Globally recognised as a pioneer in responsible travel, Geoff ‘Manch’ Manchester is the co-founder of Intrepid Group, the world’s largest provider of adventure travel experiences, and Director of the company’s not-for-profit The Intrepid Foundation.
Manch and his best mate Darrell Wade founded Intrepid Travel in 1989 with a vision of creating small group adventures that travelled the local way, benefiting both travellers and the places that they visit. Tourism often shields travellers from the reality of what local’s lives are like, and the industry has had an unfortunate history of damaging the places it visits. Intrepid’s co-founders believed that long-term success would be achieved by creating a win-win situation for all stakeholders, including travellers, staff, and communities. Darrell and Manch were so passionate about their vision that the original business plan for Intrepid Travel included philanthropic donations before the company’s owners were receiving an income.
More than a quarter of a century later, Intrepid Travel has grown to become Intrepid Group, a portfolio of six specialist tour operators and 17 destination management companies taking over 250,000 travellers to more than 100 countries on all seven continents, and employing more than1500 staff in 25 offices around the world.
As a former leader of Intrepid trips in Asia, Manch has firsthand experience of the issues effecting developing nations. His experience in marketing for Intrepid Travel has given him insight into the value placed on such issues by both clients and travel agents. Manch has ensured Intrepid delivers on its sustainable and responsible ethos as the company has grown rapidly over the past 27 years, from championing practical, on the ground decisions involving low impact travel, to setting and implementing company-wide responsible travel strategies.
In 2000, Intrepid Travel established the tourism industry’s first dedicated responsible business department, then in 2002 launched The Intrepid Foundation to enable travellers to give back to the communities they visit. Since its creation the not-for-profit has raised over $4 million for more than 70 conservation and community projects around the globe, supporting initiatives in environmental conservation, wildlife protection, human rights, health care, child welfare and gender equality.
Manch is especially proud of the connection that The Intrepid Foundation creates between our own local leaders and the projects that we support; they learn about the projects and community issues, and in turn are able to educate our travellers and inspire them to make a donation. Manch is an Ambassador for Conscious Capitalism Australia and is a regular speaker on sustainable business issues in Australia and around the world.