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Flight Centre Acquires Gap Year Website

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Flight Centre has expanded its presence in a niche travel sector by acquiring a social networking business that focuses on the growing gap year market.

The company has acquired gapyear.com, a UK-based website dedicated to providing information, products and a ready-made social network to travellers preparing for or undertaking an extended international break.

The site has operated since 1998 and has developed a strong brand presence within its core market. During the past year, gapyear.com has attracted 2.2 million unique visits.

The business generates marketing and advertising income from travel and other companies.

FLT marketing manager Colin Bowman said gapyear.com provided valuable information for travellers and linked to a range of products and services that directly related to gap year travel, such as accommodation, flights, transport, travel insurance and travel money.

He said this was supplemented by related products and services, including footwear, clothing, camping and trekking supplies and equipment, travel guides, destination guides and other publications.

An increasing number of people globally are now choosing to take off overseas for an extended gap year break, whether it be after completing school or university, between careers or before retirement, Mr Bowman said. In the UK alone, an estimated 2.5 million people have taken trips of this kind over the past five years ... By acquiring gapyear.com, FLT has the chance to increase its market share globally within this growing travel sector.

FLT has initially acquired an 80% holding in gapyear.com and has an option to acquire the remaining 20% from founder Tom Griffiths.

Mr Griffiths will continue to run gapyear.com and will report to Chris Galanty, FLTs executive general manager in the UK.

FLTs investment in gapyear.com has not been disclosed. The investment is not expected to have a material impact on the companys financial performance or position.

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