Intrepid surprised the industry last year when it announced its separation from the TUI Group and the dismantling of their joint company, the PEAK Travel Group, after only four years.

At the time, Intrepid MD, James Thornton, said the move was a result of differences in philosophies and Intrepid’s desire to focus on its “values, vision” and growth.

Intrepid walked away in July with six brands, 17 destination management companies and a business that carries well over 350,000 passengers a year – a leap from the single brand, few DMCs and day touring company, Urban Adventures pre-partnership.

Now nearly more than six months post-split and with all the extra assets, Thornton says the company is experiencing “huge growth” across the business.

James headshot small

Speaking to KarryOn, he revealed the Intrepid brand is up 38 percent during the six months, while its day touring brand, Urban Adventures, is set to exceed 125,000 passengers by then end of this year.

“Since splitting the business have become quite strong.”

James Thornton, Intrepid MD

“It’s been a pretty good outcome and we still retain a positive relationship with TUI.”

According to Thornton, one of the biggest reasons for post-split growth is Intrepid’s new-found freedom to focus on a purpose beyond profits through a range of new project. There’s also the flexibility of making decisions without waiting for board approval.

“TUI is a publicly listed company so everything needs to go through a board, and rightly so,” he explained.

“But now we have the flexibility to make decisions and not have to go through the board for approvals.”

intrepid 3

Thornton also attributed the spike in business to the company’s “sensational regional directors” who help drive growth in various areas across the globe.

While online is taking off industry-wide, over at Intrepid agents are responsible for driving results in the Australian market, particularly those from Flight Centre, helloworld, Express Travel Group, Magellan and Travellers Choice.

“Those five agency groups are just killing it.”

James Thornton, Intrepid MD

According to Thornton, more Australian travellers are attracted to Intrepid’s itineraries because of their value proposition, with the average sale price sitting at around $2,000.

“They know they can have a great experience without spending a whole lot. Our trips also offer a lot of social currency with unique experiences people want to share through social media.”

Were you surprised by the TUI split?