‘Leisure travellers gradually returning to India’: Australia's Intrepid Travel

Intrepid Travel chief executive officer James Thornton.
Intrepid Travel chief executive officer James Thornton.


  • CEO James Thornton says Intrepid Travel is anticipating global revenue of A$600 million with India accounting for the second largest number of trips

International leisure travellers are gradually returning to India, Australia’s Intrepid Travel, which offers services to small groups of travellers for overseas vacations, said. India is the company’s second largest market where tourists from Australia, the US, and the UK arrive in large numbers.

In 2021, France-based family office Genairgy, owned by Julien Leclercq, a board member and shareholder of global sports retailer Decathlon, had picked up a significant minority stake of 30% in Intrepid.

Global chief executive officer James Thornton, who was on a visit to India recently, said Intrepid is anticipating global revenue of A$600 million with India accounting for the second largest number of trips.

While its India revenue has touched pre-covid levels in dollar terms, tourist footfall is yet to recover, said Thornton.

While the company will be sending about 12,000 tourists to India this year, the number is a shade above 50% of tourist arrival in 2019. However, since travel costs have soared, value-wise it will be closer to its 2019 revenues. “Visas for India were an issue but it has been fixed now. Next year, we should see more travellers to India, and is likely to see 20% year-on-year growth in our India business. Realistically, 20,000 tourists will be arriving in India from our company alone," he said.

While Australians account for a majority of travellers to India, the firm expects the UK to contribute more to its India business due to ease of access. The average traveller the company caters to are women in their mid- 40s, besides baby boomers or those above 60.

In 2023, Intrepid expects to make profits $30 million at an aggregate level. Its India package comprises 7-15-day tours across Agra, Jaipur and other parts of Rajasthan. “Because of the richness and size of India people want to revisit. But the lack of a connected trips which is managed end-to-end by an agency, travellers tend to face problems. We are trying to address the safety and security of tourists," he added.

According to the ministry of tourism, India received about 6.19 million foreign tourists in 2022. A larger number of these were people of India origin on a visit to families, besides travellers from Bangladesh. Mint had reported that dollar inflow from tourism in 2023 tripled over last year to $26.17 billion.

This increase in the absolute figures could also be attributed to the rise in airfares and accommodation costs.

However, inbound business travel was a laggard showing a decline of 60% from its pre covid number of $1.17 billion. Personal travel was only 10% lower though, said data from Services Export Promotion Council, which works under the commerce and industry ministry.

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