Christian Wolters – Deputy General Manager, Intrepid Group, Canada

Christian Wolters, Deputy General Manager, Intrepid Group, Canada

How far can a dollar take you? Until Feb. 28, just one loonie is enough for a deposit on one of Intrepid Travel’s 800+ itineraries. Christian Wolters, Deputy General Manager of the Intrepid Group in Canada, says the Intrepid traveller “is anyone who wants to not only visit a destination but truly experience it”.

1. Clients vacationing with Intrepid ‘travel, eat and sleep the local way’ and get as close to real life as possible in their destination ‘without actually moving in’. Can you give us a few examples of Intrepid’s best ‘live like the locals do’ approach, as it plays out on 2 or 3 itineraries?

Peru_shutterstock_132395234Wolters: We have several incredible homestays included on our itineraries all over the world. In the Loita Hills region of Kenya we take travellers to an incredible village called Enkii. There are about 20-30 members of this semi-nomadic community that openly welcome our travellers into their village. Our accommodations for this evening are in tents on the vast rural plains of Loita Hills, however many villagers will offer up a bed in their home should anyone in the group be content. These are mud homes that include a large open space and a separate room in the home for the cow. It is pretty much as off the beaten path as it gets! More information about our Kenya Wildlife Safari can be found at http://www.intrepidtravel.com/kenya/kenya-wildlife-safari-83384.

We also visit an island in Peru called Llachon. It is a four-hour boat ride from the shores of Puno to Llachon on the pristine waters of Lake Titicaca. This remote island welcomes travellers into their traditional mud brick homes for an authentic homestay experience. The indigenous people here speak Quecha, one of Peru’s native languages. Our travellers love the opportunity to pick a few basic phrases in the local dialect. They also help prepare meals and participate in song, dance and sport. More information about our Classic Peru itinerary can be found at http://www.intrepidtravel.com/peru/classic-peru-84284/tripnotes.

2. Intrepid has incredible reach with its destinations. How many itineraries do you offer in how many countries, and what are some of the most far-flung destinations you travel to?

Wolters: Intrepid offers over 800 itineraries in over 100 countries. We are constantly trying to push the limits and take travellers further off the beaten path. In my opinion our central Asia product is very strong and unique. We take travellers into the likes of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and  Kyrgyzstan. We are also very excited to be introducing an exclusive 10-day expedition in Georgia that will be running this summer.

This year is also the first time we’ve been able to secure a land crossing from Burma (Myanmar) into Thailand. Which is an incredibly unique experience not many other operators offer.

3. Are all Intrepid travellers rugged adventurers?

Hiking_shutterstock_209402077Wolters: We have all sorts of travellers on our trips. The ‘Intrepid Traveller’ is anyone who wants to not only visit a destination but truly experience it. We believe there is no single definition for adventure. For some people adventure is about the food and culture where for others it is about those rugged physical challenges. Our trips vary in terms of physical and cultural difficulty to tailor to all types of adventure seekers.

4. Can you tell us about some of your special interest tours that put a new spin on already popular destinations?

Wolters: We introduced our Intrepid Real Food Adventures in January 2013, giving the foodie community a way to explore the world through food. These tours are designed to see all the major sites while providing plenty of time for authentic food inspired experiences. Travellers will cook meals with a local family and shop in the local markets.

This year we introduced several new RFAs including our 10-day Israel trip and nine-day food tour in Peru. Currently our Mexico, India and Vietnam food tours have been the most popular for Canadian travellers.

We also have a range of sailing adventures that give travellers access to some of the world’s most remote destinations. For example while Burma was one of the most popular destinations of 2014, our Burma sailing tour takes travellers through the Myeik Archipelago which is visited by very few tourists.

Same goes for Cuba. It has been one of the most talked about destinations of 2015 and we were determined to offer something different for our travellers. Our nine-day Cuba Sailing adventure sails through the Caribbean coast in the Cienfuegos Archipelago.

5. What are some of your current promotions and how can agents learn more about Intrepid’s product lineup?

Wolters: Right now we are offering travellers the opportunity to commit to their 2015 adventure with a $1 deposit. We want to encourage travellers to take on a new challenge this year and have dropped the deposit from $250 to $1 until Feb. 28. See http://www.intrepidtravel.com/dollar-deposit

We also have an Island Getaways campaign offering up to 20% off some incredible island destinations. With winter in full swing Canadian travellers are ready for a warm escape. We have departures on offer in the British Virgin Islands, Nicaragua, the Galapagos and more! This is also running until Feb. 28. See http://www.intrepidtravel.com/island-getaways.