Intrepid Travel announced its acquisition of Wildland Trekking, an environmentally-conscious U.S.-based tour operator focused on active and outdoor adventures. The acquisition will build upon Intrepid’s operational capability in the United States, providing more diverse and robust outdoor adventure-based options for both domestic and international travelers.
This is the next step in Intrepid’s investment and growth within the United States, which was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic as interest for unique domestic travel options in the country spiked following international border closures. In 2019, U.S. domestic travel spending reached nearly $1 trillion USD, a number Intrepid is confident will grow in the coming years and presents a significant market opportunity.
In 2021, Intrepid Travel built and launched its own dedicated North American operations hub under the leadership of Matt Berna, Intrepid’s North American Managing Director. The new Intrepid DMC has helped to increase its local capacity, ensure the utmost quality control, and incorporate the highest sustainability and responsibility measures into each trip. The company also recently launched 38 new tours in the United States that begin departing in 2022, which reimagine what travel within the U.S. can and should look like by incorporating more diverse perspectives and experiences alongside the iconic sites.
With a total of 57 U.S.-based trips currently on offer by Intrepid Travel, the Wildland Trekking acquisition will bolster Intrepid’s operational capacity, increasing their U.S. tour range by over 400%. “Wildland Trekking has such an incredible history of operating exceptional and innovative trips, and we’ve been really impressed with their commitment to running tours that are also good for the planet,” said James Thornton, CEO of Intrepid Travel.
“This acquisition will play an integral part in Intrepid’s journey to becoming a billion-dollar adventure travel company by further increasing our operational capabilities in the region, but more importantly, it signifies our commitment to growing and scaling our style of sustainable, experience-rich travel within the U.S.,” adds Thornton.
Wildland Trekking, founded in 2005 by Steve Cundy, Scott Cundy and Brad Ball, offers hundreds of innovative U.S. itineraries ranging from hut to hut trekking through the Presidential Range in New Hampshire to exciting backpacking trips throughout the Rocky Mountains and Desert Southwest. The acquisition will merge each company’s operations and business in the U.S., with future plans including developing new trips in Alaska and the Canadian Rockies and building more winter season trips.
Wildland Trekking had one of its strongest years in 2021 with its bookings up 20%. Since its inception, the tour operator has accommodated more than 75,000 travelers, built a team of nearly 200 staff, and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for conservation initiatives through partnerships with various National Park associations and environmental groups.
The company also operates with a “leave no trace” mentality and has been in the process of becoming carbon neutral, aligning well with Intrepid’s own priorities as a certified B Corp and a leader in the responsible travel space.
“At Wildland Trekking, we prioritize sustainability, conservation, safety and professionalism, while striving to create life-changing experiences for every guest who travels with us,” said Steve Cundy, Co-Founder and Partner at Wildland Trekking. “It was clear to us that Intrepid possesses all of these same values.” “We’re thrilled to add an exciting and unique set of experiences to Intrepid's portfolio of programs and to play a large part in building Intrepid's presence in North America,” Cundy added.
Wildland’s staff will all remain with the business and play an integral role in the future growth of Intrepid’s U.S. operations. Two of the founders will be staying within the business with the third moving into retirement.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.