James Thornton was in Auckland yesterday to launch Intrepid’s first Adventure Travel Index, which surveyed 1000 Kiwis on the perceptions and definitions of adventure travel. ‘Seventy five percent of Kiwi Intrepid travellers book through travel agents and that’s faster than direct channels. ‘That’s a key reason why we are getting disproportionate growth out of New Zealand compared to other markets.’ He says the travel index confirmed that modern day adventure travel is not necessarily about climbing mountains and jumping off buildings. Only 30.8% of respondents described adventure travel as high adrenaline activities, another 42.5% said it was about getting off the beaten track and going to places less visited by mainstream tourists, while 19.7% felt seeing and doing something new defined adventure travel.
Such findings are possibly why the CEO of what is now reputed to be the word’s largest adventure travel company doesn’t even like the term. ‘We use the term sustainable, experience rich travel. And it’s not about age – it’s more about staying with the locals, de-stressing and really getting under the skin of a destination.’ The top five adventure destinations identified by New Zealanders in the survey were Vietnam, Cambodia, India Peru and Cuba. Vietnam also came out tops in the survey’s $20 global beer index. That amount will buy 13 beers in Vietnam, three in New Zealand and a couple in Australia. It will get clients one beer and a little bit of change in Iceland ($15.78 = one beer there.)