Wholesalers

Say goodbye to Geckos: Intrepid’s James Thornton talks new 18-29s only trips

Ali Coulton


Intrepid Travel has launched a new range of small group trips exclusively for 18 to 29-year-old travellers.

With sales up nearly 17 per cent last year, the adventure travel company has seen a growing appetite for its signature style of sustainable, immersive local experiences, particularly amongst young people.

To find out more about this new offering, we had a chat with Intrepid CEO James Thornton.

Thornton told us this new launch was a result of listening to Intrepid’s customers.

“Half of Intrepid’s social media followers are from the 18 29-year-old range so we’re able to do some really targeted research in launching this product offering,” he said. 

“What we found was that this age group wanted to be introduced to a sustainable style of travel, travelling with other like minded travellers, from the get go and not having to do that in open age products so that was the driver in why we created this product range.”

According to Thornton, this age group are increasingly aware of travelling in a responsible format.

They’ve grown up with sustainability being at the heart of the way in which they live their lives,” he said. 

“They’re more aware and they want to purchase products from brands that are sustainable and have responsible business practices. I think they just have a broader awareness because of the generation they’ve grown up in.”

Intrepid18to29-bolivia-salar-de-uyuni-salt-flats-DSC06055

It’s with this generation of responsible travellers in mind that Intrepid decided to partner with Friends International for the launch of the new range of trips.

Friends International are a leading social enterprise who go about saving lives and building futures for marginalised young people around the world,” said Thornton.

“Intrepid is making a donation to Friends International for every 18 – 29 trip so again its just another example of how our 18 – 29s range will provide a socially conscious generation with an alternative way of travelling and travelling with like-minded travellers.”

When asked what kinds of trips will be available in the new range, Thornton said the 80 new trips will focus heavily on local immersion.

“There’s lots of getting out, meeting the local people, trying the local food, using different types of accommodation,  you can go camping in Iceland, you can go surfing in Morocco, there’s just a huge range of trips,” he enthused. 

“It’s the most extensive range of small group adventure products available from any business globally so it’s a great opportunity for young people to travel not independently, not on big busses, but in the same style of sustainable product that Intrepid is so well known for.

“It’s a stress-free alternative to backpacking if you like.”

But doesn’t Intrepid already have a brand dedicated to the 18 to 29-year-old age groups, we hear you ask?

Thornton said Geckos Adventures will merge into Intrepid’s 18 to 29s range.

“We know this is the right decision. Intrepid has four times the number of 18 to 29s travellers as Geckos. It’s a global brand, whereas Geckos is almost entirely sold in Australia.

“Focusing the power of our global brand on the youth market is just another way that we can invest in sustainable travel for the long-term. Intrepid has a much bigger audience and this decision means we can have better conversations with 18 to 29s about the things that matter.”

The new Intrepid 18 to 29s brochure is out on Monday 16 July.

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