Adventure travel leader sees shift toward centre-based and comfort tours
Toronto, ON – G Adventures, an adventure-travel pioneer on a journey to change the way people think about travel, reveals trends and forecasts for 2012. Based on travel patterns, feedback from customers and on-the-ground expertise of the company’s CEOs (Chief Experience Officers) stationed worldwide, the tour operator foresees some significant shifts in traveller wishes.
“More and more of today’s travellers are looking for an organic, holistic experience that immerses them in local life. They want to live like the locals do and actively explore the region for a raw, honest approach to the destination,” says Bruce Poon Tip, G Adventures’ founder.
Based on a surge in travellers’ desire for centre-based experiences, the tour operator expanded on the idea of a homestay and introduced the Local Living program. On the Amalfi Coast Local Living trip, travellers stay in an authentic agriturismo (farm house) located in the tiny village of Sant Alfonso, hike beautiful trails including the famous Walk of the Gods, and learn about the fate of Pompeii.
In Patagonia, travellers live at an organic local farm, learn about sustainable farming, and hike and bike Patagonian trails. The Guatemala Local Living program, a destination up 30 per cent in 2011 versus the previous year, immerses travellers into the Mayan life on Lake Atitlán, a region ringed by volcanoes, learning about day-to-day agricultural and artisan trades. Local Living tours are also offered in the Dolomites, Northern Tuscany and Southern Tuscany.
The company also experienced over 15 per cent growth in sales year over year in 2011 of their Comfort program. These tours include experiences that combine adventure, unique cultures and wildlife, but offer the comfort of select accommodations that offer additional amenities, facilities and services, in addition to upgraded transportation options.
John Warner, G Adventures Vice President of Global Sales, says “We are seeing an increase in travellers who want the same G Adventures immersive travel experience but also want to enjoy a few creature comforts along the way. To satify demand we expanded our portfolio of comfort tours to include more than 35 new adventures in 2012 – with each tour offering great value and a softer landing.”
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Interest in North America as an adventure destination is also on the increase.
“There’s definitely a strong appetite for North America and the desire to discover the beauty in our own backyard. In addition to lower airfare costs, the destination offers tons of amazing experiences and natural wonders like the Canadian Rockies, Grand Canyon and Death Valley,” adds Poon Tip.
Responding to the trend, G Adventures introduced a comprehensive array of affordable North American tours in three trip styles – the Overland Road Trips and Standard Accommodated Adventures explore the continent’s famed national parks and captivating cities while the Active Comfort Escapes respond to the rise in demand for centre-based, comfort trips. Designed for those who want to take their time, stretch out and really delve into a particular region. The tours are based out of comfortable, authentic lodges and hotels near national parks and iconic sites. With an average group size of eight, the intimate, week-long trips are ideal for those looking to actively explore a region by foot, pedal and paddle.
South East Asia maintains its popularity on travellers’ bucket lists. In addition to traditional regions like Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, the Philippines and Burma, are emerging as the new off the beaten path adventure travel destinations. G Adventures introduced the Philippines Adventure and Classic Burma Adventure for 2012.
Following the 100th anniversary of Machu Picchu’s rediscovery this year, G Adventures expects the growing demand for Inca Trail permits to continue. In response to this the operator offers an Inca Trail permit guarantee, whereby travellers can be safe in the knowledge that once a permit is confirmed their space on the Inca Trail is guaranteed. And for those who are short on time but still want to experience the Inca Trail and witness the Lost City of the Incas, G Adventures now offers a one-day trek on a selection of tours.
With the inclusion of the Amazon Jungle in the new 7 Wonders of Nature the company has already seen an increase in the number of travellers wanting to combine a trip to the jungle with Machu Picchu. With G Adventures, travellers are able to stay at the new G Lodge Amazon, one of a select few properties verified by the Rainforest Alliance in Peru.