Subscribe to Newsletter

INTERVIEW: G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip


He’s one of the biggest names in world travel. Here, Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures, discusses the impact of mass tourism and how consumers have changed thanks to the development of social media.

 

Why did you set up G Adventures?


Back in 1990 there were no real choices in mainstream tourism: cruises, resorts, coach tours, that was it. The only other option was backpacking. So we wanted to bridge the gap between the main stream traveller and the backpacker.

When I went travelling I met lots of young, professional people on the road and that was my Eureka moment. There were lots of people with disposable income who wanted some kind of cultural and grass roots immersion experience. 

 

Was it an instant success?

It wasn’t overnight but by 1994 we started selling in Australia and that was the first time that we tried a market outside of Canada. To this day we get more Australians on our trips than Canadians, which makes us a very unique business.

Our first five years were growing years but really tough. It was only from 1996 to 1998 that we really solidified our position because we were so unique when we started. People were a little skeptical when we started.

 

Bruce in Peru

 

Do you consider yourself a trailblazer?

Yeah, the original idea was in itself extremely ground breaking. Then in 1996 we started our own foundation, building community projects and working with Conservation International and NGOs to build social enterprise businesses. That was also way ahead of its time. We’ve done 75 projects over our first 25 years. We were and still are extremely innovative. 

 

Over the past 28 years, has the consumer changed?

I think the consumer has changed. People have information in their pockets now with an endless wealth of information on their phones. People are starting to match their values with their holiday time.

 

What do you get on a G Adventure tour?

One of the greatest things about our trips is that we have people from all over the world that join. People from 160 countries book trips with us, so you’re going to get a diverse group of people.

I think that attracts a certain person because they are experiencing a new culture with a bunch of other people from different cultures, so it’s an adventure inside your adventure.

And you’re going to have an experience that we’ve curated for you, based on your interests. We’ll find areas and corners of the world that we’ll curate for people that will match their values.

 

Tajikistan

 

Where are you seeing growth?
We are getting more people from places like Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Russia and China, who are coming on our trips and are making the dynamics of the groups very interesting.

One of our fastest growing areas in the world is Central Asia, the ‘Stans. We know we can have a positive impact and do things in a sustainable way and that’s very rewarding because there’s still no mass tourism in the ‘Stans.

 

Sustainability is absolutely key to everything you do.

For us it is about social enterprise, wealth distribution, poverty alleviation and preserving cultural treasures for future generations around the world.

More and more people are pushing towards exotic destinations or remote areas that are more fragile and mass tourism doesn’t always respect that when demand comes.

 

How important is the Australian market?

Absolutely imperative, critical. It’s one of the most important markets for us in the world. Australians are natural explorers and that comes from your geography. Because Australia is so remote, there’s a culture here that doesn’t exist anywhere else, where people want to see the rest of the world. It’s a rite of passage.

 

Peru Sacred Valley

 

G Adventures has just launched its new 66-page Agent Guide. Designed specifically for agents, it helps them learn more about the company and makes it easier than ever before to help change lives through the power of travel.

Ingrid Kocijan, Director of Sales for Australia and New Zealand, describes the guide as a fully compressive selling tool, designed to answer any questions agents may have about the adventure company.

“We designed the Guide to help agents understand more about adventure travel as a whole,” Kocijan said. “When we say adventure we don’t mean active adventure, we mean culturally immersive experiences.”

G Adventures GPS (Global Purpose Specialist) team will be distributing the guide to agencies throughout Australia over the coming months.

 


Written by: Traveltalk Magazine
Published: 9 October 2018


comments powered by Disqus