Globetrotting youth

By Tahnee Hopman

The first impression a person tends to have of student travellers is of a troop of backpackers aspiring to go globetrotting. Contrary to popular perception, there are literally thousands of students and young adults for whom travelling is not just a shoestring budget experience; but rather, one they can enjoy to the full while working in accordance with their means.

"This segment of the market – that of the student travellers – has been widely neglected, particularly in Sri Lanka," explained Chaminda Dias, Executive Director, United Holidays. "There is a great deal of untapped potential in Sri Lanka, with regard to making the country a great destination for the student traveller."

Seeing the significant gap in the market for youth travel and the lack of a cohesive plan and efforts to develop, United Holidays has offered an all new range of services for students to travel and see the world.

Established in 1995, United Holidays is an independent force in Tourism in Sri Lanka, representing top global brands. With its affiliation to STA Travel – the world's largest student travel organisation – and ISIC (the only internationally recognised student identity card which is endorsed by UNESCO), United Holidays recently launched Live It, a student centred travel programme.

Gayangi Weerasinghe – Manager, Marketing Development and Promotions-Tours Division, stated that United Holidays has teamed up with NGOs, corporate, private and government enterprises to create volunteer internships, work placement, gap year travel, school trips and sports tours to provide a meaningful and enriching experience. She added that their special counterpart in this cause is Tharunyata Hetak (Aspiring Youth), a recognised youth body that encourages and supports a variety of youth development projects in Sri Lanka.

The wide range of services offered by Live It is also available on their official website www.liveit.lk. "The website is still very new," explained Chaminda, who said they would keep adding useful information in the hopes that it would prove a valuable resource for students.

Although Live It is mainly targeting foreign students travelling to Sri Lanka, there are many attractive offers for Sri Lankan students as well. Many of the projects will empower the rural youth in Sri Lanka and develop and help enrich communities.

With Live It, travelling need not be an unnecessary expense, but a chance to learn and have fun; so feel free to live it up with Live It!

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