Intrepid Travel says UK is top source market

Intrepid Travel’s EMEA boss has revealed the UK is the sustainable operator’s top source market and quickly paid tribute to agents for their role in boosting booking volumes above 2019 levels.

Speaking ahead of National Travel Agent Day on Friday (July 22), EMEA managing director Zina Bencheikh said sales had building momentum since January.

She said: “The UK is actually the best-selling source market which is the first time this has ever happened for the company. It’s an amazing sign.

“I do truly believe that this was driven by the agent partnerships that we’ve been really nurturing and building during the pandemic. [They] really have been leading to this extreme amazing kind of success story.

“We are delivering over 2019 levels with pretty much all our agent partners.”

Bencheikh said UK customers had switched their focus from long-haul destinations like Vietnam and Peru to ones “closer to home”.

“We’ve got a very successful range of European products that are doing really well with the British customer,” she said. “Shorter trips are doing really well – Malta, Portugal [and] Croatia.”

She also reported that the average age of Intrepid’s customers had moved from 41 to 44 in the “last couple of years”.

As part of its premium tour range, the tour operator launched more than 70 tours in January, with hand-picked accommodation, private transportation and exclusive experiences.

Intrepid’s premium tour range has attracted customers who want “a bit more comfort and a better level of accommodation”, Bencheikh said.

More ‘Baby Boomer’ customers – aged over 55 – had started booking Intrepid’s tours, driving up the customer base’s average age, she added.

Bencheikh outlined how the new programme had also increased trade distribution.

“The range is perfect for these type of customers,” she said. “People who want to travel off the beaten track, on more adventurous holidays, get immersed into the local culture, visit destinations from a different perspective, but also want some level of comfort.

“I guess these kind of products have helped getting more agents on board.”