Gap Year Travel Sector Fuelled by Recession

Good news from Travel Mole for those catering to gap year travelers, hope everyone had a great holiday!

As recession hits the travel industry hard, a ray of light is shining in the Gap Year travel sector with records broken and positive forecasts for 2009.

Gap Year is the term given to young people in Britain who take time out between school and university, or university and full-time work, and has been broadened to take in young people having a break between jobs, even retirees seeking a lasting experience.

Growth is particularly noticeable amongst recently made redundant young professionals leaving the UK to backpack around the world.

The most popular destination is Australia, which offers a two year Working Holiday Visa to UK residents under 31. One of the least affected economies where the recruitment market is still buoyant; trips Down Under are proving to be very attractive.

The Australian Department of Immigration & Citizenship stats for Working Holiday Visas show a Q3 rise year on year by 21 percent.

Natalie Crowhurst, 25, from Bournemouth has recently been made redundant from her firm of solicitors. She is leaving in January for a six to 12 month around the world trip.

“I’m taking the opportunity to travel around the world as it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Sure, the circumstances could be better and I’m a little worried about finding work when I get back, but this is an opportunity that I might not get again. So I can’t wait,” she said.

Tom Griffiths, founder of says, “It’s little surprise that this recession is fuelling the gap year travel sector as we are a “life transition” travel industry, which services people looking for things to do in between life stages, be it before, during or after university, in between jobs or around retirement.

To read the full article visit:

How To: Get the Most out of Your Current Google Rankings

“Here’s the reality –  you’re not always going to rank #1 for all your keywords all of the time.

Faced with this constraint, you should put some serious thought into how you plan to legimately ’steal’ clicks from sites ranked above you. Remember – ranking is not an end unto itself; it is the click that matters!

a) Getting the searcher’s attention – to steal clicks from those ranked above you, you first HAVE to draw attention to your listing. And because Google limits what you (and all your competitors) can actually do in the listings, it means the smallest things can make a big difference.

b) Once they’ve noticed your listing – how to ’sell the click’ and maximize your organic click-through rate.”

To read the full article and its 12 really useful tips visit:

Upscale Voluntourism – Globe & Mail Reports

Hard work… and soft sheets

Volunteering on vacation used to mean roughing it. But now luxury hotels and resorts are helping guests do good without giving up the perks of high-end travel, Ilona Kauremszky reports


At the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, luxury is the order of the day. Here on Maui’s northwest shore, between two championship golf courses, most guests are lounging poolside reading Malcolm Gladwell or slowly sipping tropical cocktails.


But some of us are choosing to spend the day digging out weeds. It’s not even 9 a.m. and here I am, covered in bug spray and ready for a morning of weed-whacking at the nearby Maunalei Arboretum. The mission: to dig out non-native plants and gather native seeds for replanting to renew Hawaii’s largest private nature preserve.


To read the full story:

Adventure Industry Research Roundup Released

Xola Consulting has released their 2008 Adventure Industry Roundup, to buy the full version click here – below are a few notes from the executive summary that are really interesting for our market.

Traveler Trends
A new crop of adventure travelers is growing in importance — “GenY” travelers and even younger, the so-called “Millennials” are traveler segments to watch for destination developers and adventure travel tour operators. In 2008 Xola’s Natasha Martin conducted primary survey research to better understand the preferences and attitudes of youth who consider themselves adventure travelers. Key findings from Xola’s research indicate that GenY adventure travelers:

    • Are driven by a destination priority over a budget concern: 82% determine destination first, then worry about budget;
    • Travel with a specific purpose to explore and engage with other cultures: they indicate motivations which are consistent with those of Baby Boomer adventure travelers;
  • The adventure travel community should expect to see accelerated growth of social networks dedicated to adventure tourism in the coming months. Already some tour operators are embracing these concepts on their websites, and online adventure travel information sites are emphasizing networking in their operations.
    The use of technology in general is growing relative to tourism, not only the Internet but also wireless communications while traveling is becoming important to travelers.

    The Internet continues to shift power from service providers to travelers, pushing the travel industry to become much more market-sensitive, responding to consumer price expectations and other factors. In fact, Forrester Research predicts that travel will remain the number one on-line retail category and grow to $119 billion by 2010.

    Half of all travel media users (50%) say that they read, watch or listen to travel media at least once a month or once a week. About one-third (31%) of travelers have decided to visit a travel destination because of information that they saw or read in the travel media.

    • In spite of the generally pessimistic outlook for travel and tourism this year, we have had reports from several adventure travel media sources that they are not seeing any slowdown in travel ad spending to date. Bryan Kinkade, Director, Travel & Tourism, National Geographic Adventure, stated in a July, 2008: “As it looks now, 2008 will be another record year for the ad travel category at National Geographic Adventure as more and more destinations and travel providers are identifying adventure travel as a vibrant growth and recession-resistant sector. Our readers view their adventure travel vacations as an absolute right — and while there might be some tightening in other areas of their life, they are not changing their travel plans.”

    Key Adventure Company Trends

    • Increasing focus on land-based immersion in Africa and East Asia;
    • More sea-faring expedition tours to the Arctic, Galapagos and Alaska;
    • Taking increased measures to reduce carbon imprint and impact on environment;
    • Customizable trips becoming mainstays in catalogs to reach high-end travelers;
    • Increase in women-oriented trips, family adventures and theme travel (e.g., culinary tours, wine vacations, gastronomic tours);
    • Emergence of “frequent traveler programs” offering discounts and special offers to drive loyalty;
    • Expansion in volunteer tourism opportunities; and
    • Special advertising and direct marketing to customer databases; special packages to attract middle market travelers most squeezed by current fuel prices.

    Smart Money Article now Online

    “What I Did on My Volunteer Vacation” – Smart Money, by Anne Kadet

    For some Americans these days, vacationing is becoming a lot more than just a week at the beach.

    “Voluntourism,” a fast-growing travel trend that combines overseas tourism with a dose of do-gooderism, has long been the province of college students and retirees willing to accept a long-term assignment. But increasingly, such lend-a-hand holidays attract boomers who can spare only a week away from the office.

    Indeed, one online poll by Travelocity found that 38 percent of travelers say they intend to volunteer while vacationing this year, up from 11 percent in 2007. Hundreds of outfits now offer short-term stints, ranging from hard-core Habitat for Humanity construction projects to the Ritz-Carlton’s “Give Back Getaways” that mix luxe accommodations with half-day gigs like mapping the whereabouts of Cayman Island iguanas or supplying music therapy to disabled kids in Instanbul.

    To read the rest…(and please ignore my heinous quote)…

    Sign the Petition to Expand the Peace Corps (please)

    A note from Jonathan Pearson of the National Peace Corps Association, this is in everyone’s best interest – help spread the word!


    NPCA and our MorePeaceCorps campaign has a major effort underway (through January 10th) to get signatures and on an online petition to President-elect Obama urging him to follow through with his pledges to expand the Peace Corps.  This effort is open to, and strengthened by any and all citizens signing (not just returned Peace Corps volunteers) who believe the Peace Corps is an important part of our outreach to the world.


    Anything you and BBC members can do to help spread the word and help us collect thousands of more signatures (we’re currently closing in on 11,000) would be fannnn-tastic!  The petiton allows people to offer comments, but it’s not mandatory.  So, it only takes a few minutes to make a huge difference.


    Here’s the link to the petition:  Please spread it as far and wide as you can!