The travel industry can be confusing. Booking your first organised tour overseas can be confusing.
In fact, lots of things can seem confusing when you are planning a big trip!
One thing that doesn’t help is travel companies with similar names or names that change.
So is G Adventures the same as Gap Adventures?
Let’s find out.
Is G Adventures The Same As Gap Adventures?
Yes G Adventures and Gap Adventures are one and the same. In 1990 Bruce Poon Tip founded Gap Adventures, but in 2011 the company was forced to change its name as a result of a lawsuit from the Gap Clothing company. So from 1 October 2011, the company was officially known as G Adventures.
Gap Adventures: The Early Years
In 1990, 23-year-old Bruce Poon Tip had returned from a backpacking trip to Asia that changed his life.
Indirectly that trip would go on to change the lives of thousands of other travellers, as it inspired him to create a company that bridged the gap between the only travel options available at that time, large organized tours or totally independent travel.
Poon Tip admitted that he didn’t necessarily want to backpack then, but it seemed a better option than going on an organized tour.
And during his travels he had that ‘Eureka’ moment:
“I saw all these people that were isolated through the windows of glass, staying in Best Western Hotels or Hilton Hotels, not really seeing the culture and community, and I just knew that there were other people that think the same way, that didn’t want to go backpacking, but wanted the cultural immersion type experience” he later said.Bruce Poon Tip
So that is exactly what Bruce Poon Tip did, unable to secure funding from the banks he used his own credit cards to launch a company called…
This hints at the answer to the title question.
The company was named as such not because it catered towards gap year travellers (as was my first thought), but because it bridged the gap between the mainstream traveller and the backpacker.
The name was also an acronym, standing for Great Adventure People.
In an interview published in Leisure Management magazine, Bruce Poon Tip clearly outlined how different Gap Adventures approach was:
“Mainstream tour operators offered travel within a westernised bubble – air-conditioned coaches, Best Western hotels,” he said. “Outside of very brief moments when you might pull up outside a craft market, you hardly saw local people. Tourists were experiencing countries at arm’s length. The original focus of Gap Adventures was to get the traveller in touch with local people, and help them see the country through the locals’ eyes.”Bruce Poon Tip
Gap Adventures Changes Its Name
That was way back in 1990. Fast forward over three decades and now the company has 28 offices across the world and carries over 200,000 travellers each year on over 750 tours to more than 100 countries.
Oh and it has a different name!
It is now known as G Adventures.
The name change took place in October 2011, and was a result of a lawsuit by clothing giant Gap Inc.
The clothing company claimed Gap Adventures’ name was an infringement of copyright, and the U.S. District Court agreed saying: “Gap Adventures has used similar marks in commerce such that there is likelihood of confusion.”
As such Gap Adventures was ordered to change its name in the U.S.
Initially Bruce Poon Tip claimed he would appeal the decision, but a few weeks later, on 1 October 2011, the company changed its name globally from Gap Adventures to G Adventures.
In the subsequent decade, the newly named company continued to thrive.
In 2015 it partnered with the National Geographic Society and unveiled a series of “more authentic, immersive and sustainable” tours.
Then the following year it teamed up with the Jane Goodall Institute to roll out 20 itineraries aimed at raising awareness of animal welfare and wildlife-friendly tourism.
Like every other travel company in the world, it was affected by the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, but it seems to have ridden that out and has already released a new range of tours for 2023.
So you can see Gap Adventures was formed in 1990, and in 2011 it changed its name to G Adventures, following a lawsuit with Gap Clothing.
So yes G Adventures is the same as Gap Adventures.
Under both names it has offered really exciting, engaging and innovative small group tours that give you a real insight into the areas you are travelling to.
It has a vast catalogue of trips, all boasting different ‘travel styles’, and whilst it might sound cliched, there really is something for everyone.