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Explore Worldwide furthers expansion in North America with new team and Toronto office

Explore Worldwide

Global adventure Tour Operator achieves B Corp Certification.

TORONTO – Explore Worldwide is making significant strides to grow its foothold in North America through strategic senior hires and a renewed commitment to travel advisors. The adventure company specializes in cultural and experiential tours to 100 countries around the world with small group sizes that average 11 people.

Explore Managing Director Michael Edwards said, “Explore Worldwide is a 40-plus year old, trusted travel brand in the United Kingdom, and we believe our concept of adventure travel that focuses on cultural exploration with elements of walking, hiking, and biking, is growing in popularity for North American travelers.” Edwards noted Explore has seen post-pandemic growth of 56% in passengers from North America.

“Our vision is to become among the largest sustainable, small group adventure tour companies in the North American market,” he continued. “The appetite to travel responsibly will become even more important in the coming years in this market, and as a purpose-led business, we’re excited about the opportunities to ‘Be Better Than Yesterday’ as we grow.” 

On February 9, 2024, Explore became a Certified B Corp, meeting the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability, with an overall B impact score of 84.1. The company has a long and deep commitment to environmentally and socially friendly practices and, in 2022, was the first tour company to measure the carbon footprint of each of its tours, a crucial step towards the goal of reducing its carbon usage by 50% in 2030. The company achieved a 7.2% reduction in its intensity carbon footprint (per passenger night) in 2023, surpassing its goal of 7%.

Katy Rockett to Lead North American Growth

To grow awareness and business in the region, Explore Worldwide has appointed Katy Rockett as regional director for North America in January 2024. Based in Toronto, Rockett brings 15 years of experience in adventure travel. In her role, she will facilitate the business’s ambitious global plans to achieve 65% growth in the market by the end of 2024. Her focus areas are on delivering exceptional tours, customer service and marketing activity across the region.

Rockett, who came directly from Exodus Travels as general manager and director of growth and held senior marketing positions at Exodus and Intrepid Travel, said active small-group adventures are a rapidly growing trend amongst many North American travelers, as many people are looking to get more out of their vacations.

“I’m most excited about the opportunity to introduce travel advisors and travelers throughout the U.S. and Canada to this immersive and culturally enriching style of travel,” Rockett said. Her initial priorities will focus on expanding the Explore team in North America. Explore currently has representatives in the U.S. and will add more throughout Canada by summer.

Rockett noted that travel advisors have pointed to many competitive advantages for Explore, including innovative itineraries with a blend of sightseeing and cultural experiences; expert local leaders who go beyond the guidebooks and get you into the heart of a destination; transfers included in tours; and competitive price points.

From walking and cycling trips to visiting iconic landmarks and landscapes with insider knowledge from local guides, itineraries are built to blend active adventures with local culture, offering different trip styles to suit a variety of travelers, including experiences such as hiking along iconic trails, biking through beautiful destinations that cars and busses cannot reach, or all-encompassing deep dives into a country’s culture and history. Explore Worldwide allows travelers to visit new horizons while optimizing the value for their money. The trips are ideal for solo travelers, couples, and groups of friends, with an average trip length of 10 days. Nearly three-fourths (71%) of North Americans who book with Explore are solo travelers.

A sample of new and notable tour highlights for 2024 include:

  • Highlights of Mont Blanc: Adventurers on this new eight-day tour through France will witness awe-inspiring Alpine peaks and snowy glaciers on multiple day treks through places like Chamonix Valley and sections of the famed Tour du Mont Blanc – the highest mountain in the Alps and Western Europe.
  • Historic Baltic Republics: This 15-day tour entices travelers with its fairytale-like charm during guided walking tours of historic epicenters like Tallinn in Estonia, exploring the drifting sand dunes of Curonian Spit National Park, and pausing to appreciate baroque architecture.
  • Simply Japan: Visitors will experience a mix of modern and ancient Japan on this 14-day tour, starting with a fire ceremony at Tokyo’s oldest temple, Senso-ji Temple. The itinerary includes stays in a family-run ryokan and Buddhist temple; an optional day trip Hakone National Park boasting views of Mount Fuji; and a visit to Jigokudani Onsen, home to Japan’s famous snow monkeys.
  • A Taste of Sicily: Travelers on this eight-day tour will roam the historic Ballaro open-air market in Palermo; learn secrets of Sicilian cooking at a traditional farmhouse estate, or Masseria; partake in a chocolate tasting using methods dating back to the Aztecs in Modica; and more.
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