Travel has evolved significantly over the past decade, with active tours becoming increasingly popular, especially for Gen Z, with 59 per cent now favouring active adventure holidays, as they seek unique and memorable experiences that allow them to connect with nature and push their limits. The adventure tourism industry is expected to grow globally, with a projected market size of $1.3 trillion by 2026. Hiking, trekking, and cycling tours offer an immersive experience that not only challenges the body but also nourishes the soul, providing a deeper connection to the landscapes and cultures encountered along the way.

As the outdoor adventure tourism market grows, eco-tourism and sustainable tourism have emerged as significant components of adventure travel. These types of tourism focus on providing experiences that promote environmental and cultural awareness while contributing to the conservation of natural resources.

Brett Mitchell, from Intrepid Travel, says, “At Intrepid, we have seen a notable increase in the popularity of active tours, with a 445 percent increase in sales year-on-year in 2023. This surge in demand for active travel experiences reflects a broader trend among travellers seeking more immersive, sustainable, and physically engaging trips. With this increase in demand, we’ve expanded our offerings in various global destinations to cater to this growing preference for adventure and outdoor activities.”

The surge in popularity of active tours can be attributed to several factors; as people become more health-conscious, active tours offer a way to integrate fitness into travel. Travellers are increasingly seeking authentic and immersive experiences that allow them to connect with local cultures and natural environments. Active tours often have a lower environmental impact than traditional travel, appealing to the eco-conscious traveller.

Hiking is perhaps the most accessible form of active travel, requiring minimal equipment and offering routes for all skill levels. Whether that’s going overseas and exploring the Dolomites in Italy or seeing the beauty of somewhere a little closer to home with Queensland’s Scenic Rim. Regular hiking improves cardiovascular fitness, strengthens muscles, and enhances mental well-being by reducing stress.

With trails available in almost every part of the world, hiking is an activity nearly anyone can enjoy, making it a perfect starting point for those new to active tours. Hikers often find themselves in places of extraordinary natural beauty, from the lush rainforests of Costa Rica to the striking vistas of the Grand Canyon.

Trekking offers an unparalleled adventure for those seeking more intense physical challenges and longer journeys. Unlike hiking, trekking usually involves multi-day excursions, often in remote areas. Trekking through regions like Nepal, Peru, and Patagonia allows travellers to experience local cultures and traditions firsthand, often staying in villages and interacting with locals.

Treks like the Intrepid Travel Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or the Intrepid Travel Everest Base Camp trek push the limits of physical endurance, providing a sense of achievement and adventure. Trekkers are rewarded with awe-inspiring landscapes, from the Himalayas’ majestic peaks to the Andes’ dramatic cliffs.

Cycling tours offer a unique blend of physical activity and travel. They cover more ground than hiking while still allowing for an intimate connection with the environment. Cycling routes range from leisurely rides through Tuscany’s rolling hills to the more physically challenging terrain and climate of Morocco, there can be something for everyone.

As a sustainable mode of transport, cycling reduces the carbon footprint, aligning with the growing trend of eco-friendly travel. Group cycling tours foster a strong sense of community, with cyclists often forming lasting bonds as they navigate routes together.

Hiking, trekking, and cycling tours are more than just physical activities; they are transformative experiences that deepen people’s connection with the world around us. As the trend towards active travel continues to grow, these tours are reshaping the travel industry, offering enriching, sustainable, and health-enhancing alternatives to traditional vacations. Whether wandering through serene forests, conquering high-altitude trails, or cycling through picturesque countryside, active tours promise unforgettable adventures and lasting memories.

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