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How to tap into the power of youth travel

The New Horizons survey of more than 57,000 young travellers globally, conducted once every five years, provides an overview of the youth travel market, which WYSE Travel Confederation and UNWTO have estimated to account for 23% of international arrivals annually. While growth in youth travel globally seems a sure thing, a critical factor remains for attracting more millennial and Gen Z travellers - and it's not avocado toast or free Wi-Fi.

©Mirko Vitali via 123RF

New Horizons is the travel industry’s most comprehensive look at today’s young traveller and captures:

• How youth plan and book travel
• How much youth spend on travel
• Which activities youth participate in while in a destination
• The underlying motivations to travel

How to tap into the power of youth travel


The survey found that the most important travel motivations for 18 to 35-year-olds relate to desires to experience destinations and their cultures and increase their self-knowledge. More traditional holiday motivations, such as relaxing, are less important to young travellers.

“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,” said David Chapman, director general of the World Youth Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation.

“My answer to them is usually in the form of a question: Have you looked at your country’s policies around cultural exchange?”

“More caution and consideration seem to be the trend for youth choosing a travel destination,” said David Chapman. “While political and social unrest is not stopping young people from travelling, issues of political and social nature have them thinking about where they are welcome.”

WYSE Travel Confederation will present findings from the New Horizons IV survey during the 2018 ITB Berlin. WYSE Travel Confederation, along with a panel of experts in youth and student travel will discuss some of the findings of the New Horizons IV survey and how these translate to changes, challenges, and opportunities for destinations and various sectors of the youth travel industry in the coming years.
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