Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.


Certares’ O’Hara to Take Up World Travel & Tourism Council Chair

9 months ago

Certares Founder and Senior Managing Director Greg O’Hara will be the next chair of the World Travel & Tourism Council. He starts later this month, the organization announced on Friday.

O’Hara has served as vice chair since 2021 and has been a member of the organization ‘s executive committee since 2019. He will be taking over for the current chairman, Arnold Donald, former Carnival Corporation President and CEO.

Certares is a private equity firm that owns Internova Travel Group and has active investments in G Adventures, Brightline, American Express Business Travel Group, LATAM Airlines and other companies in the travel industry.

O’Hara is the chairman of American Express Global Business Travel and serves on the board of directors of TripAdvisor. Prior to founding Certares, he served as the chief investment officer of JP Morgan Chases’s Special Investments Group.

O’Hara recently shared his views on the future of travel at Skift Global Forum in New York City.

Tour Operators

Machu Picchu Shut Down: Tour Operators Grapple with Peru’s Political Turmoil

1 year ago

Political unrest continues to unravel tourism recovery in Peru. Tour operators were forced to evacuate tourists and halt tours to Machu Picchu over the weekend due to ongoing violent protests and widespread service disruptions.

Both Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail hike to the famous site have been closed indefinitely.

Hundreds of tourists were left stranded over the weekend as tensions escalated. Both Intrepid Travel and G Adventures confirmed to Skift they would cancel trips until 5 February, due to the ongoing political instability.

Skift previously reported how the South American country has been grappling with reactions to a destructive self-coup attempt by its impeached President Pedro Castillo.

Gary Cohen, Intrepid’s managing director for Latin America, said the company had safely evacuated one group to hotel accommodation in Cusco and plans are being put in place to rebook or refunded affected trips.

All G Adventures itineraries for travelers on the ground in Peru were being re-routed, according to its statement.

At this point, it remains unclear when tourism would return to normal as a state of emergency has been extended, affecting airport closures and overall travel to the country.


Geopolitical and Economic Turmoil Is Reordering Where Travelers Go in 2023

2 years ago

A mix of international tensions, economic turmoil, and political tension is causing many travelers to rethink the destinations they’re prioritizing on their “bucket lists” in 2023, according to an article on Wednesday in Toronto’s The Globe and Mail.

The most obvious example is Russia, which many Western tourists have avoided since its 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Some reasons are practical. Foreign bank cards may not work locally, and flights into and out of the country are limited for residents in North America and Europe.

China continues to raise question marks in the minds of some travelers. The Globe and Mail quotes a frequent traveler who has visited 40 countries who had previously wanted to visit China but has been put off in the short-term by the country’s alarming policies. The arbitrary detention of two Canadian travelers soured China’s reputation among some Canadians.

Bruce Poon Tip, founder of tour company G Adventures, said customer demand has shrunk in the past few years for several destinations, including Iran, Myanmar, Turkey, and Sri Lanka.

Beirut, which had been a party city for many jetsetters, has lost its appeal because of Lebanon’s economic collapse.

But it’s not all bad news. Some countries are gaining interest from travelers. Canada’s appearance as a safe, stable destination may help it attract visitors. Colombia, Egypt, South Korea, and Costa Rica have also seen rising demand.

Click the link for the full article from The Globe and Mail.

A Shrinking Map for Tourists

Tour Operators

G Adventures Invests in Restorative Tourism Platform Reforest

2 years ago

Adventure travel specialist G Adventures has made a “significant financial investment” in Reforest, a digital platform that connects travelers with local communities that are restoring their ecosystems using reforestation.

Reforest, which is based in Brisbane, Australia, said it enables travelers to give back by having their own trees planted in places where community tourism relies heavily on the preservation of the local environment.

The platform then provides travelers with tangible, visible, scientific data measuring the positive impact of the trees planted on their behalf — including drone-based footage and satellite imagery.

“I’ve never been a fan of carbon-offsetting,” said Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures, who recently spoke at Skift Global Forum in New York. “The idea that you can have a negative impact in one place and do something positive somewhere else, and that somehow balances the scale, is not science to me, and most of all it doesn’t change people’s behaviour.”

The stake G Adventures has taken not been disclosed but Daniel Walsh, Reforest’s co-founder, said the investment gave the company the means to improve its technology, and expand its offering by marketing the platform more widely within the global travel industry.

“Together we will also create a showcase example of restorative tourism at work as we build the G Adventures’ tree-planting programme together over the coming month,” he said in a statement.

Tour Operators

Rival Tour Operators G Adventures and Intrepid Travel Launch Ad Campaigns on the London Underground

2 years ago

You know travel is back when….arch rival tour operators G Adventures and Intrepid Travel have both unveiled new ad campaigns targeting commuters across London’s transport systems. 

G Adventures’ “When was the last time you felt like this?” campaign, in which the company aims to showcase the joys of small-group adventures, features digital posters in London Underground stations and escalators. The month-long promotion, which is taking place while rail strikes disrupt travel in the United Kingdom, is targeting prospective customers who have returned to their offices.

“With London office workers quickly returning to our capital, that sense of ‘Groundhog Day’ was starting to set in,” said G Adventures Marketing Director Ant Stone.

London’s free newspapers, the Evening Standard and Metro, will also feature weekly content from G Adventures.

Meanwhile, Intrepid Travel has posted ads in London Underground stations and on buses, among other places, featuring the slogan “Travel Is Back For Good.” It’s the company’s first-ever big brand campaign in the UK.

Mergers and Acquisitions

G Adventures Hasn’t Yet Used Certares Investment Money; Closing In On Acquisitions Now

2 years ago

G Adventures, the small group tour operator hasn’t yet used any of the large amount of money it received in early 2021 from travel-focused private equity firm Certares, CEO Bruce Poon Tip admitted in an interview with Phocuswire.

When Skift first broke the news about this investment in early Feb 2021, the company said at that time that there was no change in ownership or equity involved in the transaction, and that this investment was for growth capital, not working capital, and Certares did not take a minority stake in the G Adventures. Which meant that this money was allocated for M&A by G Adventures, and it looks like after all this time, finally the company may be ready with its first set of acquisitions.

From the interview: “We haven’t done much, I’ll admit. There’s a bit of pressure now, to be honest. It’s just over a year later. We were given a substantial amount of capital for acquisitions…There are going to be some announcements within the next month that we’re finalizing….We signed this deal within that first year of COVID thinking there were going to be great opportunities for acquisition on the other side of COVID. But like every other travel company, we were in survival mode taking care of our own business… We’ve looked at startups, we’ve looked at established brands within the group travel space. We looked at investments in minority and majority stakes. Our wheelhouse is definitely group travel…I’m looking to other niche travel markets that could use more of our infrastructure and distribution and also our lens for community tourism and social enterprise.”