Mention a group tour to some travellers & they’ll jump to be part of a safe network of people, but mention it to others & it’s like you’ve suggested they eat intestines stuffed with rotting cauliflower.

The resistance towards group touring is very real and it’s often difficult, especially for industry professionals, to understand why.

Is it that these independent travellers don’t deem group tours as cool? Or maybe it’s that they want to be able to choose who they spend their time with overseas?

We can stop guessing because Intrepid Travel conducted a study to find out exactly what’s going on in the heads of these reluctant tourers and apparently a big part of the hesitation is wanting to avoid mass tourism.

Intrepid’s Adventure Travel Index (which also revealed why under tourism is the new buzz word) found that these travellers think that group tours, particularly large ones, will keep them from personal and bespoke experiences.

The second biggest concern with group touring was that tour leaders would only take them to places where they can get a commission, followed by a fear of having no free time.

Others concerns were that tours wouldn’t allow them to experience a destination like a local and they’d only be taken to see ‘cookie cutter’ locations.

Thankfully, over the last few years, tour brands across the industry have redeveloped their product to include more one-of-a-kind experiences, local interactions, flexible options and more.

For example, Trafalgar, Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold have exclusive one-of-a-kind experiences, Contiki has special interest trips and independent insider itineraries, and G Adventures has authentic local experiences mixed with caring practices.

Of course, then there’s Intrepid, which does a mix of all of the above along with smaller tour sizes that Chief Executive James Thornton says provides travellers with immersive experiences and specially designed trips.

“[They can] go places that large groups, and cruise ships, simply can’t access.”

James Thornton, Intrepid Travel Chief Executive


Why do you think travellers are hesitant to book a group tour?