A TRAVEL podcast which was launched this week despite the almost total shutdown of the industry has shot into the iTunes top 40.

The Travel Podcast is produced by the Bournemouth Airport-based travel agency franchise Not Just Travel.

Launched earlier this week, it shot into the iTunes chart at number 36 on its first day, beating Frank Skinner, Russell Brand, TED Talks and the Netflix-fuelled phenomenon Tiger King Joe Exotic.

The Travel Podcast contains interviews with industry experts, destination features on countries and cities, topical discussions and news. Two 30-minute episodes will be released each week.

It will aim to give up-to-date coronavirus news as lockdowns start to ease and give inspiration for listeners contemplating their next trip.

It is hosted by industry experts including Not Just Travel’s co-founder Steve Witt. The first episodes cover Las Vegas, Lapland, Antigua and Barbuda, as well as a look at how Australian tourism is rebuilding after its devastating bush fires. Forthcoming episodes will cover Nashville, Mauritius and Sri Lanka.

Mr Witt said: “People might think now is a strange time to launch a travel podcast when we are in lockdown, but we think it’s the perfect time.

“Our aim is to create the most popular travel podcast available. Not only can we help people explore the world from the comfort of their homes and provide inspiration and a bit of joy during these tough times, we can also help give them the most up to date information as travel restrictions are lifted and the world begins to take its first steps out of lockdown.

“We can also give first class advice to customers about what they want to know now. What’s possible? What’s not? We’ll keep you up to date.”

Research suggests a quarter of people listen to podcasts, with most listening to an average of six hours a week.

Mr Witt said: “One billion YouTube searches per day, 182 million Netflix subscribers, one million podcasts on iTunes – the world wants on-demand content and podcasting has never been more popular. We crave content that is personal and right for us at a convenient time.

“We take podcasts with us wherever we go, from the kitchen to the car, from homeworking to a walk, and we feel connected to it in a way that’s unique. No other media has the same effect on us – it’s one of the most powerful and personal mediums available.”

He added: “To be in the Top 40 in our first day is fantastic. We’re beating top podcasts like Tony Robbins, Sue Perkins, Frank Skinner and Russell Brand. I think it’s down to the fact that travel is an addictive topic – everyone loves travel, and we have created an interesting format.

“It’s on-demand, ultra up-to-date and we’ve not shied away from talking about the travel industry and coronavirus.”