G Adventures Unveils Travel Trends, Forecasts for 2012
By David Cogswell
December 14, 2011 9:50 PM
G Adventures published a list of trends and forecasts for 2012 based on observations of the company’s CEOs (Chief Experience Officers) around the world. The company employees based in various destinations have compiled the results of observing travel patterns and hearing customer feedback. Though the group is diverse, it has come up with some consensus in its observations of some significant shifts in client preferences.
“More and more of today’s travelers are looking for an organic, holistic experience that immerses them in local life,” said company founder Bruce Poon Tip. “They want to live like the locals do and actively explore the region for a raw, honest approach to the destination.”
Based on customer feedback, the company has expanded on the idea of a home stay and introduced the Local Living program. On the Amalfi Coast Local Living trip, for example, clients stay in an authentic agriturismo (farm house) in the village of Sant Alfonso, hike trails such as the Walk of the Gods, and learn about Pompeii. In Patagonia, clients live at an organic local farm, learn about sustainable farming, and hike and bike Patagonian trails. The Guatemala Local Living program immerses clients in the Mayan life on Lake Atitl·n, 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 had more than 15 percent growth in sales year over year in 2011 of its Comfort program, which combines adventure, culture and wildlife, but also offers the comfort of select accommodations that offer additional amenities, facilities and services, in addition to upgraded transportation options. “We are seeing an increase in clients who want the same G Adventures immersive travel experience but also want to enjoy a few creature comforts along the way,” said John Warner, G Adventures vice president of global sales. “To satisfy 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.”
The company is seeing an increasing interest in North America as an adventure destination. “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,” said 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 national parks and cities, while the Active Comfort Escapes respond to the rise in demand for comfort trips. Designed for those who want to take their time, stretch out and really delve into a particular region, the tours are based in comfortable, authentic lodges and hotels near national parks and iconic sites. With an average group size of eight, the intimate, weeklong trips are ideal for those looking to actively explore a region by foot, pedal and paddle.
South East Asia maintains its popularity on clients’ 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, the operator offers an Inca Trail permit guarantee, whereby clients 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 clients wanting to combine a trip to the jungle with Machu Picchu. With G Adventures, clients are able to stay at the new G Lodge Amazon, one of a select few properties verified by the Rainforest Alliance in Peru.