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National Geographic Society Announces New Travel Group

National Geographic has formed a new Travel Group that consolidates all of the 125-year-old Society's travel assets, including National Geographic Traveler magazine, National Geographic Expeditions, photo workshops and seminars, travel books, maps, apps, digital travel content and travel community.

The new group is led by Lynn Cutter, executive vice president, National Geographic Travel. "National Geographic has built up vast travel assets over the years, from our compelling travel editorial content to our unique access to people and places around the world to our thriving National Geographic Expeditions business," says Lynn Cutter. "By bringing together our publishing, expeditions and digital teams, we believe National Geographic Travel can harness these extraordinary resources and extend our leadership in authentic, meaningful and engaging travel."

The group's efforts are resonating with travelers. Expeditions' sales have increased by 80 percent in the past two years, traffic to the website is up 30 percent in the past 12 months, and the social travel community has doubled in the last year. Proceeds from all travel programs and products support the Society's aim of increasing global understanding through exploration, education and scientific research.

At a time when many media companies are moving away from print products, National Geographic is reinvesting in National Geographic Traveler magazine — increasing trim size, using heavier paper stock and unveiling a bold redesign with the October issue that allows for richer photography and a cleaner reader experience. The enhanced product will feature new columns from celebrated voices like Andrew Evans, National Geographic Traveler's Digital Nomad; Chris Elliott, one of America's best-known consumer travel experts; and leading sustainability expert Costas Christ, who will write a new column, "Trending." The redesign extends to the digital iPad/tablet version.

Keith Bellows, editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveler and senior vice president of National Geographic Travel, leads the editorial vision for the group, and notes that, "National Geographic is a brand that inspires us to reach beyond our front doors to explore the planet and everything on it. Traveler is for real travelers and has long been driven by great photography and storytelling and an emphasis on culture, experience and authenticity. These are the principles that drive all of National Geographic Travel."

The National Geographic Society has long been an innovative leader in the travel space, pioneering initiatives such as the prestigious 25-year-old Traveler photo contest; the Traveler Writers Series, one-on-one live interviews with the world's best travel writers; the Places of a Lifetime series of magazine issues, apps and coffee-table books; the Apple-design award-winning National Parks app; and the "Travelers of the Year" program, which recognizes those who travel with purpose and to make a difference in the lives of others. New hire Andy Coleman, vice president of digital travel, joined National Geographic Travel to shape strategy for creating a comprehensive travel experience for users.

The new digital team rebranded all travel social media under one name, NatGeoTravel, across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. Among drivers of the digital and social growth are "Best of the World Weekly" destinations hand-picked by National Geographic Travel editors; daily "Travel 365" photos; tips from the field in the "Intelligent Travel" blogs; and programs like Digital Nomad, which has Andrew Evans traveling the globe and sharing stories in real-time through his Digital Nomad blog, Facebook and @WheresAndrew Twitter feed.

The nomad franchise continues to expand with the addition of Urban Insider Annie Fitzsimmons. Contributors such as Evans and Elliott will appear throughout National Geographic Travel properties. For example, Evans writes a column for the magazine, contributes daily posts and videos on his Digital Nomad blog, will take part in October's signature 125th Anniversary "125 Years of Exploration" private jet trip and wrote the introduction to the new book, "Four Seasons of Travel" (Oct. 15, 2013). Elliott, in addition to his column, is also the author of a new book, "How to be the World's Smartest Traveler" (March 4, 2014).

National Geographic Travel is the travel arm of the National Geographic Society, one of the world's largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations, founded in 1888. National Geographic Travel creates authentic, meaningful and engaging travel experiences through National Geographic Traveler magazine; National Geographic Expeditions; travel books; maps; apps; digital travel content; and travel photography programs. National Geographic Traveler (8 issues per year) is the world's most widely read travel magazine and has 17 international editions. It is available by subscription, on newsstands in the United States and Canada, and digitally for tablets.

National Geographic Expeditions, the travel program of the Society, offers a variety of unique travel experiences led by top experts to more than 60 destinations across all seven continents. Travel opportunities include family and student expeditions, active adventures, private jet trips and voyages on the six expedition ships in the National Geographic-Lindblad fleet, as well as photography workshops, expeditions and seminars. The National Geographic Travel digital group offers inspiring and authoritative digital content such as trip ideas, photo galleries, blogs and apps, including the award-winning National Parks app. National Geographic Travel Books bring readers curated travel advice, photography and insider tips.

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