Thailand has pulled ahead of Australia to become the top destination for British students taking a gap year, according to a ranking by Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA).
Australasia, South-east Asia, the US and South America have emerged as the most popular choices as ABTA members specialising in gap year travel report more than 30 per cent increases in bookings over the last 12 months.
After Thailand, the top picks are respectively Australia, Vietnam, Peru, New Zealand, the US, Laos and Cambodia, South Africa, Argentina and India.
Volunteering, work experience, adventure and cultural tours are starting to edge out partying as the foremost gap year priorities, according to ABTA.
Examples of volunteer stints include conservation projects in South America beaches and Madagascar forests, in addition to medical internships in South Africa.
ABTA members report partying as the least important factor for students booking gap year trips, as many students want to use the year to gain experience either on internships or in paid employment to “boost their CV in a competitive job market”.
Activities including trekking, white water rafting and biking, plus cultural tours to historic cities are also proving popular this year.