While global growth of youth travel seems certain, one factor remains critical for attracting more members of the Millennial and Z generations to your destination.
According to the New Horizons IV survey of more than 57,000 young travellers globally, the most important motivations to travel relate to desires to experience destinations and their cultures and increase self knowledge. More traditional holiday motivations, such as relaxing, are less important to young travellers.
David Chapman, Director General of the World Youth Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation, said: “Many destinations ask me how they can tap into the power of youth travel, how they can attract more Millennials or prepare for Gen Z travellers or even Alphas.
“My answer to them is usually in the form of a question: Have you looked at your country’s policies around cultural exchange?”
WYSE Travel Confederation, the organisation that conducts the New Horizons survey of global youth travel, has observed that the top ve destinations for young travellers have remained fairly consistent since 2007, with the two interesting exceptions: the USA and Australia.
The USA has been the top destination visited by young travellers since 2007 and remains so today, however, its share shrunk considerably in 2017 when compared to 2012, dipping down close to its 2007 proportion. Back in 2007 Australia featured in the top three destinations visited by young travellers, but by 2012 was not even registering within the top ten youth destination. In 2017, it re-entered the top 10 list, in front of only Thailand and Austria.
Chapman said: “More caution and consideration seem to be the trend for youth choosing a travel destination. While political and social unrest are not stopping young people from travelling, issues of political and social nature have them thinking about where they are welcome.
“Recognising the value of cultural exchange through policies and programmes that allow young people to learn in your destination is a future- looking foundation that every destination should establish.”
Conducted once every five years, New Horizons provides an overview of the youth travel market, which WYSE Travel Confederation and UNWTO have estimated to account for 23 per cent of international arrivals annually.