Flight Centre Acquired GapYear.com

FLIGHT Centre Limited has expanded its presence in the niche travel sector by acquiring gapyear.com, the web’s largest specialist “Gap Year” social network and travel advice site. Gapyear.com was established in 1998.
FLIGHT Centre Limited has acquired a majority stake in gapyear.com for an undisclosed fee. Founder Tom Griffithswill remain in the company as CEO to lead the global roll-out of the brand and website.
Fuelled by the GFC and valued at over $10bn*, the global ‘Gap Year Travel’ market is currently bucking trends by experiencing growth in its three age segments 

1. Those aged under 26 (‘youth travel’, graduate, pre university and between jobs)
2. 27 to 50 year olds (career gap and redundancy)
3. Those over 50 taking long haul independent travel ‘gap trips’ before and into retirement.

* Source: Mintel Gap Year Report

Voluntourism on the Amazing Race

Did everyone catch the voluntourism stint in Ghana on the latest Amazing Race? They had the volunteers do the classic ‘paint the school’ project – what are your thoughts on painting projects? Feel good projects for the volunteer because they see the results of their work? Or generally beneficial to the community because they wouldn’t have the time or resources to paint it themselves, uplifts spirits, etc?

Adventure/Volunteer Travel On the Rise Says Travel & Leisure

The Travel & Leisure Atlas Industry Review stats are below – most noticeable is the expected growth in adventure travel and the growing trend towards authentic cultural experiences.

The recovery of the travel industry continues on course as prospects brighten across all sectors of the industry. The aviation sector reflects a leveling of growth rates in air traffic as year-on-year comparisons are framed against the latter months of 2009 when the recovery was already in motion:

In the tourism sector, destinations worldwide continue to post robust visitor gains:

• International visitations to the U.S. rose 11% in the first six months of this year.

• To date, a travel alert for Europe issued by the State Department on October 3 is not noticeably deterring travel activity.

• Travel agents are noting that in place of external amenities, exclusive, authentic experiences are the cornerstones of today’s new luxury excursions.

• An NBTA survey shows corporate travel budgets are up 5.5% this year.

• Tourism to Mexico surged 19% in the first eight months of this year.

• Singapore visitor arrivals soared 18% this August, the highest number of arrivals ever recorded by the destination for the month of August.

• Thailand is extending its successful “Amazing Thailand” promotional campaign with the hope of increasing its tourism volume by 9% in 2011.

• Revenue from tourism has soared 40% for Egypt in the past four years.

• The travel industry is eyeing the adventure travel market as a prime target at a time when uncertainties tend to inhibit less resilient travelers.

Voluntourism in Haiti?

There is a growing trend of people looking for voluntourism opportunities in Haiti – do you think this is sustainable/helpful or are companies that offer these trips simply jumping on the bandwagon of interest? See below for the latest terms that brought people to this blog, see the trend towards Haiti??