Thursday, September 29, 2011

What's In A Name? Another Major Travel Company Is Forced To Change Its Moniker

Lest there be any confusion between flat front khakis and 9-day tours of Thailand, the well-respected Canadian travel company GAP Adventures is doing away with its "AP". From now on, the company will be known simply as "G Adventures" as in "Gee, why the heck would they get rid of a name that they spent 20 years building up?"

The answer "falls into" place when one looks at the other large company that shares that name. GAP Clothing won a lawsuit this summer protecting its brand, and forcing the tour company to switch names.

Bruce Poon Tip, the company founder, tried to put a positive spin on the development when he told Travel Weekly yesterday "One of our fundamental principles here is to change the lives of anyone who comes into contact with our company. Our business model isn't about bottom-lines and turnover. It's about happiness, freedom and independence. I've always believed that the secret to happiness is freedom, and the secret to freedom is courage. This year, we are taking a bold step with our identity - a change that's an evolutionary step into the future.”

Yes, he's sidestepping the issue at hand, but I don't think he's exaggerating the effect his travel products have had on the public over the years. Bridging the gap between backpacking and guided tours (hence the name), G Adventures has long offered affordable, socially-conscious, creative vacations to all corners of the globe. Though these are guided tours, they eschew the usual 40-person tour bus in favor of public transportation. Lodgings are usually local establishments, sometimes homestays and sometimes camping. And groups are small, keeping the vibe intimate.

I've never taken one of these tours, but everyone I know who has raves about their high quality and delightful clientele.

So long live G Adventures! (And let's hope whoever invented the "g spot" doesn't hear about the development. Lord knows they don't need another lawsuit.)

I think this may be a good time to remind you all of two other major travel companies that changed names within the last 5 years. They are Road Scholar nee ElderHostel (an organization that develops educational vacations for seniors and multi-generational trips for grandparents and grandchildren) and Hurtigruten, formerly Norwegian Coastal Voyages (a fjord-centric cruise line).

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