We know, we know. School isn’t yet over.
But if you’ve got a Year 11 student, they are more than likely to be hard-at-work figuring out what to do at Schoolies at the end of next year, if not already planned.
This annual ritual – which some might cynically suggest is clever marketing by travel and accommodation companies – has become a rite of passage of most young people finishing Year 12 before they go on to TAFE, college, university, an apprenticeship or traineeship, work or – God forbid, that other rite of passage – the ‘Gap Year’.
But according to the CEO of Unleashed Travel, Jot Lynas, today’s school-leavers are different from those of five, 10 or 15 years ago – or else parents are getting in first and booking it for kids!
His company has just sold out their first ever alcohol-free holiday package, with their trip to Hideaway Island off Vanuatu.
Jot said Unleashed Travel created its first alcohol-free holiday package after listening to demands from both students and parents for new luxury based holidays complete with recreational activities, parties, music and DJs - but free from alcohol.
“Today’s Schoolies’ preferences have evolved from the out-on-the-streets pub crawls to a more luxurious, exclusive celebration shared with only the close friends of their school years.
“In fact, when we offered this same island package last year, as an experience which allowed alcohol, we sold less than half the bookings we have this time around,” said Jot.
Following this year’s overwhelming response, Unleashed Travel is currently looking for an additional location to accompany Hideaway Island, anticipating demand in 2014 to be even stronger.
“Alcohol-free is here to stay and, if 2013 is anything to go by, we will again experience triple-digit growth in 2014. We’ve already had maximum bookings and many more enquiries for our alcohol-free packages, even though we’re one year out of next year’s celebrations.”
This demand for a new sober Schoolies experience isn’t isolated to a niche crowd according to Jot Lynas.
“The teens that buy our alcohol-free packages aren’t stereotypical board game fanatics or video-game playing nerds. They’re party-loving fun school-leavers who enjoy a good time with their friends but want their holiday experiences alcohol-free. With Josh Moore from TV’s Big Brother as our resident DJ, our teens definitely won’t be in their rooms with lights out by 9pm,” said Jot.
He says that Hideaway Island is strictly controlled to ensure Schoolies preferences for an alcohol-free experience are maintained.
The destination was carefully for its separation from mainland Vanuatu and the opportunity to designate the entire island as “Schoolies Only”.
Located a five minute boat ride from any other resort or facility, both supplies and guests coming onto the island can be strictly monitored and controlled.
As with all Unleashed Travel packages, the trip is chaperoned by the Unleashed Travel crew made up of supervising staff, security personnel and Schoolies safety advocates, the Red Frogs. Each trip is also managed by a ratio of one Unleashed Travel staff member to every seven students, with staff on call around the clock.
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The all-inclusive Hideaway Island Schoolies package featured a range of accommodation options including luxurious two-bedroom villas with private pools, one-bedroom bungalows and twin or quad-share rooms. Packages started at $1,399 per person.