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Over the last few years, the world travel landscape has undergone significant changes brought by security concerns, the economic crisis and green considerations. These new conditions have given rise to a new type of tourist: the "Free Independent Traveler," or FIT. The term refers generally to people over 35, of above average income, and who like to travel in small groups or as couples. They avoid mass tourism and the holiday package of traditional travel operators, and favor a more individualistic approach to travel. They may or may not be "Four Percenters."Free Independent Travelers as an alternative movement?
FITs tend to be environmentally aware, with the desire to experience new ways of life and usually are enthusiastic, off-the-beaten-track explorers with a thirst for experiencing the "real thing." They enjoy good food, architecture, and the heritage of local cultures.
Also, they are an important and growing sector in the travel market. Governments, regional tourist boards and other public sectors responsible for tourism development try to attract them. Why? The basic principle is economics. FITs spread their money around in a more efficient fashion, buying from multiple locations driven by their own particular itinerary and tastes and by the intention of enjoying the local way of life. In contrast, tour groups concentrate in a few providers, which tend to spread money in a less than optimal manner.
The Power of Information
How FITs garner information for their trips is of vital importance. Not surprisingly, a wide variety of sources and/or tips from social websites are key.