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Sunday, April 11, 2021

REI Cuts International Adventures to Focus on U.S. Destinations

This summer, REI is planning to focus its adventure tourism efforts on several gorgeous pockets of the United States.

The Seattle-based co-op announced it will cancel all international trips after May 21, providing full refunds to travelers who have booked in advance. It also said it would allow international vendors to keep any equipment they had been using to support REI adventures abroad.

REI said the decision isn’t one driven by the pandemic or concerns over the safety of international travel. It cited a 28 percent rise in domestic bookings from 2019, calling 2021 one of its “strongest years” for adventure travel sales.

The company already offers more than 100 U.S. itineraries, including a four-day Appalachian Trail hike, a nine-day trek from Kenai to Denali National Park in Alaska, and four days of kayaking in Grand Teton National Park. That figure is likely to expand.

REI’s small group trips tend to incorporate hiking, camping, backpacking and cycling, all of which have taken off in popularity because of the pandemic. The company began offering curated adventures for those under 35 in 2019 and has itineraries designed specifically for female travelers.

As it shifts its gaze toward domestic tourism, REI also said it plans to open more than a dozen of its experience centers over the next two years. REI currently operates just one of these centers, in Scottsdale, Arizona. That REI experience center offers several guided day tours, outdoor classes, and the opportunity to ride bikes through the Arizona desert.

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