Ready to get out and travel? World’s Best Adventures is offering an all-inclusive Charleston trip that helps fund local journalism


Jamie Johnson, manager of the travel company, said World’s Best Adventures decided to relaunch its all-inclusive offerings after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided guidelines for those vaccinated against COVID-19.

“People who are fully vaccinated are able to travel together without being masked and feel a lot safer,” she said. “Groups we previously booked are looking forward to getting back to traveling again.”

Those who join one of the company’s trips must show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations, and will need to be fully vaccinated for two weeks prior to the date of travel. Johnson noted that all bus drivers and tour guides will meet this requirement as well.

The upcoming Charleston trip includes a tour of Fort Sumter, Magnolia Plantation, as well as a private Gullah tour. Guests will also be able to shop in the historic Charleston City Market. Most of the activities will require walking. 

The trip, which is limited to around 40 people, costs $1,161 for individuals and $835 for double occupancy. The price covers the tours, all meals, two-night accommodations at a 3-star hotel, all gratuities and transportation in a luxury motor coach. People must book the experience 30 days in advance of the trip. 

Guests will be picked up from the parking lot outside The Times and returned to the same location at the end of their journey.

A few other adventures are in the works, including an excursion from June 28 to July 1, in Memphis, Tennessee, and a trip from July 12 to July 14, in Savannah.

World’s Best Adventures is a part of Metro Market Media, which also owns The Times, Forsyth County News, South Forsyth News and Dawson County News. Proceeds from its tours help fund journalism in those communities.

For more information or to book a trip, visit worldsbestadventures.com.



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Water Adventures For Any Age From State College, PA To Virginia Beach


Hit The Beach In Delaware Or Maryland

Rehoboth, Bethany, Fenwick Island, or Ocean City, Maryland, take your pick, all are beautiful, and each has its own personality. I have visited all of them, and my personal favorite of the four is Ocean City, Maryland. My parents took me there as a child, and I still enjoy visiting. (Note that Ocean City, Maryland, is the most commercialized of the four.)

Whichever beach you select, plan to stay a night or two. Enjoy walking along the coast, putting your toes in the sand, and watching the waves. If the waves are a bit much for you, stay on the bayside in Ocean City and enjoy the calmer waters and beautiful sunsets.

Ride bikes on the boardwalk, take a charter fishing boat, or try parasailing or jet skiing. There are many shops, restaurants, miniature golf, and other fun activities to enjoy at all the beaches in Delaware and Maryland.

Chincoteague Island, Virginia

Next, we are heading south to Chincoteague Island, Virginia. Chincoteague is known for the wild ponies that live there. Do you remember the story about Misty of Chincoteague? It was a popular Little Golden Book back in the 1950s and ’60s (actually written in 1947.) A movie was made with the same name in 1961.

Whether you stay for an afternoon or a few days, Chincoteague is a serene destination offering beautiful unspoiled nature, spectacular sunsets, and a relaxed atmosphere. There are no traffic jams, boardwalks, or high-rise condos. Virginia’s only resort island is the home of the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The Chincoteague Wild Ponies call the refuge home. Don’t be surprised if they walk by you on the beach. If you visit near the end of July, you can join other spectators and watch the annual Pony Swim.

The island is seven miles long and three miles wide, with lots of activities for all ages to enjoy. A favorite pastime on Chincoteague Island is crabbing. Using a net with a baited line, you try to catch the crabs and steam them in large crab pots with Old Bay Seasoning. Everything required to try crabbing can be purchased at any local hardware store or fishing shop.

Pro Tip: Be careful with food on the beach. I’ve heard of ponies helping themselves.



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G Adventures celebrates 100th trip since September


G Adventures has seen the departure of its 100th escorted tour since its operations restarted in September.

The trips it has been running are for holidaymakers who are able to travel, between countries where travel is possible.

The 100th trip departed on April 2, in Costa Rica – one of 11 countries the small-group adventure operator has been able to feature since September.

For travellers currently unable to travel due to government regulations, G Adventures is offering an incentive to ‘book now for travel later’ with 15% off select Classic trips and 15% off the ‘My Own Room’ option for travellers looking for more personal space.

The discounts are available for bookings made during April, 2021, for trips departing up until June 30, 2022.

The trips which have run since September have G Adventures’ ‘Travel with Confidence’ policy, which aims to protect travellers, staff and people in local communities.

Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures, said: “Travelling during the pandemic is a personal choice and we have gone to great lengths to ensure that travellers who have the desire and ability to explore can do so safely and responsibly.

“To also make sure that local communities are protected we’ve had ongoing dialogue with our partners and projects on the ground to gauge their willingness and readiness to welcome travellers, so all parties can enjoy meaningful and safe connections and experiences.”

MoreOlder travellers will be the first to return, says G Adventures

G Adventures creates ‘Mini Adventures’ programme

G Adventures offers tours in mainstream European destinations

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G Adventures Bruce Poon Tip on Joe Exotic, problem tourism and pandemic travel one year on


‘The travel industry does to travellers what the Tiger King did to tigers’: G Adventures’ Bruce Poon Tip reflects on a year without travel. Photo / Netflix

G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip says he experienced last year in the same way that “crash test dummy” experiences a windscreen.

He had grown G Adventures from a student enterprise into the world’s largest small-group adventure company. After 30 years of acceleration, life was a rhythm of airports, expansion and exploration.

Then it all came to a messy, unexpected halt. Cancellations, an office exodus and finally layoffs.

After a flurry of violent activity, on March 16 2020 the company went into hibernation.
What followed was a lot of soul searching; a long year in the desert at his makeshift home office in Toronto. Two months into which he published the book “Unlearn: The year the world stood still”.

“It began as one of those ‘everything is going to be alright’ letters that every company was writing at the time. But I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I didn’t know ‘everything was going to be alright’.”

G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip's last overseas trip was to Auckland. That was a year ago. Photo / File
G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip’s last overseas trip was to Auckland. That was a year ago. Photo / File

Just a year earlier Bruce had been in Auckland, celebrating the A Force For Good summit. Sat across from me, Bruce was in town for a celebration of travel and the fact that a full tenth of the world relied on travel and tourism for their livelihoods. Far more than a tenth in the developing world, in the places which used to be G’s bread and butter.

G and the other speakers were at their zenith. Bruce never expected it was the last overseas trip he would take for a year.

Or, perhaps it was denial?

“[Covid] was a joke in every interview I did,” he says, recounting the trip to Auckland. Making an appearance on TVNZ Breakfast, “there was a bit on people rushing out to buy toilet roll.”

“Oh my goodness, the lack of information,” said Bruce, chastising himself for telling people not to cancel their travel. To “stay strong”, “keep calm” and “go out and see the world.”

A lot happened in the week following: the WHO declared sars-cov-2 a pandemic, New Zealand would shut its borders, the fragile nature of travel would be exposed for all to see – and I would break Bruce Poon Tip’s own record for consecutive days spent trapped in Punta Arenas, Patagonia.

It’s exhausting just to think about. So to meet again 365 days on, feels like a lifetime has passed.

Dialling into the Zoom call from his home in Canada, the travel evangelist seemed chastened by his experiences.

“It’s hard to think that 12 months later we’re still here in Lockdown.”

Like many other companies G has spent the last year recapitalising the business, extending pauses in operations – always following the “promise of pent-up demand” on return, as the restart got kicked further down the road. It was a year that tested even Bruce’s “optimism”.

Now, finally there appears to be some progress. G has delivered 100 trips since the start of the year. Rebooting tours in Europe around Mt Blanc, Morocco and Egypt the return of group tours has been slower than expected, but the first green shoots are emerging of post-pandemic travel.

Uphill battle: G Adventures has led 100 'Travel with Confidence' trips since the Pandemic. Photo / Supplied
Uphill battle: G Adventures has led 100 ‘Travel with Confidence’ trips since the Pandemic. Photo / Supplied

Still, G Adventures is in no hurry.

“I don’t think we should be fighting to ‘get back to normal’, I hate when people say that,” Just before the pandemic, I don’t think normal was a very great”.

There were a lot of mistakes. As his book points out, these were mistakes G Adventures was just as guilty of.

Tourists as caged tigers

As “head of the world’s largest small-group adventure travel company” G’s contradictory existence put them on a par with the cruise companies, airlines or accommodation providers as “one of the villains in these scenarios”.

Though well meaning – G was another company helping fill tourism destinations to the brim, driving demand for bucket list experiences and disappointing Greta Thunberg.
Similarly, it wasn’t just the travel companies behaving badly. Problem Tourists was something that many destinations had grown to expect.

Headlines of air rage, insensitive acts and bad behavior when abroad were part and symptom of what was wrong with the old “normal”.

During the lockdown the perfect metaphor for the ‘problem tourist’:

“In so many ways, the travel industry does to travellers what the Tiger King did to tigers.”
Travellers he says are “noble creatures”, with noble intentions – but they become “tourists” when packed into tight spaces and made to “behave in whatever ways earn the most profit”.

Joe Exotic might have been forever linked to travel’s “end of innocence,” as Bruce called it.
Ahead of international companies like G Adventures is a long road to recovery. However, so is the chance to rebuild with 30 years’ worth of experience and mistakes behind them.

'Travel with Confidence': G Adventures has made its first steps into post pandemic travel. Photo / Travel
‘Travel with Confidence’: G Adventures has made its first steps into post pandemic travel. Photo / Travel

Plug the “leakage”

As a global company G makes its profits from a share of the dollars spent in the communities it visits.

Economic “Leakage” describes the dollars siphoned off by a global company off every tourist transaction. Quoting a 2017 study in Bali it was shown, for every $1 spend in a 4-star-hotel, 56 cent disappeared offshore.

“As terrible as 55.31 per cent sounds, it’s not that bad a number, globally speaking,” says Bruce. However there are places where leakage exceeds 100 per cent – meaning tourism becomes a net cost to the places hosting them.

One of the biggest changes that G has seen in the last 10 years is for more of guests’ dollars to stay in the communities they visit.

Today Bruce says “an average of 93 per cent ripple score” meaning it is 93 per cent owned by local companies. Keeping more of the economic gains in the communities where travellers visit might help build back a stronger tourism infrastructures, capable of withstanding future challenges.

Taking pride in tourism

A year on, tourism may not be the same power it was at the “Force For Good” summit. After huge job losses and business closures in travel around the world, many people rightly question how those remaining operators will cope, when demand returns.

When asked about the problems facing New Zealand’s travel agencies – which lost 70 per cent of their shops since a year ago – Bruce said it represented a “huge opportunity” for the remaining travel agents. Being told to “buy a new car” was not the answer they were expecting.

The flippant answer suggested that a year might not have been quite long enough to consider all of travel’s existential problems.

However, in general Bruce sees only upsides to staying in travel and tourism.

The force might be reduced, but there’s still a lot of good to be done through overseas travel.

As Bruce reflected in the book: “Something kind of magical happens when a bunch of relatively wealthy foreigners come into a community from far away.”

The company has seen declines in trends of aging populations and a reverse of a youth exodus in the remote parts of the world, where the majority of G Adventures tours visit.
“Oohing and aahing over everyday pottery and hats and llamas: it starts to make the younger people proud of where they come from.”

What goes for local cultures and remote parts of Peru, is also true for travel.

Giving people a reason to be proud of the Tourism industry, and the good ends to which it can be put might just be the answer to an industry in despair. Rebuilding travel will be an uphill climb worthy of the Inca Trail. But at G Adventures says it will be worth it.



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John Kirk Talks Travel – Bruce Poon Tip – G Adventures


Vaccines are coming. And there’s a great deal of pent-up demand for travel. But there’s also plenty of controversy in Canada about quarantine hotels, airline bailouts and travel shaming.

TravelPulse Canada Editor in Chief John Kirk sat down virtually with Bruce Poon Tip of G Adventures to chat about what’s on the horizon for travel.





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Lockdown has ‘given people wanderlust’, says G Adventures founder


G Adventures’ founder has reported a spike in bucket-list holidays and “milestone” travel as consumers plan their first trips after lockdown.

Bruce Poon Tip said the adventure travel specialist has seen a spike in searches for bucket-list trips to destination such as Everest base camp, Kilimanjaro and the Inca Trail.

Speaking from Toronto on a webcast on Thursday, he said more people want “milestone” travel and destinations were becoming more important than they had been before the pandemic started a year ago.

“Lockdown has given people wanderlust,” he told the webcast, which had viewers from countries as far afield as Canada, the US, the UK, Germany and South Africa.

A G Adventures survey of travellers around the world found that 59% of respondents said lockdown made them want to travel more than before – and 77% were yet to book a trip.

He said travel had become like a commodity with a focus on “thread counts on sheets” but now people are “more purposeful” and care more about the destination they want to visit.

The operator has also seen a trend for longer holidays as people want to fly less often, while many also want to work while overseas.

Poon Tip said mainstream holiday options such as cruise ships or all-inclusive resorts will remain but if just a few people opt for more meaningful travel there will be “a tsunami of change”.


MorePandemic has ‘amplified’ awareness of environmental issues, says G Adventures


He said the “most exciting” vaccine news was the announcement of plans for the European digital green certificate, which travellers can have to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, received a negative test result or recovered from having had the virus – and are due to be rolled out from mid-June.

“I am a fan of vaccination passports if they are standardised,” he said.

“We have been showing proof of vaccines for decades – for yellow fever and tetanus – so it is not unusual.

“We need a standard, if it is different it will be mayhem. It has to be clear and consistent.”

However, he doesn’t think travel for G Adventures’ customers will happen “in a big way” in May or June but numbers might start to grow by July.

By September he hopes there will be “larger, more meaningful numbers” for operators such as G Adventures.

He talked about his vision for a more sustainable travel industry, which he had written about in his ‘instabook’ called Unlearn: The Year the Earth Stood Still.

“Normal was not so great; we were not where we should have been,” he said.

He described himself as feeling like an outlier when he had talked about community tourism and sustainability before the pandemic but now feels that more bosses in the industry support his views.

He also said travel writers and bloggers have an important role to play in influencing the holiday choices of consumers.

Prices will not rise in the short term, he predicted, but they may well increase in the mid-term – but higher prices won’t be sustained so in the long-term they will fall again.

Commenting on the recent funding from private equity firm Certares, he described it as “growth capital”, adding: “We can stay aggressive during the recovery and take advantage of opportunities.”

This is a community-moderated forum.
All post are the individual views of the respective commenter and are not the expressed views of Travel Weekly.
By posting your comments you agree to accept our Terms & Conditions.



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G Adventures Finds Lockdowns Lead to Wanderlust


There is finally a slew of positive news within the travel industry. Effective vaccines and falling case numbers and deaths have given the industry hope for a rebound.

That is definitely the case for G Adventures, whose founder, Bruce Poon-Tip, spoke virtually with the media this week, addressing how the tour operator is returning to travel.

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During the call, Poon-Tip noted that he “misses the innocence of travel” and “traveling without worry.”

It was an appropriate time to discuss a comeback, one year after the pandemic officially shut down the industry.

“There has been more change this March than any other month,” he said. “Now we can see the light. Countries are really trying to open their borders. Everyone is hopeful for summer.”

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Travel technology, man with airplane and laptop

Poon-Tip sees Europe’s announcement for a Digital Green Pass as one of the most exciting announcements of the past week. The certificate would show proof of vaccination or information on a negative COVID-19 test.

G Adventures is working to get trips rolling in a meaningful way this summer, in particular, by July 1, 2021. However, Poon-Tip noted that things may not truly be operating until September 1.

However, G Adventures has not stood idle. The company has been operating tours since September 2020 and, according to Poon-Tip, customers have been “loving the trips and experiences.”

What will truly open up travel on a larger scale, he says, is government roadmaps for reopening.

He also pointed out that vaccine passports need to be standardized.

“It is not as unusual as people think,” he said but pointed out the need for a singular system. “Everyone doing their own version will overload countries trying to process them. [The process] needs to be standardized.”

G Adventures’ recent research shows that lockdowns have given people wanderlust and has changed the way individuals want to travel, what they want to see and where they want to go.

Fifty-nine percent of travelers said that lockdowns have made them want to travel more. However, 77 percent have yet to book and are waiting for borders to open.

Thirty-one percent of travelers will travel within three months of being vaccinated, and 46 percent within six months of being vaccinated.

“This shows a quick rebound for travel,” said Poon-Tip.

Booking patterns have also changed with many consumers willing to commit to longer booking windows as far as eight months out.

Explore Jordan
Explore Jordan (photo via G Adventures)

Poon-Tip noted that consumer bookings before the pandemic were much closer to departures. Now, it’s a long lead of six to eight months in advance.

Consumers are also interested in different things. Seventy-five percent want dollars to go to local communities. G Adventures is also seeing a surge of interest in working holidays and has found 41 percent of people want experiences outdoors for the first time.

More consumers are looking for active experiences, bucket list trips and milestone-type travel.

“There is a positive feeling right now, and people are talking about traveling again which is really what we need,” said Poon-Tip.

In addition to being hopeful for the future of travel, there is also hope that the travel industry can rebuild better. Poon-Tip compared the rebirth of the travel industry to the “World’s largest start-up when travel returns.”

He noted that companies can reimagine their businesses.

“Now that we have scaled-down, we have the chance to scale up with again with 30 years of experience.”

Going forward, Poon-Tip stressed the need for the industry to work together to get people comfortable traveling again.

“The best thing we can do in the industry is to choose where we want to compete,” he said. “We shouldn’t compete on safety. We are all going to follow global standards and ultimately have a unified goal to get people to travel again. Let’s not compete on this to win customers.”





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Lockdown has ‘given people wanderlust’, says G Adventures founder


G Adventures’ founder has reported a spike in bucket-list holidays and “milestone” travel as consumers plan their first trips after lockdown.

Bruce Poon Tip said the adventure travel specialist has seen a spike in searches for bucket-list trips to destination such as Everest base camp, Kilimanjaro and the Inca Trail.

Speaking from Toronto on a webcast on Thursday, he said more people want “milestone” travel and destinations were becoming more important than they had been before the pandemic started a year ago.

“Lockdown has given people wanderlust,” he told the webcast, which had viewers from countries as far afield as Canada, the US, the UK, Germany and South Africa.

A G Adventures survey of travellers around the world found that 59% of respondents said lockdown made them want to travel more than before – and 77% were yet to book a trip.

He said travel had become like a commodity with a focus on “thread counts on sheets” but now people are “more purposeful” and care more about the destination they want to visit.

The operator has also seen a trend for longer holidays as people want to fly less often, while many also want to work while overseas.

Poon Tip said mainstream holiday options such as cruise ships or all-inclusive resorts will remain but if just a few people opt for more meaningful travel there will be “a tsunami of change”.


MorePandemic has ‘amplified’ awareness of environmental issues, says G Adventures


He said the “most exciting” vaccine news was the announcement of plans for the European digital green certificate, which travellers can have to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, received a negative test result or recovered from having had the virus – and are due to be rolled out from mid-June.

“I am a fan of vaccination passports if they are standardised,” he said.

“We have been showing proof of vaccines for decades – for yellow fever and tetanus – so it is not unusual.

“We need a standard, if it is different it will be mayhem. It has to be clear and consistent.”

However, he doesn’t think travel for G Adventures’ customers will happen “in a big way” in May or June but numbers might start to grow by July.

By September he hopes there will be “larger, more meaningful numbers” for operators such as G Adventures.

He talked about his vision for a more sustainable travel industry, which he had written about in his ‘instabook’ called Unlearn: The Year the Earth Stood Still.

“Normal was not so great; we were not where we should have been,” he said.

He described himself as feeling like an outlier when he had talked about community tourism and sustainability before the pandemic but now feels that more bosses in the industry support his views.

He also said travel writers and bloggers have an important role to play in influencing the holiday choices of consumers.

Prices will not rise in the short term, he predicted, but they may well increase in the mid-term – but higher prices won’t be sustained so in the long-term they will fall again.

Commenting on the recent funding from private equity firm Certares, he described it as “growth capital”, adding: “We can stay aggressive during the recovery and take advantage of opportunities.”

This is a community-moderated forum.
All post are the individual views of the respective commenter and are not the expressed views of Travel Weekly.
By posting your comments you agree to accept our Terms & Conditions.



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A Travel Rebound is Coming: Bruce Poon Tip of G Adventures


G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip says he thinks travel is ready for a rebound.

Speaking on a Zoom call to mark one year of a pandemic that has shaken the travel world to its foundations, Poon Tip said he found it hard to predict where things were going for quite a long while. Like many observers, he hoped the crisis might last only a few months.

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It’s been a tough slog, but a year after the world began to close its borders Poon Tip sees hope on the horizon.

He noted that vaccine passports are being talked about by the European Union and that many European countries are hoping to open so they can capitalize on the summer season. Greece has said it hopes to open for tourists on May 14, and both Spain and Portugal have sounded optimistic tones.

“I think we’ve hit bottom, and for the first time we can look forward,” Poon Tip said. “It’s an exciting time for the industry.”

G Adventures recently conducted a global survey and found that 31% of respondents want to travel within three months of being inoculated. A full 46% want to travel within six months of being vaccinated.

“I think there’s going to be a very quick rebound,” Poon Tip said.

It’s good news, but he also suggested the recovery might yet take some time. Poon Tip said the next couple months could be slow, but that things should pick up in late summer.

The G Adventures survey found that 59% of folks around the world say lockdowns have made them want to travel more.

Poon Tip said he doesn’t see travel getting more expensive in the short term, as companies are offering iscounts and giving customers plenty of flexibility to rebook trips if needed. He said he thinks prices will go up in the mid-term, but then settle down again over the long run.

He also noted that many customers are booking eight to nine months in advance, while others are booking only a month out.

Active vacations, bucket list trips and milestone holidays are likely to be big when travel rebounds further, Poon Tip said, noting that G Adventures has had lots of inquiries about hiking the Inca Trail in Peru or hiking Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.

He also said travellers want to see their dollars go to helping people in local communities, and that many travellers will be taking longer trips or more trips that blend work and holidays.

Patagonia
Bruce Poon Tip, G Adventures founder, in Machu Picchu (photo courtesy G Adventures)

G Adventures ran successful trips to Costa Rica and Croatia last fall. Poon Tip said they recently had trips to Egypt and Morocco, with plenty of health and safety protocols in place, and that the reviews were outstanding.

Asked about vaccine passports, Poon Tip said many countries for years have required travellers to prove they’ve been vaccinated against diseases such as yellow fever.

“I think it’s a great thing,” he said. “But they need to be standardized.”

Some travel lovers still feel reluctant about making that trip to the airport. But Poon Tip said he thinks that will change once more people get their vaccines.

Right now there’s still some hesitancy for folks to travel. But Poon Tip said that should change as more and more people get their vaccines.

“I think the thing everyone’s talking about now is the fact that there’s going to be a quick return. There’s going to be a tipping point where people just decide they want to travel.”





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