Adventure travel specialist Intrepid Group has opened a central America operations base in Costa Rica.
The aim is to expand sustainable tourism to multiple destinations in the region.
Intrepid Group chief executive James Thornton opened the base in San José on Friday as the latest addition to the company’s fast-growing global network of local destination management companies.
The new office will house 12 operations staff and 70 tour leaders, with a further four operations staff based in a satellite office in Mexico City – the main point of arrival in Central America for more than 40% of travellers on Intrepid trips.
The new destination management company, PEAK Central America, will operate tours in all eight countries in the region as well as running multi-country, cross-border itineraries.
The carbon-neutral travel company chose Costa Rica’s capital as its Central America hub to capitalise on the country’s extensive eco-tourism experience and commitment to the environment.
Costa Rica produced 98% of its electricity without fossil fuels last year.
Thornton said: “Costa Rica has been a guiding light for ecotourism in Central America and that experience is more important now than it’s ever been.
“There is a huge appetite for sustainable travel globally and enormous potential to develop product from Costa Rica throughout Central America.”
Bradley John-Davis, general manager of PEAK Central America was appointed to the new role because of his previous experience in Latin America and his involvement in running cross-border trips as general manager for PEAK East Africa.
He said: “Central America is incredibly diverse, but traditionally travellers flock to just a few places while the rest of the region is made up of some of the world’s least visited destinations. That’s starting to change, with countries like Belize and Panama becoming increasingly popular amongst travellers.
“Travelling across borders through multiple-countries is the best way to experience the incredibly different landscapes and cultures of Central America and that’s what’s most exciting about this: we’re now able to create innovative new itineraries that show travellers both the iconic sites and some of the hidden places in the same trip.”
The new base opens just three months after an office in Japan. The company’s first destination management company opened in Vietnam in 2005.
Iceland will be the location for the 20th destination management company in the group’s global network next year.