REI said it would discontinue its international adventure travel trips effective May 2021 to invest in its domestic travel growth strategy and expand offerings in hiking and camping, backpacking, cycling, women’s only, under-35, family and weekend adventures.
REI said it is investing in an expanded network of experiences close to iconic U.S. outdoor destinations to help three million people each year get outdoors. The Co-op expects to launch at least 12 new experience centers in the next two years where customers can tap into REI’s guided tours, gear rental and instruction.
Sales of REI domestic adventure trips have gotten off to a fast start in 2021. As of March, domestic trips were up by 28 percent compared to 2019.
“REI is a leader at getting people outside. We’re the only national organization with a wide range of experiences that provide life-changing outdoor moments, whatever someone’s skill level may be,” said Curtis Kopf, who was recently named REI’s chief experience officer. “The Co-op’s bold investment in our U.S. experiences will help us welcome more people into the outdoors by making nature more accessible and attainable for everyone.”
Since 2018, Kopf’s new role has evolved his previous oversight over REI’s experiences and digital divisions. As chief experience officer, he oversees REI’s efforts to design and build differentiated customer experiences interconnected across the company in physical locations, digital platforms and hosted experiences.
In recent years, REI annually has helped over 310,000 individuals across the country progress their outdoor interests and explore iconic outdoor destinations, including national parks. Beyond multiday adventures, REI also offers local educational experiences in major markets across the country through beginner-to advanced-level classes and guided day tours for hiking, cycling, paddling, climbing, and more.
REI also provides how-to ride bike classes and wilderness training through its partnership with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). The Co-op also operates a destination adventure center in Scottsdale, AZ with gear rentals, day tours and education for residents and tourists visiting the region.
As REI focuses exclusively on U.S. domestic adventure travel and experiences, the Co-op will refund customers who booked an international adventure. The Co-op’s final international trip will be in early May.
All camping and hiking gear provided by REI to its international vendor network will remain in the country for continued use by individual operators.
Photo courtesy REI, Costa Rica