launches media campaign

15th Apr 2008

In response to a sudden growth in ‘Gap Year’ media in the American press
and a similar growth users from the US, Tom Griffiths, Founder of has
launched a USA Media Campaign.Last week he delivered a key note Webinar
on CollegeWeekLive (USA) to around 40,000 American students and in
February highlighted the value and exciting opportunities of this new
market via a keynote address to US Travel Trade at the Educational
Travel Conference in Baltimore. With around 75 million ‘Boomers’ (45-60
year olds) and over 100 million ‘Millennials’ (25-45 year olds) starting
to have a taste for experiential travel, there is a lot of excitement in
the potential of this market on both sides of the Atlantic.

Tom Griffiths, Founder of says

Over the past six months (a) we have seen more organic ‘Gap Year’ media
appearing across the US than we have seen in the past six years and (b)
we have seen a surge of interest from Americans who incredibly now make
up around 10% of the users on, previously less than 1%. Both
are strong signals that the ‘Gap Year’ term is more widely used and the
option is being taken more seriously by all. As a result it triggered
the launch of our USA media campaign. The purpose of the media campaign
is to build the foundations to enable the US media, Government and
public to understand this option and the opportunities it brings. The US
is viewed in our sector as the sleeping giant, so we feel that the
industry opportunity is immense. In the Gap Year Travel sector it has
the potential to surpass the rest of the world in numbers and possibly
spend within the next five years.

The Gap Year Travel industry is set to benefit from the development of
this market as American Gap Year travellers are demanding high margin
experiential travel and ‘Voluntourism’ opportunities, often in
attractive group packages. Unlike Europeans their happiness to be
‘hand-held’ throughout the process creates demand for support services,
orientation products and premium products required to keep them safe and
show them a good time. Whilst expressing fears of how to communicate and
travel safely as an American overseas, their desire to see the world
recently opened up to them through their friends in their global social
networks, is strong. The ability to see the world through the blogs,
photos and videos of others is inspiring young Americans in particular
to travel outside the States.

Tony Fowler, Director of Interagency Affairs, U.S. Department of
Education, comments:


The benefits of taking a constructive gap year before or after
University are evident in the UK, providing young people with a level
playing field and an invaluable step ahead in life. It is also
encouraging to see so many young people engaging in volunteering
projects. All these qualities are valued in young Americans and as such,
the case for monitoring the development of this new option is
compelling. I have long been interested in service learning and the Gap
Year is an ideal way for American students to provide community and
global service as well as gain valuable career experience. We are
therefore very interested in seeing the positive outcomes of this new
Gap Year option appearing in America. We will be working closely with
Tom Griffiths and our UK counterparts to ensure we nurture this option
to the benefit of our young people and society.



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