Australian appetite for adventure increases
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.