Holidaymakers rediscovering ‘spirit of adventure’ after Covid grounded travel

Luxury travel company Kuoni has reported an upturn in bookings for destinations such as India, Thailand, Kenya, Costa Rice and Japan.

09 October 2022

Travellers are rediscovering their “spirit of adventure” after putting “big holiday plans on hold” due to the pandemic, according to a luxury travel company.

Kuoni said it has seen a surge in interest for complex, long-haul holidays featuring multiple locations over the past four weeks.

The Surrey-based tour operator’s tailor-made division experienced a 36% increase in website visits during that period compared with the previous four weeks.

Bookings in the past four weeks for Thailand holidays late in the year were 87% higher than in 2019, while sales of group tours to India have recovered to 80% of pre-pandemic levels.

A temple in Tokyo, Japan
Kuoni has experienced an increase in bookings for trips to Japan (Adam Davy/PA)

Other locations with a recent rise in popularity among UK holidaymakers include Costa Rica, Japan and Kenya, Kuoni said.

The company released the figures on the eve of UK travel trade organisation Abta’s annual convention in Marrakesh, Morocco.

It is the first time the event will be held overseas since the start of the pandemic, indicating the sector’s renewed confidence.

Kuoni chief executive Francis Torrilla said: “The spirit of adventure is back.

“A thirst for exploration is definitely in play for British travellers and there’s been a notable shift even in recent weeks.

“Many people have put their big holiday plans on hold for three years, so they are coming to us for advice and expertise.”

Mr Torrilla explained that a year ago, most bookings were for single destinations as people wanted “straightforward trips” and were “happy to just be on holiday again after the upset and turmoil of the pandemic”.

Beach on Thailand
Bookings for Thailand are 87% higher than in 2019 (PA)

Customers are now “feeling more confident about the prospect of exploring the world again”, he said.

“We’re seeing demand growing for multi-destination itineraries, and more complex travel arrangements for longer durations for up to three weeks as countries like Thailand and Japan finally drop their Covid entry restrictions.”

Kuoni said couples are typically spending between £15,000 and £20,0000 on bookings involving customised itineraries.

One recent booking by a pair of food and wine enthusiasts going to South America will see them starting in Chilean capital Santiago, visiting Argentina’s Mendoza wine region and travelling through Chile’s Atacama Desert.

Small group adventure travel company Intrepid added 10 new tours to its premium range last month to meet demand from “discerning travellers” who want “hand-picked accommodation, private transport, first class train journeys and an array of signature stays and exclusive experiences”.

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