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Hogwarts is a real landmark, Dorset is a US state and the English Channel is an ocean… Travelzoo discovers UK children need a hand with geography

- New ‘Map the World’ travel app endorsed by Sir Ranulph Fiennes -

A recent poll commissioned by Travelzoo, the UK’s top travel and entertainment deals provider, revealed that despite 71% of British citizens owning a passport compared to just 39% of Americans, children in the UK fell behind their US counterparts on basic geography questions.

In order to inspire the travellers of the future, Travelzoo has launched a ‘Map the World’ app for iPads; a timed digital jigsaw puzzle of the countries of the world designed for families to complete together. The free iPad app can be downloaded from the app store, with Sir Ranulph Fiennes hailing it as ‘an excellent tool for teaching children about the countries of the world in an engaging way’.

Some of the Travelzoo survey findings show:

- More than 25% of UK children couldn’t name the country of the world which resembled a boot – with just 15% of children from the US failing to name Italy as the boot-shaped land mass.

- Only 63% of UK children could name Washington D.C as the capital city of the USA, whereas 93% of US children could name London as the capital city of the UK.

- More than 10% of UK children think Dorset and Yorkshire are states in the USA with 15% thinking Brazil is also a state and 17% thinking Sydney is a state too!

- 19% of UK children think The Nile is one of the five oceans of the world, with just 7% of US children agreeing.

- Even more shockingly, 25% of UK children think the English Channel is an ocean compared to just under 5% of children living in the USA.

- 11% of UK children thought that Hogwarts, the famous but fictional school in Harry Potter was actually a real landmark compared to 3% of children based in the USA.

The government has recognised the need to update the geography curriculum and in September 2014, changes will be made. The Department of Education has said ‘Teaching should ensure that geographical enquiry and skills are used when developing knowledge and understanding of places, patterns and processes.’ Map the World has been developed to help school-aged children to improve their geography knowledge in a fun way.

 The ‘Map the World’ iPad app will offer downloaders the opportunity to donate to a very worthy cause called Open Arms Malawi from the 20 November to celebrate Universal Children’s Day and has also got the backing of several celebrities including Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Annie Lennox, OBE.

“It’s now more important than ever that children have a sense of the world around them and where they fit into it. Travelzoo’s Map the World is an excellent tool for teaching children about the countries of the world in an engaging way. It should help young minds learn and inspire them to explore this magical planet. Travelzoo is donating the optional cost of the app to the Open Arms Malawi charity, which provides healthcare, education and social support for orphans in Malawi. It's an iPad app designed to challenge, inspire and, above all, make a difference to the lives of others."
Sir Ranulph Fiennes

“What initially started as a survey to find out how much children in the US and UK knew about the world around them, quickly turned into a wider project to help tomorrow’s generation learn more about our planet in a fun and interactive way,” says Chris Loughlin, Travelzoo’s CEO.

“The free iPad app offers children a timed challenge to drop all the countries of the world onto their correct locations on a map; a bit like a giant digital jigsaw puzzle, and has the added benefit of helping orphans in one of the world’s poorest countries should downloaders want to make a small donation,” he continues.

Visit Travelzoo for further information or download the iPad app today from iTunes:

The free iPad app forms part of the 15th birthday celebrations for Travelzoo which have been on-going throughout 2013 in all of the 25 global offices of the company.


Open Arms Malawi

The ‘Map the World’ campaign has a corporate social responsibility element.  The iPad app is free to download, however users are told that they can donate a minimum of $2 to Open Arms Malawi ( when they download the app.  The full proceeds of this donation go to the charity via the Just Giving website.  Travelzoo has chosen this charity as it is a great cause – to improve the lives of the orphans of Malawi which currently has over one million orphans, many of them newborns and very young babies who have lost their parents to the HIV/Aids epidemic in this part of the world.


The Travelzoo ‘Map the World’ survey was carried out by an independent third party; 72Point The survey was completed by 1,000 children in the USA and 1,000 children in the UK.

Universal Children’s Day

First established in 1954 by the United Nations, Universal Children’s Day is an annual global event on 20 November designed to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide and improving children's welfare. Travelzoo has chosen Universal Children’s Day to launch Map the World as all download donations will go to Open Arms Malawi, a charity that embraces the spirit of Universal Children’s Day and works to ensure the orphans of one of the world’s poorest countries are healthy, educated and protected.

About Travelzoo

Travelzoo is a global media commerce company. With more than 28 million members in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific and 26 offices worldwide, Travelzoo® publishes offers from more than 2,000 travel, entertainment and local companies. Travelzoo’s deal experts review offers to find the best deals and confirm their true value.

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