Malaga, Spain, June 28, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Intrepid Travel is introducing new sustainable travel experiences in Europe designed to benefit local communities thanks to an exclusive partnership with MEET Network Association.
As travel’s largest B Corp, creating innovative new community-based travel experiences is a key focus for Intrepid. The tours help to spread the benefits of tourism by taking visitors away from the hot spots and uncovering a more authentic and unspoiled side of well-known destinations.
The global tour operator has partnered with the MEET Network, an association of Mediterranean parks founded by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which works with protected areas in the Mediterranean to create ecotourism products that support nature conservation efforts and benefit local communities, verified through MEET´s robust sustainability standards. Intrepid has included MEET experiences within two of its new tours to lesser-visited regions of Croatia and Crete, with more to come across Europe and the Mediterranean over the next few months.
Zina Bencheikh, Intrepid Travel managing director EMEA, said: “We are very excited to work with MEET Network to bring these fantastic experiences to our travellers. These projects will bring visitors to areas away from the usual tourist trail, while protecting their cultural heritage and preserving their ecosystem. These are genuinely authentic and unique experiences for our travellers and they demonstrate that tourism really can be a force for good.”
The partnership is part of Intrepid’s focus on rebuilding responsibly and helping travellers ensure their trip has a positive impact on local communities.
Nizar Hani, Shouf Biosphere Reserve Director and MEET President, said: “MEET’s partnership with Intrepid Travel is a great step to highlight the priceless value of the Mediterranean parks to responsible travellers.”
Croatia: Sibenik and the Kornati Islands (5 days, from £790pp, departures from 14 August 2021)
Visit the less-visited historic city of Sibenik, where a local guide will show you a side of their city that most don’t get to see as you explore the winding cobbled streets of the Old Town, stopping in to visit the creative artisans and artists who make up so much of the fabric of the town. Your guide will then take you to a little-known tavern down a quiet alleyway to experience marenda, the meal between breakfast and lunch and a big part of the culture in Sibenik.
Head out on a private boat to the Kornati Islands, where you’ll have lunch with a local family and hear first-hand stories of what life is like on the island. You’ll hear about the importance of olive oil production to the Dalmatia region and learn the true meaning of the olive tree from the locals who know it best. And of course no visit to Dalmatia would be complete without an olive oil tasting session.
Highlights of Crete (7 days, from £995pp, departures from 14 August 2021)
Visit the lesser-known corners of Crete untouched by tourism and experience an authentic taste of village life on this new tour. After seeing the sights of Heraklion and the renowned archaeological site of Knossos, it’s time to get off the beaten path – literally – to the tiny coastal town of Chora Sfakion (sometimes referred to as Sfakia) and the historic village of Anopolis, then carry on to Aradaina, teetering on the edge of a gorge, and learn about the history of this dramatic area. Other highlights include the charming villages of Sougia and Agios Ioannis, nestled into the foothills of the White Mountains. You’ll learn about the history and customs of the island, dine on local specialties and enjoy a wonderful live performance of traditional music, a perfect introduction to village life in Crete.
All Intrepid trips operate under Safe Travel protocols developed and endorsed by the World Travel & Tourism Council. Travellers can also book with confidence with Intrepid’s newly introduced flexible bookings policy.
About Intrepid Travel
Intrepid Travel is a world leader in sustainable experience-rich travel that has been taking travelers off the beaten track to discover the world’s most amazing places for more than 30 years. The company offers more than 800 trips on every continent and every trip – whether closer to home or further afield – is designed to truly experience local culture. Travelers eat, sleep and get around the local way, going where the bigger groups can’t. With its own network of destination management companies in 23 countries, Intrepid has unique local expertise and perspectives. Globally renowned as a leader in responsible travel, in 2018 the carbon-neutral business became the world’s largest travel company to be certified B-Corp, joining a growing community of businesses looking beyond the bottom line. Intrepid are the only tour operator with verified science-based carbon reduction targets and an industry leader in climate action. Its not-for-profit, The Intrepid Foundation, has raised over $10 million for more than 130 charities around the world.
MEET Network supports Mediterranean Protected Areas to develop high-quality ecotourism experiences that benefit nature conservation and local communities. MEET´s locally-crafted, park-led Experiences give travellers the opportunity to re-discover the Mediterranean and experience its local nature and culture like they never have before. Thanks to support from two sustainable tourism projects, funded by Eni CBC Programme and Interreg Med Programme, MEET Network was founded by the IUCN Mediterranean Centre for Cooperation, MedPAN Association and Shouf Biosphere Reserve in 2018. MEET Network is a nature conservation initiative at heart with a unique model for ecotourism development that includes high product quality standards and robust sustainability monitoring. The MEET Model puts protected areas in the driving seat, enabling them to make the dream of conservation and sustainable tourism a reality.