Flight Centre Travel Group has acquired StudentUniverse, a Waltham, Mass.-based company focused on student and youth travel.

Graham Turner, managing director of Flight Centre, said the student travel sector is estimated to be worth over $180 billion annually, and that StudentUniverse is a strong brand within that market.

The acquisition, Turner said, is an expansion of Flight Centre’s youth and student travel services. Flight Centre already owns Campus Travel, an Australia-based specialist in the education and research sectors, and Student Flights, a brand with 72 stores in Australia and a presence in New Zealand, South Africa and the U.K.

StudentUniverse, launched in 2000, offers discounted rates on travel, including negotiated airfares, to its student members (membership is free). It has proprietary technology in place that verifies members are students. It also has a mobile suite with responsive websites and a flight-booking app.

Dean Smith, president of Flight Centre Travel Group Americas, will oversee StudentUniverse.

“This is an important and attractive demographic for us and our goal is to continue to increase our market share and presence,” Smith said.

Atle Skalleberg, CEO of StudentUniverse, will continue to run the company along with his management team. Skalleberg will report to Smith.

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