TORONTO — National Geographic Expeditions and G Adventures have announced new destinations and tours for 2019, all available for sale starting this week.
In the past year the National Geographic Journeys trips have delivered the strongest growth of all of G Adventures’ trip styles, says the travel company, with a 10% year-over-year increase among Canadian travellers, and a 25% surge in booking sales compared to the year before.
Peru, South Africa, Costa Rica, Morocco and Thailand were the top five most popular destinations booked by Journeys travellers from Canada.
“The Journeys story is all about growth. Compared to even two years ago, bookings of these trips have soared more than 100% and we’re adding more product to keep up with demand,” says Aizaz Sheikh, Canadian Marketing Director for G Adventures.
“In terms of the trend lines, these tours are proving to be one of the most attractive and sellable experiences we offer the travel agent community because of their focus on comfortable accommodations and exclusive experiences. An impressive 58% of Journeys’ Canadian sales were driven by our partner travel agents and advisors, with an average spend of nearly $3,500 per customer.”
In terms of the typical Journeys traveller from Canada, the average person is 55 years old and has booked a trip of 12 days long with five months lead time. A strong majority of those Canadian travellers has been women – who make up 64% of Journeys buyers.
Beginning in January, travellers will have the chance to take advantage of Bolivia’s recently-improved tourism infrastructure and experience its stunning landscapes, including the Uyuni Salt Flats, while learning about its rich cultural heritage and visiting one of the highest cities on Earth.
Also new in South America for 2019, there’s a tour of Peru’s archaeologically and ecologically-wondrous north that will have travellers exploring cloud forests, hiking a huge waterfall and peering back into pre-Incan times.
An additional combination tour of the northern Chachapoyas region, coupled with a visit to iconic Machu Picchu by train, offers a 16-day deep-dive into life in Peru.
In Europe, National Geographic Journeys builds on growing international interest in Portugal as a vacation destination with two new tours that are eight or 15 days in length.
The first, focusing on Lisbon, Coimbra and Porto, showcases the country’s food, wine and architecture. The second combines one week in Portugal with another in Spain, adding Alhambra with time for wandering through Seville.
According to Portugal’s National Statistics Institute, the country welcomed a record 12.7 million international visitors in 2017.
In Europe’s Eastern region, a new tour in Hungary and Romania has its launch point in Budapest before moving on to Transylvania, for a dose of history, culture, myths and legends at Bran Castle.
Launched in late 2015, National Geographic Journeys has grown from 70 tours in its initial year to 89 different tours in 55 countries today. Since last fall, a special focus on expanding Journeys tours further into Africa and Asia helped bring new travellers to Tanzania, Botswana, Mongolia and Indonesia.
Priced from $1,349 per person and from six to 30 days in length, the 2019 itineraries “are designed for travellers who appreciate having free time and flexibility, but value the structure and security that come with group travel.”
“We are thrilled with the strong growth of the Journeys line and are pleased to expand our offerings allowing consumers to experience different parts of the globe,” adds Heather Heverling, Senior Vice President, National Geographic Expeditions. “It feels good to be able to offer people even more ways to connect with the inspiring community programs and fieldwork each of our organizations support.”
The new and updated tours for 2019 are:
- Highlights of Bolivia (8 days, from $2,549)
- Peru & Bolivia: Machu Picchu to the Salt Flats (16 days, from $4,999)
- Explore Northern Peru (9 days, from $3,279)
- Explore Northern Peru & Machu Picchu (16 days, from $5,119)
- Discover Portugal (8 days, from $2,199)
- Iconic Portugal & Spain (15 days, from $4,399)
- Hungary & Romania Highlights (8 days, from $2,529)
- Discover Central & Eastern Europe (16 days, from $5,099)