Aus­tralian ap­petite for ad­ven­ture in­creases

Travel Bulletin - - ADVENTURE -

Africa is shak­ing its rep­u­ta­tion as an ad­ven­ture des­ti­na­tion and tran­si­tion­ing to a more “main­stream” hol­i­day op­tion for in­creas­ingly savvy Aus­tralian trav­ellers, ac­cord­ing to Bench In­ter­na­tional gen­eral man­ager Martin Ed­wards. As trav­ellers take a more proac­tive ap­proach to plan­ning hol­i­days, Ed­wards said Aus­tralian trav­ellers had “ma­tured” in re­cent years and were now look­ing for more be­spoke travel ex­pe­ri­ences. Per­cep­tions of Africa had also changed as mis­con­cep­tions about the des­ti­na­tion’s safety dis­si­pated, he told trav­el­bul­letin. “The days where Africa is seen as the deep­est, dark­est des­ti­na­tion are long gone and it is now be­com­ing more main­stream as trav­ellers be­come more ed­u­cated,” Ed­wards said. “Aus­tralians now iden­tify with Africa as more of an ex­pe­ri­en­tial des­ti­na­tion with lux­ury and self-drive hol­i­days rather than just ad­ven­ture alone.” Ed­wards pre­dicted that trav­ellers’ per­cep­tions would con­tinue to evolve as air ac­cess opens up and more prod­uct comes online. He also re­mained con­fi­dent that the coun­try’s ar­ray of ad­ven­ture ac­tiv­i­ties would con­tinue to see visi­tor num­bers edge higher. “A lo­cally es­corted tour to Africa may no longer be clas­si­fied as ad­ven­ture, but self-drive hol­i­days, climb­ing Kil­i­man­jaro and go­rilla trekking are con­tin­u­ing to gain pop­u­lar­ity among Aus­tralian ad­ven­ture trav­ellers. Shark div­ing is another pop­u­lar add on to tra­di­tional African ex­pe­ri­ences,” he said. Ed­wards also re­ported an in­crease in in­ter­est for Rwanda as ac­cess in­creases and go­rilla trekking tours cap­ture the in­ter­est of global trav­ellers. Av­er­age spend has been “steadily in­creas­ing”, Ed­wards said, but added that the next 12 months re­mained un­cer­tain as the US dol­lar con­tin­ued its strong­hold on the Aus­tralian dol­lar.

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