Stay tuned! Stay very tuned into G Adventures because the tour operator has new destinations in 2019, it’s planning to expand its relationship with Nat Geo & it’s focusing on alleviating poverty.
In a Q&A with KARRYON, G Adventures’ National Sales Manager for Australia and New Zealand said that responsible tourism will continue to play a big role in the company’s near-future, particularly wealth distribution.
Matty Drummond explained that alleviating poverty has and always be the brand’s “number one priority” and this will be achieved in 2019 through 15 new Planeterra projects.
“As a social enterprise that just happens to do the best small group adventures in the world, we have over 15 different Planeterra projects set to launch next year.”
Matty Drummond, G Adventures National Sales Manager for Australia & New Zealand
“We’ll also be releasing a progress update on our 50 in 5 campaign.”
Outside of responsible tourism, G Adventures also has big plans that’ll keep travellers booking over the next 12 months, including trips to new destinations such as Taiwan and West Africa.
An expansion to G Adventures’ partnership with National Geographic is also in the works, and although Matt wouldn’t give away too much detail, he did say that it will “change the landscape for adventure touring”.
Read on for our full chat with Matty:
G Adventures ticked off some incredible achievements in 2018 – expanded its relationship with Nat Geo, launched wellness tours, introduced sustainable scores, released child safety guidelines, etc – which are you particularly proud of & why?
It’s been another exciting year and whilst I’m incredibly proud of everything we have achieved as an organisation, our G Local Survey & Ripple Score evaluation tool embodies everything we stand for. The Ripple Score enables travellers to see what percentage of money G Adventures spends locally on the trip services, such as accommodation, restaurants and transport. It was developed in consultation with Sustainable Travel International.
As leaders in responsible travel, we believe it’s our duty to be transparent about how often we use local services in each of our trips. As well as educating our travellers on the positive impact they can have through travel, we want to drive the industry forward so we can all become more accountable for our local and social impact.
How do you plan on topping such a successful year in 2019? What will be your main focus?
Our focus on responsible travel and alleviating poverty through wealth distribution is what drives us at G Adventures, so that will continue to be the number one priority for 2019.
As a social enterprise that just happens to do the best small group adventures in the world, we have over 15 different Planeterra projects set to launch next year. We’ll also be releasing a progress update on our 50 in 5 campaign.
New for 2018 were Oman & Hawaii, how did travellers respond to those two destinations?
Growing demand for G Adventures tours in the Middle East led us to explore countries within the region that had great tourism potential, but were largely undiscovered by other operators. Oman – being a mix of modern living, ancient history and ethereal beauty – was the perfect fit. Departures for these tours only begun a couple months ago, but we’ve been really encouraged by the response from our agent partners towards Oman and the traveller numbers we’ve seen are really strong.
Hawaii, likewise, continues to go from strength to strength as a destination for Australian travellers. We’re seeing that Aussie travellers want to dig beneath the surface, find the local gems and get out and explore more of what the islands have to offer.
Are you looking at introducing any new destinations in 2019?
We’re introducing three brand new destinations in 2019. The first is West Africa, which is slowly recovering from a lapse in tourism following the Ebola breakout of 2014, and at G Adventures we’re proud to be leading the way by introducing land-based trips in Senegal (and The Gambia) for the first time.
Another new destination for G Adventures in 2019 is Taiwan, which is one of the lesser-visited and most underrated countries in Asia. We’re also expanding our presence in Peru by offering tours in the country’s north for the first time, exploring the ruins of Chan Chan.
You also rebranded your youth tours from YOLO to 18-to-Thirtysomethings, how has this impacted sales?
We’ve had a hugely positive response to our rebranded 18-to-Thirtysomethings tours. From an Agent perspective, the name makes the most sense.
They’re no longer having to explain to travellers what YOLO means, it’s now simple and straightforward: a tour for travellers aged 18-to-Thirtysomethings. It’s been so popular, we’ve even seen other brands follow suit.
The relationship with National Geo remains strong, even recently expanded to include new tours/destinations, how do you hope the relationship evolves in the future?
Watch this space! There will be some exciting news from National Geographic and G Adventures in early 2019, that will change the landscape for adventure touring.
Can you give us an early hint on where G Adventures’ may take Agents for UMI in 2019? If not, can you confirm that it will be coming back?
UMI has been so successful over the last few years that we wanted to turn it on its head and take it global. We’re switched it up and it’s now the ‘Change Makers Challenge‘ – the biggest Agent incentive in the world. There will be more Agents involved than any other year, not just in Australia and New Zealand but across all of our sales divisions. We’ll have some more announcements relating to Change Makers early next year – and yes, this includes where the mystery destination will be! It’s worth the wait.
We’ve seen the top 2019 lists, we know where everyone is expected to go in 2019, but what countries/cities are on your 2019 bucket list?
There are some amazing destinations on the 2019 must do list and one of the benefits of working for an Adventure Tour operator like G Adventures is that they can take you there. It depends on which day you ask me, as we really are spoilt for choice.
Trekking the Laugavagur Trail in Iceland has been on the list for quite some time now. The stunning fjords and glaciers, erupting geysers, countless waterfalls and science-fiction like landscapes are like nowhere else in the world and to get that sense of adventure on your own two feet would be a great experience. We have also just launched a new G for Good project – the Solheimer Ecovillage, which supports people living with disabilities in the region.
I also have my eye on Uzbekistan and/or Turkmenistan. Yep, a bit of a different experience to Iceland but a unique & rewarding one all the same. Wandering aimlessly through the bazaars and visiting the natural landscapes and wonders like the ‘Door to Hell’ (Derweze Gas Crater). Simply immersing yourself deep into the culture of such a unique part of the world and getting a true sense of the way of life in Central Asia.
Which countries/cities not on 2019 must-visit lists do you wish were on there & why?
I’d love to see Egypt make a resurgence up the list after the challenges they’ve had in country over the past few years. We continue to see travellers gaining the courage to venture back there with steady growth over the past 12 months but to see the impact that a lack of tourism has had on the local communities has been disheartening to see. With so many ancient sites and architectural wonders to behold, as well as so much to offer for the adventurous traveller, Egypt is a must visit on anyone’s bucket list.
- READ: G Adventures buys youth tour brand it “couldn’t compete” with
- READ: How can I be a Child Safe Traveller? New guidelines will help
- READ: G Adventures launches inspiring global Agent incentive
Taiwan or West Africa – which would you like to see in 2019?
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