Australia’s end-of-school rite of passage has been undergoing significant change in recent years. No longer is ‘Schoolies’ synonymous with pub crawls at the Gold Coast, rather many kids are option for overseas holidays with a focus on cultural immersion. Research shows that more than double the amount of students are now interested in this type of holiday.
A survey of 118 travel agents conducted over three years (2011-2013) by Unleashed Travel revealed 64.4 per cent of inbound enquiries for Schoolies holidays were for island destinations such as Fiji, compared with 30.5 per cent of enquiries for the Gold Coast and Byron Bay.
Unleashed Travel, Australia’s leading provider of overseas travel packages for Australian school leavers, is one of the few travel groups responding to students’ change in preferences – and is the first to remove the term ‘Schoolies’ altogether, replacing it with ‘Grad Trips’.
Unleashed Travel Grad Trips are launching this 2014/15 travel season. Grad Trip packages include Fiji, Nepal, Cambodia, Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, Vanuatu and Europe, with a focus on fun and sun, and options for cultural exchanges, alcohol-free travel and volunteering.
Unleashed Travel CEO Jot Lynas, who has sold 10,000 school-leaver packages to date and supervised more than 3000 students on their trips says, “Graduating students have become more discerning and expect higher quality travel experiences. Grad Trips convey this change in preferences – and while there is still a focus on partying and social experiences, there is also an emphasis on cultural and new experiences. With Grad Trips, we’re launching three new holidays: a Fijian Cruise, a Bali escape to an exclusive beach resort, and a nine-country European winter holiday.”
The changing preferences among school-leavers combined with the plethora of travel options on the market might leave parents feeling confused. Here, Jot offers a checklist of what school-leaver travel packages should include.