While the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt across the global travel industry, Intrepid Travel has officially departed on its first tour since March 2020. On 6 August, six travellers, all from the UK, departed from Athens on Intrepid Travel’s new five-day Greece retreat: Syros Island tour.
The trip is part of the newly launched product range called Intrepid Retreats. This new category is a first for the company, in which groups immerse themselves in one location, in handpicked accommodation ranging from small boutique properties to glamping, with nearby experiences. These retreats celebrate ‘slow travel’ and allow adventurers to engage with the surrounding communities away from the crowds and in a more controlled setting.
The Greece Retreat, which visits secluded beaches and offers a taste of local life, will operate under its new Safe Travels health protocols, developed in partnership with the WTTC. All travellers will complete a health questionnaire at the start of the trip and be required to wear masks in certain settings, in line with local laws and regulations. The group will be accompanied by a local leader who has received specific COVID-19 training, which covers hygiene, sanitation, physical distancing, PPE as well as supplier monitoring.
The trip visits one of Greece’s lesser known and visited islands, Syros, a destination reflective of Intrepid’ s commitment to rebuild responsibly. The itinerary has been designed to benefit local communities affected by the pandemic. For example, the group will have the chance to visit a local family-owned business to see how loukoumia (a Greek version of Turkish delight) is made and try Syrian dishes at a remote taverna in the hills overlooking the Aegean Sea.
“We all have a role to play in a more equitable future for the travel industry. For us, overtourism is one issue we are closely watching. The fact our first trip is to Syros, and not somewhere like Santorini, shows our commitment to combatting mass tourism,” said James Thornton, CEO of Intrepid Travel.
Intrepid ran its second tour on 7 August, the four-day Cycle the Peak District, another new product developed in response to the global pandemic. “For over 30 years we have built a business on providing sustainable and innovative experiences. These new departures were developed in direct response to COVID to help travellers continue to explore safely and with peace of mind,” Thornton added.