Wholesalers

Exclusive: World Expeditions CEO Sue Badyari talks major trends in adventure travel

Ali Coulton

Let’s face it: adventure travel is taking over the world right now. But unlike other forms of world domination, this one is for the better.

Recent research has shown just how diverse the face of adventure travel really is, and how its definitions are continuously changing to become a more inclusive and rejuvenating experience.

Read more: Travel Trends: The changing nature of adventure travel 

World Expeditions recently noted a whole range of new and continuing travel trends they used to shape their new Africa offerings.

The adventure travel company already have a long history in evolving the concept of what’s possible in an African adventure for its travellers, having pioneered the first commercial treks of Mount Kilimanjaro’s Remote Northern Circuit and Shira Routes.

To find out more about what’s going on in the world of adventure travel and what other trends we should be looking out for, we sat down with World Expeditions Travel Group CEO, Sue Badyari.

Badyari told us the standout trend this year is flexibility of choice.

“Our customers favour doing something less mainstream. So our focus on flexibility really appeals to them,” she told us.

“People like to mix and match activities.  In Africa, this might mean combining a Kilimanjaro trek with relaxing in Zanzibar.  It’s about finding a balance between roughing it and something more high end so that you balance an Inca Trail trek with a few days in a quality hotel in Cusco.

“So many of us are time-starved, and it’s important that people can customise their trips to cover everything they want out of their holiday.”

Another trend that has caught Badyari’s attention is that travellers are SUPER keen to know how big their travel footprint is. So they love that World Expeditions practices the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace, encouraging travellers to take only photos and leave only footprints:

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimise Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Your Hosts and Other Visitors

“A lot of people are also interested in animal welfare, so it’s comforting for travellers to know about our Animal Welfare Code of Conduct that we developed with World Animal Protection,” Badyari said. You can read all about their stance on animal tourism and the 10 steps to being an animal-friendly traveller here.

“We also work closely with local communities to make sure travellers tourism dollars are going to the right place.”

These values go hand in hand with some of the MANY reasons more and more travellers are choosing adventure travel.

Badyari said the connection to nature offered through adventure travel is really important to many travellers.

“Adventure travel gives them the opportunity to disconnect from the day to day and the overpowering reach of social media and technology.

“It’s also a way to ensure your tourist dollars are going to the right place, lots of adventure travel trips are immersive and involve lots of interaction with local communities so it’s important to travellers to know their money is going back into these communities.

“Many travellers are surprised to learn how much of their trip cost goes back to local communities – buying equipment, food and transport locally and using local guides wherever possible, thereby creating employment.”

Another benefit is being around like-minded people.

“Finding that connection with your tribe. People form lifelong friendships on our treks and tours. We’ve even had travellers getting married after meeting on one of our trips,” Badyari told us.

We asked Badyari, who is herself a seasoned adventure traveller, why she can’t get enough of it.

“It’s incredibly rejuvenating for your mind, body and soul.”

“[You] return to the daily grind feeling recharged and renewed. It gives a fresh perspective.”

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