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Intrepid Travel is reimagining its Women’s Expeditions tour range, which has been on hiatus since early 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic ceased international travel, by launching several new and newly redesigned tours for travelers.

Not only will these trips include some of the signature experiences from past trips—they will also introduce new destinations, experiences, and will be led and hosted by new women, and seek to help support and empower communities that have been deeply affected by the pandemic.

This was an important consideration as Intrepid worked to bring this tour range back. A recent CSR Journal article noted, “Every crisis impacts women and girls differently than men, because of existing gender norms and inequalities. To build back better and equal from the COVID-19 crisis, policy, investment and action must be shaped by women and girls and deliberately target them.”

Each Women’s Expedition trip will be guided by local female tour leaders and were created to break the barriers of traditional tourism, offering a deeper understanding of female culture in more conservative destinations that wouldn’t typically be feasible in mixed gender settings, and to challenge traditional gender boundaries in tourism, with the overall aim to encourage female empowerment and connect women from all walks of life.

After initially launching as a limited-edition range in 2018 with tours in Morocco, Jordan and Iran, the trips became some of the most popular in the company’s 30+ year history, prompting Intrepid to add tours in Turkey, Kenya, India and Nepal in 2019. Now in 2022, Intrepid will reintroduce them in countries that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

women's expeditions
Exploring Jaipur. (Photo courtesy of Intrepid Travel.)

Intrepid’s newly reimagined Women’s Expeditions will include:

  • India Women’s Expedition (12 days, from $1,060 USD pp)
    Visitors will travel by public transport in the female-only carriage of the Delhi Metro and explore the colorful bazaars and architectural delights of Old Delhi. They’ll head out into the remote dunes of the Thar Desert to spend a night under the stars with traditional food and dance performances by the local women—while the men go off and cook dinner. They’ll also jump on board the pink rickshaws of Pink City Rickshaw Co, a non-profit, for a city tour. Not only did more women lose their jobs in India due to COVID-19 than men, but fewer are returning. Data shows there are 22 percent fewer women employed in India in 2021 than in 2019. The tourism industry in the country has long been male-dominated, and it is important to continue advocating for more opportunities for women in travel and tourism.
  • Iran Women’s Expedition (12 days, from $2,120 USD pp)
    Travelers will step inside the hidden world of an Iranian beauty salon, wander through a women-only park, and travel by public transport in the women-only carriage of the metro, local buses and an overnight train. They’ll experience rural nomadic life with Qashqai people, meet female entrepreneurs and learn secret recipes from those in the know. This trip will expose visitors to a range of fascinating local women—young and old, religious and secular, conservative and liberal.
    The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted women in Iran, where women’s economic participation has dropped 20 percent. This trip shows the power of tourism as a force for good and as an economic driver in Iran’s recovery.
  • Jordan Women’s Expedition (8 days, from $1,390 USD pp)
    Travelers will spend a night in Wadi Rum and learn the traditional art of henna with Bedouin women, and discover how kohl has been used for years not just as a beauty product but to protect the eyes from the harsh desert sands. They’ll spend an afternoon at a local female-only beach, discover the Dead Sea, and visit Petra. Visitors will also learn the art of Arabic cooking with their local host in her home and join a local female shepherd for a mezze breakfast where they’ll learn about her life, what a day as a female Jordanian shepherd is like, and how it has changed over the centuries.
  • Morocco Women’s Expedition (8 days, from $1,040 USD pp)
    On this trip, travelers will make their way through the ancient medina of Marrakech, getting lost in the labyrinth of pathways, shops and riads, until they arrive at Zineb’s doorstep for a home-cooked meal. Before the pandemic, Zineb was using her hospitality and passion for food to experience some financial independence and is now ready to welcome travelers into her home again to share a meal with her family. Travelers will also break bread with Berber families in private homes in remote areas, see how an artist co-op is empowering female rug-weavers in small villages, take in the verdant beauty of the far-flung M’goun Valley, and enjoy the singing and dancing of Moroccan women in cultural ceremonies in small villages.
  • Peru Women’s Expedition (8 days, from $1,390 USD pp)
    Travelers will follow in the footsteps of the Incas as they spend four days trekking the iconic Inca trail, accompanied by female porters, a role traditionally held by men, to visit Machu Picchu, hearing how history unfolded here from a female perspective. They’ll also take a walking tour of downtown Lima and visit a food stall, meeting the female owner to hear how the business has supported her children’s education. Visitors will learn about traditional techniques and the importance of weaving to the women of the Umasbamba community in the Sacred Valley, and dine at Mama Seledonia’s in Cusco, a restaurant that supports single mothers from underprivileged backgrounds by providing employment and culinary training.

“Relaunching Women’s Expeditions is a significant and exciting step forward for Intrepid Travel, enabling us to continue our support for some truly inspirational women who rely on tourism to support themselves, their families and their communities—many of whom suffered greatly because of the COVID-19 pandemic and are eager to welcome tourists back,” said Erica Kritikides, general manager of global product at Intrepid Travel.

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