G Adventures and National Geographic Expeditions Expand Their Small-Group ‘Journeys’
Kicking off the fourth year of their successful partnership, National Geographic Expeditions and G Adventures announce new destinations and tours for 2019 that go on sale this week. With the additions, the National Geographic Journeys’ line of small-group tours further expands into South America and Europe and introduces a mix of hot spots and off-the-beaten-path adventures that are designed to challenge and enrich curious explorers while meeting a rising demand for the destinations.
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 famous 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, a tour of Peru’s archaeologically and ecologically-wondrous north 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 fantastic 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, celebrates the country’s rich food, wine and architectural marvels. The second combines one week in Portugal with another in Spain, adding the Moorish masterpiece of Alhambra with time for wandering through charming Seville. 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 fascinating and slightly haunting dose of history, culture, myths and legends at Bran Castle.
Launched in late 2015 with a World Tourism Day celebration, 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 travelers to Tanzania, Botswana, Mongolia and Indonesia.
The National Geographic Journeys line of trips offers hands-on exploration, with an emphasis on storytelling, local immersion and social good. Priced from AUD$1,349 per person and from six to 30 days in length, the itineraries are designed for travellers who appreciate having free time and flexibility, but value the structure and security that come with group travel. Each trip is led by a knowledgeable, local guide called a Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and is filled with opportunities for making meaningful connections with other people. Whenever possible, travellers visit projects and community initiatives associated with National Geographic or G Adventures that help improve local livelihoods and protect natural or cultural heritage.
G Adventures reported that during the past year, the National Geographic Journeys trips have delivered the strongest growth of all its trip styles, with a 19 percent year-over-year increase among Australian and New Zealand travellers, and a 27 percent surge in booking sales vs. the year prior. Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Italy and Morocco were the top four most popular growth destinations booked by Journeys travellers from Australia and New Zealand.
“The Journeys story is all about growth. Compared to even two years ago, bookings of these trips have soared and we’re adding more product for these European and South American destinations to keep up with demand,” said Adrian Piotto, Australia and New Zealand Managing Director for G Adventures.
“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,” added Andrea Robinson, Australia and New Zealand Country Director, 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 organisations support.”
The new and updated tours for 2019 are:
Highlights of Bolivia – Explore the historic capital of Sucre and sky-high La Paz, then experience life at a traditional hacienda among the Jukil community before watching the sunset from atop Uyuni Salt Flats.
Peru & Bolivia: Machu Picchu to the Salt Flats – Learn about Peru’s former Inca capital of Cusco before an Amazon jungle immersion. HIke the Inca Trail, or catch the scenic train, then pass into Bolivia to explore soaring Andean peaks and the famed Uyunni Salt Flats.
Explore Northern Peru – Immerse yourself in the Chachapoyas culture and take a cable car ride up to Kuelup Fortress. Hike through the cloud forest to the Gocta waterfall, then explore tombs from pre-Inca Moche culture. Wander through the adobe brick city of Chan Chan.
Explore Northern Peru & Machu Picchu – Discover traces of pre-Inca cultures in lesser-visited northern Peru, including the mountaintop home of past “Cloud Warriors”; and the eroded adobe ruins of Chan Chan. Round out your exploration of Peru’s fascinating past with an early morning guided visit to magnificent Machu Picchu.
Discover Portugal – Visit the Sintra UNESCO World Heritage Site and sample Fado night with traditional Portuguese dinner and music in Alfama. Visit the University of Coimbra, wander through Diana’s Temple and end in Porto with a Douro Valley Cruise.
Iconic Portugal & Spain – Follow the fortified wine shipping route in Porto, learn from a local historian’s tour of Toledo, stand in awe of the Moorish Alhambra and see the colourful streets of Seville in this blend of architecture, history and culture.
Hungary & Romania Highlights – Learn about Budapest’s historic highlights during a guided walk. Visit castles and fortified structures. Prepare a traditional meal with a local chef, and immerse yourself in the haunting past of Transylvania’s Bran Castle in this tour that focuses on history, culture, myth and legends.
Discover Central & Eastern Europe – On this journey through parts of Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic, walk sections of the old Berlin Wall with a historian, visit Egerszalok’s salt springs and water terraces, and dip into thermal bath house waters in Budapest.