Intrepid reports its best financial performance ever in 2023

Intrepid reports its best financial performance ever in 2023
Edited by Travel Weekly

    Intrepid Travel has posted a net profit of $21.8 million in 2023 – a $47.7 million turnaround from 2022, while contributing a record $4.6 million to charitable and community causes.

    This represents Intrepid’s strongest financial performance and best impact results in its 34-year history. The report marks the end of the company’s pandemic recovery period, reflects the growing global demand for sustainable and experiential travel and is proof that a purpose-led approach is also good for the bottom line.

    These results are outlined in the company’s Integrated Annual Report, which it voluntarily publishes each year as part of its commitment to public transparency as a B Corp. Intrepid measures its performance using a balanced scorecard approach and combines traditional financial reporting with sustainability reporting, governance and more to benchmark success against all activity which is essential to creating value and achieving its long-term strategy.

    The full 2023 Integrated Annual Report outlines how Intrepid has performed across all parts of its business and includes audited financial statements and carbon emissions data. The voluntary report is published as a marker of trust and credibility for its customers, partners, and the global travel industry.

    Highlights include:

    • Bookings increased 68 per cent to $621m;
    • Revenue increased 113 per cent to $536m;
    • Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased to $34.6m from a loss of $17.4 in 2022, a $52m turnaround;
    • The net loss after tax of $25.9 million in 2022 turned to a net profit after tax of $21.8 million in 2023 – a $47.7 million turnaround;
    • Significantly strengthened balance sheet back to historical levels. At 31 December 2023, Intrepid had $152.8 million of cash and term deposits;
    • Raised $2.8 million for 50 community partners through the Intrepid Foundation;
    • Achieved its best-ever people engagement score of 58 (versus 56 in 2022), while recruiting 1,129 new roles across the business;
    • Declared and paid its first dividend since 2019;
    • Record number of volunteer hours logged with 708 staff volunteers supporting 171 volunteer organisations globally;
    • Met 23 out of 25 key benchmarks in its Ethical Marketing Guidelines;
    • Achieved 41 per cent YoY online revenue growth and $180m in web bookings, representing 10,000 more direct customers in real terms;
    • Paid a short-term and enhanced bonus to eligible staff;
    • Expanded into accommodation with the purchase of a 15-room ecolodge in Australia’s Far North Queensland;
    • Signed on as an early adopter of the United Nations Global Compact Faster Forward initiative under the Climate Action and Living Wage pillars.

    In 2023, Intrepid also grew its staff shareholders to 421 shareholders (up from 52 in 2022), who will now benefit from this strong performance via the payment of its first dividend since 2019. This is in addition to a short-term and an enhanced bonus, which will be paid to all eligible staff.

    “Last year was a phenomenal year of growth and our team demonstrated innovation and determination. This has set the foundation for Intrepid to embark on its journey towards its ambitious future targets,” Interpid CEO, James Thornton, said.

    Intrepid CEO, James Thoton speaking at the summit. (Supplied)

    The report also openly shares some of the challenges from the year. Increased operational challenges, particularly around travel in conflict affected regions such as the Middle East, significant natural disasters and high inflation and cost of living in key markets affected consumer confidence. Despite this, Intrepid continued to perform strongly through the year, pointing to the resilience of the experience-led travel sector.

    The company’s report also shows an increase in its carbon emissions and CO2 intensity (per passenger) YoY, primarily driven by its recent acquisitions and changes in trip emissions modelling. Recognising the challenge of balancing decarbonisation while also growing its business, Intrepid has developed a decarbonisation roadmap to meet its 2035 science-based targets. For the first time, it also commissioned PwC to provide independent assurance of its environmental performance.

    “We are now looking to the future with our 2030 strategy, under the strategic vision: ‘The world needs more Intrepid people’. This will see Intrepid carry 600,000 customers, achieve revenue and earnings of over $1.3 billion, and contribute 1% of revenue to purpose by 2030. That’s our aspiration and that’s how we believe we can create positive change for our staff, travellers and the communities we visit,” Thornton added.

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