Tourism

Tourists don’t own a city, locals do: Intrepid co-founder

Hannah Edensor

Overtourism has gone from being something many ignored, to being front and centre in the travel industry’s agenda.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, Intrepid Travel Group’s co-founder and executive chair, Darrell Wade, had a somewhat controversial view on how tourists can be more proactive in helping create a sustainable travel industry.

Pictured above: Intrepid co-Founders and friends on the overland trip that inspired a new style of travel.

“Overtourism is everyone’s problem. Agents, tour operators, cruise ship operators, CEO’s, travellers, local communities and government all have roles to play,” Wade told TW.

“Our industry needs to provide that experience, and governments need to regulate where required.”

But where do we start, he asked both himself and us. It’s a big question that’s currently hanging over the industry.

Wade suggested that having a little more foresight and thinking more about what people actually seek when they travel – and then creating products around that – was his first thought.

“A little imagination and effort goes a long way,” Wade said.

“Right now, Intrepid are developing a new Adventure Cruising range where we charter very small ships (50 pax maximum) and go off the beaten path in a way that big cruise ships simply can’t.

“It’s only our first year and we’ve got many aspects right – but we still need to work harder in order to find the out of the way experiences that are so much more rewarding for travellers than the worn out clichés.

“Interestingly enough, these experiences are also far better for the local community because the economic and social benefits of tourism are spread further. So everyone wins out of the exchange – the local community, the traveller, and us as a business.”

In terms of how tourists can be more involved in solving the overtourism issue, Wade has some controversial ideas around taxes.

“Most of the industry disagrees with me, but I think taxation has a significant role to play,” he told TW.

“If there was a $50 a night city bed tax in hotspots like Venice, Barcelona and Split then tourism numbers would start to fall away a little, locals would start to be able to live in their cities again and balance would start to be restored.

“It would also see secondary towns and cities that don’t have the bed tax but do have great tourism assets in their own right build up their tourism industry.  In that context tourism becomes a genuinely sustainable industry for that city and the country more broadly.

“Meanwhile of course the taxation revenue can be used for public services like education, health and housing in the destination so that the community benefits from tourism.

“In Croatia the locals call cruise ships passengers “ice-cream tourists” because they eat all their meals on the ship and the only money they leave behind in a town is the price of an ice-cream.

“Maybe the cruise passengers should be paying a port tax of $50 a person as well so that they leave some value behind for the town they are visiting?

“Tourists don’t own a city, remember – locals do – so it’s only appropriate that the local population benefits from the industry.”

But solving overtourism and creating sustainable travel products doesn’t have to be a charity case, where businesses lose money.

And Wade and his Intrepid company are testament to that.

“I’ve spent nearly 30 years trying to deliver an alternative, more enriching experience, and it’s not surprising that every year we have double digit growth,” he revealed.

“This year we’ll have north of $300 million in sales.

“This isn’t because we are especially clever (we aren’t!), but because people are voting with their wallets for a more sustainable, experience rich form of travel.”



SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

One response to “Tourists don’t own a city, locals do: Intrepid co-founder”

  1. Noting this: “If there was a $50 a night city bed tax in hotspots like Venice,
    Barcelona and Split then tourism numbers would start to fall away a
    little, locals would start to be able to live in their cities again and
    balance would start to be restored.

    If he bothered to read complaints made by people in Venice about tourists you will find quickly that they generally like the overnight tourists and its the flood of day only people they have a problem with. This tax idea woudl only reduce the tourists they do want and increase the ones they dont want. Not sure about Barcelona – I’m only commenting on Venice here.

Leave a Reply

Hotels

Tiny Away opens up mini Tassie getaways

Tiny Away has opened the doors to its first Tasmanian tiny houses, growing its network of rural getaways. The ‘Quirindi’ […]

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Colorado Tourism Office say G’day to the industry

The Colorado Tourism Office joined media and travel titans last Friday at Bentley’s in the Sydney CBD to reconnect with the Aussie travel industry.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Bonza calls on Aussies to name its first plane

Some of the names suggested so far include Purple Rippa, Bonza Bruce, and Kimbo. We challenge you to come up with something more Aussie sounding than that!

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas increases international connection time to reduce mishandled baggage

The upside of all these missing bags is that you no longer have to sprint through the airport to catch your connecting flight. Although we’ll miss the rush.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Missed the Visit USA Expos? Fear not, we’ve got your biggest questions covered.

by sponsored by Visit USA Australia

No more FOMO! These hot tips will get you in top-tip shape to visit the USA.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

TravelManagers’ TCF Launch Applauded by PTMs

by Sponsored by TravelManagers

We hope you’re an AL (acronym lover), because this headline has plenty to go around!

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

G Adventures to relaunch Bhutan trails

These trails are kind of like the Bondi to Bronte walk, except completely different in almost every aspect.

Share

CommentComments

News

Industry movements: New hires at Intrepid, TravelManagers, Silversea and more

Keep tabs on all the latest movements in the industry, find who you need to shmooze at the next networking event and suss out all the latest gossip right here.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Coral Princess brings cruising back to Newcastle

Cruising has returned to Newy, marking more opportunities for the locals to hang out by the water and wear thongs.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Soneva introduces cryptocurrency payments at its resorts

This new update could mean that other travel companies may soon accept crypto, and then someone may finally buy our Travel Weekly NFT!

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Paul Hogan gets top Tourism Australia honour

Hogan was reportedly quite happy with the award, but quietly disappointed that it wasn’t a knife which he could compare with his larger knife.

Share

CommentComments

News

Jucy to expand rental car fleet with $40m worth of new inventory

Jucy is a vehicle rental operator, not the company that makes those pink velour track pants, in case you were also a bit confused.

Share

CommentComments