Yesterday (Aug. 6), six travellers, all from the United Kingdom, 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 Intrepid, 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 Intrepid’s new Safe Travels health protocols, developed in partnership with the WTTC. All travellers will complete a health screening 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.
The Greece Retreat is primarily aimed at travellers from the UK, where the government has removed restrictions on a specified list of countries. This means that UK travellers can visit Greece without having to quarantine when they return home.
“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,” says James Thornton, CEO of Intrepid Travel.
Intrepid will be running its second tour today (Aug. 7), the 4-day Cycle the Peak District in the UK Highlands, 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 adds.
While this is by no means a return to normal, Intrepid hopes these trips will serve as a source of hope and inspiration for the industry after several months without travel.
“The global pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on our industry, but we can’t help but find some hope and inspiration in seeing our first group depart on an international adventure,” says James Thornton.
In preparation for travel to resume, Intrepid has recently introduced a new Flexible Bookings policy to make travellers feel at ease when booking their holidays, which permits changes to travel plans 21 days before a scheduled departure, allowing for new travel dates or an entirely different trip with no change fees.
For more information visit: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/theme/retreats.