Adventure travel done differently – G Adventures a global success with Brian Young – Managing Director, EMEA at G Adventures
The world of Travel & Tourism today is very different from how it was over three decades ago, with the internet only just starting to have a big impact in the world by the mid 1990s. There have been several factors that have brought huge changes within this industry including greater access to technology and therefore more information, and rising levels of disposable income.
For much of the past most tourists were generally fairly conservative about the style of holidays they took, and relied on travel agents to design standard holidays for them such as a week in a resort near a beach. Now though, tastes are significantly shifting as people’s travel desires have begun to alter. While chilled out holidays are still popular, ever greater numbers of people are looking for new ways to travel and see the world and new experiences in the places they head to.
Much of this has been fuelled by the internet, cheaper flights, smartphones and the greater emphasis people now put on incredible memorable experiences in their lives, rather than owning things, especially among younger generations.
In 1990 Canadian Entrepreneur Bruce Poon Tip, a strong advocate of sustainable adventure travel, recognised a trend that led him to believe that increasing numbers of people were also beginning to actively seek out this new style of travel. With this vision, he decided to launch G Adventures with the belief that these authentic adventures, experienced in a responsible and sustainable manner would become the primary choice of travel that many more people would take in the future.
His hunch proved to be spot on, as the tour operator has since gone from strength to strength, shifting from a one-man show to a globally recognised brand with 28 offices and over 2,200 worldwide employees. The destinations, experiences and trips offered has also expanded massively from a handful of trips in Latin America to more than 700 globally spanning adventure holidays! In fact, G Adventures has now become the world’s largest independently-owned small group adventure company.
Following 11 years in the accomodation-only sector, in March 2015, Brian Young chose to embrace a new challenge by becoming the G Adventures Managing Director for the EMEA region. Brian has previously founded On Holiday Group and Holiday Taxis, so is no stranger to entrepreneurship himself. He has a wealth of experience within the travel sector, including operations, human resources (or Talent as it’s called at G Adventures), sales and marketing, and customer experience within the tour operating and online travel sectors.
During this insightful session, Brian will discuss the factors that have led to such massive success for G Adventures such as the passion within the brand for making sure over 200,000 travellers get behind the scenes to experience the real world in an authentic and sustainable manner. He will also illustrate why it is so important to understand and appreciate that life-altering experiences come in a variety of flavours, because travellers these days have individual and unique desires for their adventures, in large part fuelled by how easy it is for them to see what the world has to offer all from the convenience of their smartphone.
Travel & Tourism has changed forever, but G Adventures is a clear example of how to successfully embrace the way people now want to travel and experience the world. Instead, if your brand gets stuck in the past and tries to continue in the same way that things have always been done, this is a clear recipe for getting left behind in today’s rapidly shifting world. Brian should be able to inspire attendees to see all the opportunities that are available if they are willing to recognise the current climate and embrace change.
We would like to offer a big thanks to our Platinum sponsors, Interval International and RCI and our Gold level sponsors, Dial An Exchange, Light Enterprises and Shawbrook Bank. Without our sponsors each year the event wouldn’t be possible so we are extremely grateful for their amazing support.