Intrepid Travel to Launch New Backpacking Alternative Tour Brand

by Kerry Tice
Intrepid Travel to Launch New Backpacking Alternative Tour Brand

The new brand will take over from Geckos Adventures, which will cease to exist as of Oct. 1, 2018. Photo: Intrepid Travel.


Intrepid Travel is launching a new immersive, experiential division focusing on more than 80 trips exclusively designed for 18- to 29-year-old travelers. The adventure travel company said the move is aimed at driving the growth of sustainable tourism, a sector that appeals to socially-conscious young travelers.

Intrepid’s sister brand, Geckos Adventures, will cease to exist as of Oct. 1, 2018, as it merges under the company’s main brand. Geckos was originally a competitor to Intrepid’s Basix range, but has been managed by the Intrepid Group since 2013.

The move to a more global brand will result in a 20 percent increase in departures for travelers and new destination options for 2019, including Russia and Iceland.

“We know this is the right decision,” said Intrepid Group CEO James Thornton. “Intrepid has four times the number of 18 to 29 [year-old] travelers as Geckos. It’s a global brand, whereas Geckos is almost entirely sold in Australia.”

The company has seen a growing appetite for its style of sustainable, immersive local experiences, with global sales up 17 percent last year. The 18-29 age group is a key demographic fueling this growth, with a 7 percent increase in departures last year among them.

The new line of vacation options, which will include everything from camping in Iceland to surfing in Morocco, will be priced at the same level as Intrepid’s Basix range. The company said it will offer $99 deposits on the packages, which they hope will provide a “stress-free alternative” to backpacking and big-bus tours.

“Sustainable travel doesn’t have to be expensive,” said Thornton. “Focusing the power of our global brand on the youth market is just another way that we can invest in sustainable tourism for the long term. Intrepid has a much bigger audience and this decision means we can have better conversations with 18 to 29 [year-olds] about the things that matter.”

As part of the move, Intrepid has partnered with Friends International, a social enterprise whose goal is to save lives and build futures for marginalized young people worldwide. Intrepid will make a donation to Friends International for every trip booked for travelers ages 18-29.

"For agents, this means a small-group, locally focused and fully carbon offset alternative that is becoming increasingly important for a younger demographic," said Megan Bailey, Director of Sales, North America for Intrepid Travel.

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