SOURCE: Flight Centre Travel Group

Carla Caccavale PR

December 21, 2015 10:10 ET

Flight Centre Travel Group Limited (FCTG) Takes Massive Step Into Student & Youth Travel Market With Acquisition of StudentUniverse

FCTG to Combine Its Global Strength With Incredible Technology, Website & Mobile App Capabilities of StudentUniverse to Increase Already-Solid Momentum With One of Travel's Fastest Growing Sectors; Student/Youth Travel Segment Estimated at $180+ Billion Annually

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - December 21, 2015) - Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) has underscored its belief in the power of the student and youth demographic with the acquisition of the Travelonomy Limited, the holding company of one of the world's leading travel booking services, StudentUniverse. FCTG announced that it has acquired StudentUniverse's holding company and its group of companies.

Targeting students and youth, one of travel's fastest growing sectors, with exclusive deals, including specially negotiated student airfares, and experiences via its website and mobile apps, StudentUniverse has captivated an audience that has an insatiable appetite for travel. With the important understanding that this segment operates online, StudentUniverse's strengths are largely within its strong proprietary technology platform that is built around a best-in-class student/youth verification engine that allows eligible customers to access and buy flights, hotels and tours for verified students and youth.

In addition, StudentUniverse has a comprehensive mobile suite that includes responsive websites as well as the world's first flight-booking app with student and youth airfares.

"StudentUniverse has a highly experienced and talented leadership team that has built a strong brand and is now the market leader in this rapidly growing sector, which is estimated to be worth in excess of $180 billion annually," Australian-based FCTG managing director Graham Turner said. "We see solid future growth potential for StudentUniverse, both within its existing markets and globally, and believe it will be a great addition to FCTG as the company continues to expand its presence in youth and student travel."

The outbound student market represents a rapidly growing opportunity, in the United States; where more than 20 million students attend over 5,000 colleges and universities. At any given time it is estimated that 300,000 American students are traveling abroad for college and university programs.

"This is an important and attractive demographic for us and our goal is to continue to increase our market-share and presence. Acquiring StudentUniverse demonstrates our commitment to becoming the major global player in student and youth travel," said Dean Smith, president of FCTG Americas, who will oversee StudentUniverse, under the FCTG Americas family of brands. "The global reach of FCTG coupled with the incredible technology behind StudentUniverse make the possibilities virtually limitless in growing this travel sector," Smith concluded. 

StudentUniverse CEO Atle Skalleberg will report to Smith, president of FCTG Americas. Skalleberg, along with his management team, will continue to run StudentUniverse.

"This is an amazing collaboration that brings us the unique opportunity to have access to a global team with an established track record while maintaining our autonomy and allowing StudentUniverse to continue to flourish with our existing team and structure," said Skalleberg. "We are keeping our solid travel-tech foundation and accomplishments and building upon it by tapping into a worldwide player with phenomenal partnerships and the potential to further dominate this market."

About Flight Centre Travel Group

FCTG now has about 2800 shops and businesses in Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, New Zealand, Singapore, mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates.

After starting as a leisure travel agency, the company is now also one of the world's largest corporate travel managers through a network of specialist brands that includes FCm, Corporate Traveller, cievents, Campus Travel and Stage & Screen.

About StudentUniverse

StudentUniverse is the world's leading travel booking service for students and youth. Through negotiations with a network of global partners, StudentUniverse offers exclusive pricing and terms on flights, hotels and tours. Its Travel Services division handles client requests for groups and custom itineraries.

StudentUniverse was launched in 2000, by founder and executive chairman Espen Odegard, and is headquartered in Boston with offices in London, Toronto and New York.

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