News: The UD Travel Blog

Posted: 16 April 2014

Do you know how independent your adventure travel company is?

It is a sad but little known fact that there are very few real independent adventure travel companies left. Most of the ones you come across online or in travel agents are now just brands owned by multinational organisations.

Of course, when selling small adventure holidays and responsible travel to people, it doesn’t look good to describe yourself as a part of a huge private equity shareholder owned, multi-national conglomerate. That is where the power of the brand comes in to play.

Describe your business as starting ‘when two friends got together to provide an overland truck to travel to the Minaret of Jam, deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush, the most inaccessible of the world’s great monuments.’ and people will naturally think that this is still the philosophy of the company (and it still may be). But remember to hide the part about the business now being a member of the ‘PEAK Adventure Travel Group Ltd, Registered Office: TUI Travel House’, at the bottom of the page where it won’t be noticed so easily.

To understand just how much of a monopoly there actually is in the adventure travel market, take a look at a couple of websites and the ’brands’ under their control. The first is the Peak Adventure Travel Group of brands. The Peak Group shareholders are TUI Travel plc and the original founders of Intrepid Travel. http://www.peakadventuretravel.com/ourbrands.php Secondly, another large set of brands and a surprising mix at http://www.holidaybreak.co.uk/holidaybreak/ You may even think that some of these ‘brands’ which are owned by the same people would be competing against each other, wouldn’t you?

If you want to support a true independent adventure travel company, we would like you to be able to do this easily and clearly, whether that be Undiscovered Destinations or one of our independent competitors. We do feel however that some in the adventure travel market are being quite disingenuous about who they are, who they represent and where your tourist spend actually goes. Is your travel still sustainable or responsible if the profits from it go to a business that also runs resource sapping all-inclusive resorts in some of the poorest countries in the world?

If you are happy booking with a larger, corporate travel company, again we do not have a problem with that as we ourselves use package holiday companies when it suits. All we ask is that when next looking at booking an adventure travel holiday, please do a bit of research in to who you are booking with and who they are owned by. You may be surprised!

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