World Expeditions Turns 40

sue_badyari-300dpi_BIGBehind any great adventure travel company stands a great story of lost loads, flipped rafts, missing donkeys, delays, outdated computer systems and lost and found clients. And World Expeditions, celebrating its 40th year of operation this month, has seen it all.
World Expeditions began in 1975, when Australian Himalayan Expeditions first offered trekking holidays in Nepal. In those pre-computer days, arrangements were made on the phone and reservations were recorded by hand. New routes in distant countries were established and trekked for months before details were read in brochures by travellers.
It wasn’t until almost a month after a raft flipped in Tibet – losing camping equipment and food supplies to a surging river – that head office heard of the mishap. Ingenious guides managed to replace almost everything from nearby villages without much fuss, but the story remains a favourite.
World Expeditions CEO, Sue Badyari, began with the company in 1986 and has seen – first hand – many of the changes that shaped the modern company. She says the advent of the internet was the cause of one of the most profound changes in the industry.
“The internet spelt the demise of blissful ignorance,” Badyari recalls. “Previously, we’d hear of problems like supplies tumbling down mountains and donkeys disappearing overnight at the same time as we heard of how the issues were resolved. Today, we know almost immediately when a group arrive at a suddenly closed border,” she says.
As well as making communication immediate and in real time, the internet also allowed virtually anyone to market guiding services globally, forcing travel companies to differentiate their product from competitors. World Expeditions responded by investing in its guiding program and developing market leading responsible tourism practices and committing to supporting local communities, all of which remain at its core today.
Against the backdrop of global events: terrorism, recession and war; travellers’ thirst for adventure and travel to new destinations has remained.
As World Expeditions looks to the future, the company says it is responsive to emerging destinations and opportunities, crafting new itineraries and forging relationships with international operators to satisfy the sometimes fickle demands of travellers.

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