Members of the travel industry were taken on a rather unusual adventure last night...to find out what that word really means?
Extensive research by Intrepid Travel has led them to produce their inaugural Adventure Travel Index, which sheds fascinating new light on this extremely popular and fast-growing sector of the tourism industry.
Unveiling the 24-page booklet, James Thornton, Chief Executive Office of the Intrepid Group, said there was some confusion as to what ‘adventure travel’ actually means.
“I actually don’t like the term adventure travel,” he told guests at the launch event in Sydney. “There are just so many misconceptions around the words. Today this sector is no longer synonymous with backpacking, younger people and adrenaline-based activities.
“Hopefully this report will help smash some of the stereotypes about who adventure travellers actually are and show just how the most adventurous Australians are travelling.”
Among the key findings contained within the travel index:
* 69 per cent of Aussies define adventure travel as getting off the beaten track and seeing something new as opposed to adrenaline activities
* Travel to the Middle East is rising in popularity and forgotten destinations like Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Moldova, Greenland and Kazakhstan are making a comeback
* Women lead the way on solo adventures, while modern families are one of fastest-growing groups of adventure travellers.
But possibly the most useful piece of information for Aussies travellers is the $20 Global Beer Index, which Mr Thornton joked was probably the most useful piece of research ever done in the company’s nearly 30-year history.
“You do not want to be shouting your friends a beer in Iceland, because $20 will only get you one beer, whereas in Vietnam $20 will get you 14 beers, so that’s definitely the place to go. We got this information from Intrepid’s 1,300 tour leaders around the world, who were incredibly happy to do some extensive research.”
On a more serious note, Mr Thornton said Intrepid was now the world’s largest adventure travel company, with growth of 17 per cent globally in passenger numbers last year and more than 350,000 people travelling with the company this year.
“It seems that active travel is a way that busy people are now choosing to use their holiday time.
“Aussies no longer define adventure as being about high adrenaline activities or cheap backpacker travel. It has moved away from the more physical perception of an adventure to something that’s less activities-specific.
“Adventure Travel is now more likely to be defined by Aussies as being about where and how you travel. An adventure traveller is now someone who wants to get out of their comfort zone, not just in that physical sense but more importantly emotionally, intellectually and also culturally.”