NEW YORK, NEW YORK – 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 (IUCN-Med), 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 travelers. 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 travelers 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 travelers 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 travelers.”
Intrepid’s two new tours incorporating MEET experiences include:
- Croatia: Sibenik & the Kornati Islands - (5 days, departures from August 14, 2021)
Travelers will explore the less-visited historic city of Sibenik, where a local guide will show them a side of their city that most don’t get to see as they discover 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. The local guide will then take travelers 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 travelers will hike through stunning scenery, enjoy lunch with a local family and hear about the importance of olive oil production to the Dalmatia region complete with an olive oil tasting session. A bicycle tour of the island of Murter is also included, specifically the village of Betina, a charming little place filled with history. Betina holds a long tradition of wooden shipbuilding, and while here, travelers pay a visit to the Betina Museum of Wooden Shipbuilding to learn about the history of the industry and its importance to the village.
- Highlights of Crete - (7 days, departures from August 14, 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. Travelers will 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.
Valentina Bračanov, from Kornati National Park in Croatia, said: “The MEET Experience in Kornati reflects our work with local stakeholders to ensure conservation benefits for the protected area and economic benefits for the local community.”
Antonios Barnias, from Samaria National Park in Crete, said: “Tourism has the power to create, sustain, modify and in some cases destroy entire protected landscapes and economies. MEET is all about implementing framework for managing tourism in protected areas.”