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Intrepid Travel is a small group adventure travel company. Intrepid offers over 500 trips to around 100 destinations in Asia, Latin America, North America, Europe, The Middle East, Africa, Australasia and The Pacific.

Intrepid trips are designed to let travelers experience the world at the grassroots level: traveling largely on public transport, trying local food and staying in locally owned accommodation or even with Overland, Special Groups, OUT Adventures, Urban Adventures and Volunteering.

Their focus is on environmentally, culturally and socially responsible tourism (ecotourism).Most Intrepid trips have a maximum of 12 travelers and the average group size is 10 people. This reduces the impacts of their trips and enhances the experience of their travelers. Intrepid has also stated that it will become a carbon neutral company by the end of 2009, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their offices and trips where possible and offsetting the rest.


In 1988, Darrell Wade and Geoff Manchester traveled with a group of friends across the Sahara in a converted tipper truck. It was during this trip that the two university friends developed the idea for a style of travel that would take small groups of people to travel at the grassroots level, meeting local people, trying local food, staying anywhere and everywhere and traveling predominantly by local transport. These trips would expose travelers to the real world as they travelled among the locals rather than just as tourists looking in.

In 1989 Wade and Manchester returned to Melbournemarker, Victoriamarker, bought a second-hand typewriter, borrowed a dining room table, and Intrepid Travel was born. Geoff led the first trips in their only destination, Thailandmarker, while Darrell looked after the 'head office'. In its first year of operations the company had 47 passengers.

Since its small beginnings, Intrepid Travel has grown into a major, multi-national company. Employing 800 people in 96 countries, the company has grown to have a turnover of $130 million. Much of the growth occurring in the last ten years, the company had to come up with new strategies to deal with the problems of the decade - September 11, the 2002 Bali bombingsmarker and SARS. Expanding to Europe, Africa and South America, to give the company a broader and thus more stable base than relying solely on Asia as their destination, the company grew rapidly. Acquiring and partnering with other companies also lead to Intrepid's increased stability, 23 companies now being a part of the extended Intrepid Travel network.

Recent events

Between 2005 and 2007 Intrepid opened offshore operating companies in Vietnammarker, Thailandmarker, Cambodiamarker, Indiamarker, Kenyamarker, Ecuadormarker and Perumarker. The role of these offshore companies is to provide local employment opportunities, make greater use of local knowledge and help Intrepid better identify community and environmental impacts of their trips. In February 2008 a representative office was set up in Beijing to run operations in and out of Chinamarker.

2005 saw the introduction of "Family Adventures", trips specifically targeted at parents and their children. This style of trip allows one or numerous families to be lead through one of a number of countries, with an experienced tour leader to ensure safety and security. In 2006 Comfort and Active trip styles were introduced in the official brochure. The comfort trip, marketed as "real like experiences" with a "softer landing", includes transport and accommodation of a generally higher standard than "Original" Intrepid adventures. Active trips are, unsurprisingly, targeted at Intrepid's more active clientele; focusing on bike rides and hikes through unfamiliar, amazing terrain.

In 2005 Intrepid opened its first retail store on Bourke Street, Melbournemarker. Since then they have opened stores in Londonmarker, Sydneymarker, Aucklandmarker, Torontomarker, Brisbanemarker and Perthmarker.

Intrepid Travel embarked on its first major acquisition in mid-2006, buying the UK based adventure travel company, Guerba. This gain allowed Intrepid to make further in roads into the UK outbound market, as well as inbound tourism in Africa - a continent previously untouched by Intrepid operations. While Guerba still runs operations, it is 100% owned and controlled by Intrepid Travel.

Responsible Tourism

The Environment

In an effort to publicize the effects of global warming, Intrepid actively encouraged the community to view the Al Gore film An Inconvenient Truth, when it was released in late 2006. To do this, Intrepid Travel offered to reimburse up to 10,000 tickets, a gesture which could potentially have cost up to $150,000. The CEO, Darrell Wade, was quoted in saying that "it was an emotional commitment more than anything else."

As part of their plan to become a carbon neutral company by the end of 2009, On January 1, 2007 Intrepid introduced compulsory carbon offset payments to all flights sold from Australia.

The Intrepid Foundation

In 2002 Intrepid established The Intrepid Foundation to increase the financial support given by Intrepid and their travellers to not-for-profit community projects around the world. Intrepid matches public donations dollar for dollar, encouraging its passengers to give generously. Since its inception The Intrepid Foundation has disbursed AU$1.1 million. Currently it supports 20 grassroots projects and 10 international non-government organizations working with communities in Intrepid destinations around the world.

Plan is one of the Intrepid Foundation's major partners. As Plan's longest corporate partner, Intrepid has shown continuing support over the years, particularly in the wake of the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004. First on the phone to Plan, Intrepid Travel initiated an appeal in 24 hours, leading to $200,000 of relief money being raised. Also donating several trips for fundraising appeals, Intrepid Travel has helped Plan to continue to operate around the world.

In April 2007, Intrepid launched an African tree planting campaign, aiming to plant 12,000 trees by the end of the month. For each person who registered on, Intrepid pledged to plant one tree. To further encourage travellers to register on the site, the company also offered 10% off trips to Africa for those who did so.


  • 2007 Winner Environmentally Responsible Tourism Small Tour Operator category, British Travel Awards
  • 2007 Winner of the PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Gold Award for Corporate Environmental Programme
  • 2007 Best Green Specialist Tour Operator, Tourism Authority of Thailand Green Awards
  • 2007 Highly Commended, Conservation and Cultural Heritage, Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards
  • 2006 Overall Joint Winner, Best Tour Operator, First Choice Responsible Tourism Awards
  • 2006 Runner up, Tourism for Tomorrow Awards
  • 2002 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award (Darrell Wade and Geoff Manchester)

See also


External links

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