We chat to HAGGiS Adventures General Manager Pete Duncan in our latest member interview to find out how the mix of passion, culture and entertaining guides make these Scottish adventures different.
Tell us your story. How did your business get started?
Back in 1993, three brothers from the beautiful Isle of Skye spotted a gap in the market. They recognised Scotland was a beautiful country but was very difficult to get around as a backpacker.
They launched HAGGiS Adventures and their aim was to break the mould and offer fully guided trips that were enjoyable, entertaining and had the best, most knowledgeable local guides leading the way.
Through word of mouth it quickly gained a global reputation for providing entertaining tours and excellent service for the backpacker market. It grew steadily and the concept has since been repeated in many countries around the world. In 2001 the business joined The Travel Corporation and our mission to this day is the same as on the first day the business operated; to make each trip we run the best one yet.
What are your unique selling points? What makes you different?
HAGGiS Adventures offer fully guided trips of Scotland and we believe our country is the best place in the world to visit. Mix our unique culture, history, myths and legends with our local, passionate and hugely entertaining guides and you have the basis for an incredible experience.
We believe our trips are different; we dare to be Wild and Sexy!
What are some of your success stories?
As a company we continually evolve and are not afraid to try new things. We started running a hop on, hop off service around the Highlands of Scotland. Now we operate a range of midi-coach tours from one day to 10 days.
We’ve also introduced our ‘Get Active’ trips which allow you to travel hundreds of kilometres through Scotland’s wilderness under your own steam. The trips includes hiking, sea kayaking, mountain biking and canoeing.
Our set up also encourages those from within to succeed. The majority of our Senior Management Team started as Driver/Guides and our current Managing Director even began his HAGGiS life on the road.
What are your future plans?
We want to continue being ambassadors for Scotland by providing excellent experiences for young (and young at heart) independent travellers from all over the world. We always have new ideas on the go so you’ll just have to keep in touch to find out what we get up to next…
Which trends and challenges do you see in the youth travel sector?
Our customers come from all over the world but the majority have traditionally come from Australasia. This is slowly changing and we are seeing a wider demographic which is great. The youth travel market seems very resilient so economic events, whether global or more localised, don’t seem to have as big an impact on behaviours as with some other sectors.
I hope young people continue to travel no matter what. The challenge is to meet the ever changing demands of the youth travel market but that is no different to any other business and keeps us fresh.
What was your motivation to join WYSE Travel Confederation?
As a sector within tourism, youth travel is not always considered a priority. By pulling together, sharing ideas, and having a unified voice, we can ensure that we get the support needed to continue to grow, both as individual businesses and as a sector in our own right.
Any top tips for people starting out in the youth travel sector?
Travel as much as possible. Have fun. Always look to progress.
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