‘What is adventure travel?’ I hear you ask. It’s just as exciting (or as scary, depending on your perspective) as it sounds ─ a type of tourism that involves exploration or travel with an element of risk. It’s a fast-growing trend within the industry, so let’s look at some stats.
The UK Intrepid Adventure Travel Index by group adventure tour company Intrepid Travel sought to discover the true meaning of adventure travel. It asked 2,020 Brits how they would define it; a good starting point. A majority (34 per cent) said that they define the concept of adventure travel as seeing and/or doing something new. For 27 per cent, it means experiencing the life of a local, while 24 per cent defined it as getting off the beaten track. For 11 per cent of brave individuals, adventure travel means high-adrenaline activities.
While once, retirement meant golfing or beach holidays, now this demographic are more adventurous than ever
Another area of adventure travel Intrepid Travel investigated is the age of the adventure traveller. Now, I know what you must be thinking – ‘adventure travel, that’s that millennium thing, right?’. In actual fact, Intrepid Travel found that the desire for adventure is very much alive and well in the older demographic. Take Vietnam, for example: 43 per cent of travellers aged 30-53 visit the country via Intrepid Travel, compared with 23 per cent of people aged under 29 and 34 per cent of people aged 54 and above. This demonstrates a relatively even split, which is the case for most of Intrepid Travel’s popular destinations. “While once, retirement meant golfing or beach holidays, now this demographic are more adventurous than ever,” said James Thornton, CEO of Intrepid Travel.
When it comes to the most popular destinations for adventure travel, it found that its top three fastest growing destinations are: Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe and Georgia.
Sustainability increasingly factors into many peoples’ travel plans. Intrepid Travel sought to discover just how important a consideration it is. As Thornton surmised: “Life today sees us navigating a world that is staring down the barrel of climate disaster. We see it every day in the rising sea levels, long-lasting heat waves, displaced animals and melting glaciers. We see it when we travel.” It found that 58 per cent of Brits believe sustainability is an important factor, 38 per cent are keen to give back to the local community, 44 per cent want to support local suppliers and 28 per cent are keen to offset carbon emissions. Encouraging findings indeed.
With the end of the year approaching at an alarming pace, Intrepid Travel mapped out what it believes will be the top travel trends for 2020. Among these are spreading out to combat overtourism, adventure cruising, travel for physical and mental wellness and women-only travel. ITIJ, for one, will be very much watching this space. What an adventure!
The full Intrepid Travel report can be viewed here.