Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Tour Operators

Intrepid Travel’s ‘Planet-Friendly’ Ad Banned

9 months ago

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ordered Intrepid Travel to remove a misleading advert. While the Australian headquartered travel company is known for being transparent about its climate-conscious approach as a B-Corp company, the misstep points to the broader issue of how easily sustainability can lead to perceived greenwashing within the industry.

The advert featured two women in front of the Giza Pyramids in Egypt with the text, “People and planet-friendly small group adventures since 1989”. It formed part of a billboard campaign in the UK’s London Underground in November 2022.

The ASA received a complaint that the phrase ‘planet-friendly’ was misleading about the impact of Intrepid’s holidays on the environment.

While the regulator noted Intrepid Travel’s comments that it did not offer flights as part of this particular adventure tour, the understanding that the claim was a narrow reference to their tour offering was unclear.

The ASA considered the phrase “people and planet-friendly small group adventures” to be “an absolute claim”, implying “that taking part in an Intrepid tour caused no environmental damage throughout its full life cycle”. Yet, together with the presentation of the Giza Pyramids in Egypt it indicated that “such tours were international and that it would be necessary to travel, in most cases by flying, to take part in their tours,” the regulator detailed in its ruling.

“We considered that this impression was further reinforced by the claim not referring specifically to the tours offered by Intrepid Travel, and considered that, in the absence of qualifying information, “adventures” was likely to be interpreted by consumers as referring to holidays as a whole, which would include flights to and from the destination country,” according to the ASA ruling.

Intrepid responded to the ruling, with its EMEA managing director Zina Bencheikh calling it a “positive step that regulators are becoming more stringent around advertising claims related to climate change and the environment and they will investigate even just one complaint.”

“The ASA’s ruling on ‘planet-friendly’ was a good learning opportunity for us,” said Bencheikh. “This will encourage all travel companies to be more mindful of how they talk about their impact on the environment. Regulation is rapidly evolving. It’s up to us to not only do good work, but find the clearest way to communicate it to our customers.”

Intrepid’s chief customer officer Leigh Barnes further noted that when it comes to talking about environmental impact in travel advertising it was better to avoid and remove subjective and vague language like “Friendly” and “Safe”, as well as consider the entire life cycle of the trip.

Tour Operators

Machu Picchu Shut Down: Tour Operators Grapple with Peru’s Political Turmoil

1 year ago

Political unrest continues to unravel tourism recovery in Peru. Tour operators were forced to evacuate tourists and halt tours to Machu Picchu over the weekend due to ongoing violent protests and widespread service disruptions.

Both Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail hike to the famous site have been closed indefinitely.

Hundreds of tourists were left stranded over the weekend as tensions escalated. Both Intrepid Travel and G Adventures confirmed to Skift they would cancel trips until 5 February, due to the ongoing political instability.

Skift previously reported how the South American country has been grappling with reactions to a destructive self-coup attempt by its impeached President Pedro Castillo.

Gary Cohen, Intrepid’s managing director for Latin America, said the company had safely evacuated one group to hotel accommodation in Cusco and plans are being put in place to rebook or refunded affected trips.

All G Adventures itineraries for travelers on the ground in Peru were being re-routed, according to its statement.

At this point, it remains unclear when tourism would return to normal as a state of emergency has been extended, affecting airport closures and overall travel to the country.

Tour Operators

Still Too Much Sustainability Rhetoric From Travel Companies, Says Intrepid Chairman

2 years ago

The chairman and co-founder of Intrepid Travel has said there was too much “rhetorical flourish” from travel companies when it comes to discussing sustainability.

Speaking at the Skift Sustainable Tourism Summit on Wednesday, Darrell Wade bemoaned how organizations were touting a “build back better” ethos, while failing to take action.

“It’s disappointing, embedded into marketing, or even worse the boardroom,” he said during the online event.

“Half of the companies, probably more, will have done nothing. At the World Travel & Tourism Council, a good number of companies are talking the right way, and committing, but not enough are putting the rubber on the road.”

While some companies had managed to go beyond what he described rhetorical flourish, he said travel companies needed to ensure there was”company engagement” from the top, and they needed to commit measurable action, including science based targets. “You need to sign up to have that line in the sand,” Wade told moderator Rafat Ali, Skift CEO and co-founder.

“Sustainability is not easy, it’s heavy lifting. Even one aspect like climate change, to work out a pathway to zero emissions, is a lot of work,” he added.

Tour operators like Intrepid are at the forefront of the sustainability movement, Wade argued, because they are, in a physical sense, on the ground and dealing with locals, going face to face with communities.

“We’re often in remote areas, and that’s one of the reasons we go there,” he said. “It takes something climate change, and not a lot of imagination, to realize destinations will be impacted by climate change, before the New Yorks and Shanghais of the word,”

And overall he said that tour operators, including Intrepid, still have a long way to go, as they still emit a lot of carbon emissions.

By failing to take action, operators could end up alienating a public who are demonstrating intent to travel greener. Travel could become the new oil, Wade suggested, if tourists started saying “I’m not going to get in a plane.”

“It’s the role of every CEO, and staff member to start banging the drum,” he added.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article described Wade as CEO.

Tour Operators

Rival Tour Operators G Adventures and Intrepid Travel Launch Ad Campaigns on the London Underground

2 years ago

You know travel is back when….arch rival tour operators G Adventures and Intrepid Travel have both unveiled new ad campaigns targeting commuters across London’s transport systems. 

G Adventures’ “When was the last time you felt like this?” campaign, in which the company aims to showcase the joys of small-group adventures, features digital posters in London Underground stations and escalators. The month-long promotion, which is taking place while rail strikes disrupt travel in the United Kingdom, is targeting prospective customers who have returned to their offices.

“With London office workers quickly returning to our capital, that sense of ‘Groundhog Day’ was starting to set in,” said G Adventures Marketing Director Ant Stone.

London’s free newspapers, the Evening Standard and Metro, will also feature weekly content from G Adventures.

Meanwhile, Intrepid Travel has posted ads in London Underground stations and on buses, among other places, featuring the slogan “Travel Is Back For Good.” It’s the company’s first-ever big brand campaign in the UK.

Short-Term Rentals

Tour Operator Intrepid Invests in Remote Eco-Cabins Startup CABN

2 years ago

Intrepid Travel, one of the world’s largest adventure travel tour operator is investing about $5.5 million USD into an Australian remote eco-cabins startup CABN. Currently the startup has 11 cabins across South Australia and Victoria and plans to build 70 eco cabins by 2023, with this money injection.

The model involves building the eco cabins offsite then transferring them to private land. Each cabin is built from predominantly locally sourced and sustainable materials and requires minimal infrastructure, with a “leave no trace” philosophy, says this story in AFR.