What is Adventure Travel? Glad you asked because if ever the truth in travel marketing can be stretched it’s the definition of adventure – which these days can mean everything from eating (relatively) exotic food to touring bucolic Italy, where (ironically) over-tourism is a very real issue, or cruising the Greek Islands.
And yet the the same term still applies to hiking the remote Himalayas or visiting isolated African villages. How can this be?
The point is that it’s relative. Different things to different people.
James Thornton, MD of Intrepid Group, probably the world’s largest adventure travel company, says most people agree that “getting off the beaten track” is the best definition.
Personally, he would prefer his company’s product to be known as “sustainable experience-rich travel experiences”.
Lucky he’s not in marketing because adventure travel sells.
Thornton revealed at the launch of the Intrepid Adventure Travel Index 2018 that the company’s passenger numbers reached 350,000 in 2017, a year on year increase of 17% with revenue up by a similar amount.
He says momentum has carried through to 2018 and that Intrepid Group is aiming for A$341m in revenue for the calendar year, up from A$300m in 2017.
The company (motto: Small Groups, Big Adventures) now employs 1800 people and offers product through a slew of brands to more than 100 countries.
The index reveals that the most popular ‘adventure destinations for Australians are in order Vietnam, Peru, India, Cambodia, Morocco, Cuba, Italy, Nepal, Mexico, Ecuador.
Notable customer trends include the rise in solo and female travel, often the same thing.
More than 50% of Intrepid’s customers now travel by themeselves (though within a group, an important caveat) while half of those are women.
Looking ahead, Intrepid expects Adventure Cruising to continue its rapid growth and that recent interest in Zimbabwe, Moldova, Greenland, Kazakhstan and Hungary will translate to bookings, making them the hottest destinations in 2019.
*Intrepid is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as: “extremely brave and showing no fear of dangerous situations”.