– World’s largest adventure tour operator gives snapshot of adventure travel market
– Index reveals the rise of the eco traveller, Gen Z as being the most ‘socially conscious’ and a trend for extended summer holidays
Leading adventure and eco-conscious travel company, Intrepid Travel, has unveiled its inaugural Adventure Travel Index in the UK, the first in-depth report in the industry dedicated to this sector. Compiled using Intrepid’s own travel figures and industry knowledge as well as externally commissioned YouGov research, the report offers insights into the fast-growing adventure travel sector, highlighting Brits preferences, behaviours and motivators when it comes to getting off the beaten track.
Redefining adventure travel
The index highlights how this growing area of travel is perceived and how its definition has changed. No longer centered around high adrenalin activities, Brits want to get to the heart of a destination and have a truly authentic experience. In a survey of 2,153 people who were asked how they would define adventure travel, 34% of those who had travelled abroad for leisure* said it meant seeing or doing something new, 27% said it was experiencing local life such as taking local transport or trying local food and 24% said it was getting off the beaten track rather than visiting mainstream tourist attractions.
The rise of the conscious traveller
Responsible travel is high on the news agenda and the Adventure Travel Index underlines that Brits really are taking action. Of those surveyed, 58% believe that sustainability is an important factor when making travel choices. When respondents were asked which responsible tourism measures they would like their travel company to offer, almost half said they were keen to use local suppliers. A total of 38% wanted the opportunity to give back to local communities, 35% would like to see a ban on single use plastics and 28% would welcome the chance to offset carbon emissions.
Intrepid works to meet this rising demand for eco-travel with initiatives such as community-based tourism projects included in tours, a ban on elephant rides and orphanage visits and using local guides and transport. On a wider scale, Intrepid aims to become climate positive by 2020 by investing in projects which reduce carbon levels and reverse some of the effects of climate change. To support from a grassroots level up, Intrepid has a not-for-profit arm, The Intrepid Foundation which supports local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities. The Foundation matches all donations dollar-for dollar and in 2018, £835,000 was disbursed by the Intrepid Foundation. Additionally, in April 2018, Intrepid Group became the biggest travel company in the world to become a certified B Corp, in recognition of its purpose beyond profit. B Corp companies meet the highest global standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
Game changers: Generation Z
Interestingly, the survey results suggest that it is Gen Z, those born in the late 1990’s, who are the most concerned about their environmental footprint, in comparison to those in the 55+ age bracket who were the least concerned about travelling sustainably. When those in the Gen Z bracket were asked what eco steps they would like their tour operator to offer 44% said it was the chance to offset carbon emissions, whereas only 20% of baby boomers chose this option.
“Like most of our travellers, Gen Z are open to new destinations, they want to travel for personal growth and they want to interact with locals to build greater understanding of the many cultures around the world. However, more so than other generations, they have a genuine – almost intrinsic – desire to make a difference and to change the world; ultimately, making this generation one of the most socially-conscious and philanthropic,” said James Thornton, CEO of Intrepid Travel.
The survey results also highlight that Gen Z are most likely to take sustainability into account when choosing a tour operator to book their holiday. In response to this, Intrepid has added a number of responsible travel experiences into its 2020 tours, from a kayaking trip in Vietnam collecting plastic waste that will be turned into eco bricks to cooking classes in Turkey that support women’s incomes in the area.
Work hard, play hard
The Adventure Index has uncovered an increasing trend for longer trips and back to back summer holidays amongst consumers, being dubbed as the ‘double holiday’. The Index suggests this is driven by the rise in Brits becoming self-employed, as well as the move towards more flexible working practices and companies offering unlimited annual leave. Brits are also becoming more savvy about stringing together Bank Holidays to take more time off using less annual leave. As a result Intrepid is offering more, extended ‘combo trips’ for 2020 such as the 20 day Epic East to West USA tour and the 22 day Best of Mexico and Costa Rica tour.
Not doing it for the ‘gram
In an era of social media seemingly reigning supreme, only eight (0.4%) respondents said they would travel to have something fun to share on social media. This rose to just 2% among 18-24-year olds, demonstrating that although the younger generation is slightly more inclined to post about their travels on social media, this is not a contributing factor of where they book and what they do whilst they are away – could this be the turning point of Instagram?
The full Adventure Index can be seen at: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/uk/adventure-index-uk
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Notes to editors:
Images are available to download here:
*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,153 adults. All percentages refer to the 2,020 UK adults among the sample who have travelled abroad for leisure.
The Brighter Group: Amelia Williams and Olivia Lewis
About Intrepid Travel
Intrepid Travel is a global adventure travel company that has been taking travellers off the beaten track to discover the world’s most amazing places for 30 years. The company offers more than 1,500 trips in more than 120 countries and on every continent. Every trip is designed to truly experience local culture – to meet local people, try local food, take local transport and stay in local accommodation. A world leader in responsible travel, Intrepid’s award-winning tour leaders, small group sizes and included activities mean they offer travellers great value for money. www.intrepidtravel.com