The Intrepid Group has opened its first office in Japan to meet a growing demand from increasingly adventurous travellers visiting the country.
Inbound tourism to Japan has been growing rapidly, up 16.9 per cent, and the country is expecting to see a further increase in travellers in the lead up to the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
But a recent McKinsey report argues that the industry needs to take travellers beyond Japan’s three major cities to ensure sustainable tourism growth.
Intrepid Travel’s itineraries in Japan include a trip to Ashaikawa’s ice festival, cycling in the Noto Peninsula, a food tour to Koya-san, and a new trip to southern Japan in 2018.
The multi-brand Intrepid Group, which began as Intrepid Travel in 1989, takes small groups travelling off-the-beaten track and supports the local communities they visit.
The Australian-owned company is now a vertically-integrated global business that employs 1,600 staff in 27 offices and takes 350,000 travellers to more than 100 countries each year.
The new Kyoto office, which is operated under the PEAK DMC brand, will be the base for 20 local staff and guides to take thousands of travellers throughout Japan’s most iconic sites as well as lesser known destinations for Intrepid Travel, Peregrine Adventures, Geckos Adventures and other tour operator brands.
“We’ve seen a huge appetite for a more sustainable and experiential style of travel globally, across all ages and budgets,” said Intrepid Group chief executive, James Thornton.
“One of the benefits of this style of travel is to bring tourism into smaller communities, which is increasingly important for preserving culture and natural beauty in a country like Japan where people are moving to into large cities.”
The company is currently recruiting for Japanese product and sales staff, as well as tour leaders to join its new Kyoto team.
This is the Intrepid Group’s eighteenth destination management company in its global network, with new PEAK DMC companies due to open in Iceland due in November and in three Central America locations in January 2018.