growth of women, particularly those in countries where women have fewer rights than in Australia, has taken the forefront here alongside fostering First Nations inclusivity to help close the gap in economic opportunity faced by Indigenous people.
Alongside this, King highlighted Intrepid’s carbon labelling on its itineraries, where Intrepid shows how much CO2 is produced and how the company offsets this.
Tackling overtourism (and undertourism) were Leah Johnson and Isabel Limn, key partnership managers from Intrepid. The overly congested and tourist cramped hot spots in Europe over the summer got the magnifying glass as the pair used this example to highlight the lesser travelled destinations of the globe.
Johnson flaunted the unique offerings of Georgia, while Limn spruiked the wonders of South Korea to direct attendees towards guiding their clients to a lesser-traversed corner of the globe.
Where To Next Year?
After an insightful talk from acclaimed travel writer Nina Karnikowski and some love for Intrepid’s offerings from Flight Centre area leaders Craig Gardiner and Samantha Whitty, Intrepid’s senior product manager Dyan Mckie gave attendees the run down on what they can look forward to next year. Check out the list here:
- More socially inspired trips,
- Family trips given a higher priority,
- Seven new comfort and seven new premium trips coming out next year,
- More walking and trekking trips,
- Six new Asia trips with three alone in South Korea,
- Nine new First Nations experiences in Australia, Canada, the US, Taiwan, Costa Rica, the Phillipines and Nicaragua.
The summit concluded with drinks afterwards and a colourful evening soiree at Lume in the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
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