“Travel is back”: Intrepid index reveals 4 in 5 will book in 2023

“Travel is back”: Intrepid index reveals 4 in 5 will book in 2023

Aussies are prioritising travel despite the rising cost of living with almost 80 per cent planning to book a trip in the next year according to new research from Intrepid.

The adventure travel company launched its Intrepid Travel Index for 2022 yesterday afternoon during an exclusive event hosted at Sydney’s Riley St Garage.

The annual report, which is based on a combination of Intrepid’s owned insights and externally commissioned research of more than 1,000 Australians, shows that while COVID remains top of mind, Aussies’ appetite for travel is stronger.

Unveiling the annual report, Intrepid’s managing director for ANZ Sarah Clark, revealed that 4 in 5 (79 per cent) Aussies are planning to book a trip next year, and more than half (55 per cent) said the current financial situation hasn’t impacted their travel plans.

“[COVID] gave us this really rare opportunity to rebuild the industry and kind of look at how we positively impact the world through travel; both people and planet,” Clark said.

“People are also seeking out sustainable travel experiences; we’ve seen from our research that 89 per cent of people will choose more sustainable travel in the future.”

Another surprising finding, according to Clark, was the continued popularity of domestic trips.

“For the first time in 33 years, we have seen Australia take the top prize as the most popular destination for booking at the moment,” she said.

“While international is coming back — and it’s currently three-quarters of our sales — the key trend that we’re really seeing is that domestic travel is here to stay.

“I think people have really fallen back in love with Australia and realised that there’s so much to see and do here.

“Pre-COVID, 11 per cent of our total sales out of this market were for Australia. And that’s now moved to 23 per cent.”

And with the increased popularity of closer-to-home trips, Clark said Intrepid has also increased its engagement with First Nations businesses, with Indigenous experiences on the company’s trips growing from 12 to more than 50.

First Nations experience at Wilpena Pound on Intrepid Travel’s Flinders Ranges Explorer trip (supplied)

In terms of international destinations, Vietnam, which topped the list in 2019, has remained a strong international holiday choice among Aussies, coming in at number three on the list of most popular destinations, while Morocco has jumped from fourth to second place. Egypt and Peru rounded out the top five.

While the pandemic continues to impact day-to-day life, when it comes to travel, Aussies are less fazed, with 73 per cent saying they will travel despite the threat of infection.

According to the survey, 58 per cent of Australians are conscious of catching COVID on an international trip, with more than a third (35 per cent) changing the way they travel as result, opting for more off-the-beaten-track adventures in lesser-populated destinations.

Looking at how Aussies travel, the index found more than two-thirds (68 per cent) would consider travelling solo. And while many are happy to strike it out on their own, there are still some barriers that are holding people back.

According to the Index, safety (77 per cent), language barriers (46 per cent) and feeling lonely (42 per cent) were among the top concerns for solo travellers.

Clark also revealed that Aussies are willing to spend more on travel experiences at the moment, with Intrepid’s premium and comfort range both outperforming compared to the rest of the product.

“The travel industry is in a very different position from when we launched our last Index back in 2019, our customers have changed and the way they want to travel has changed,” Clark said.

“If I could leave you with one thing it’s this: travel is back.

“And next year, Intrepid will carry more Australians than anyone else on a sustainable, experience-rich holiday.”

Featured image: Nepal Annapurna Basecamp (supplied) 

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