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What Young Travellers Want

You know it, BeKiwi knows it, and now the tourism industry knows it too! What young travellers want is different to your average tourist. Youth travel is one of the fastest-growing markets of the travel industry, spending more and staying longer than the average tourist

Plenty of research has been undertaken into youth travel in recent years, and this is what it’s telling us:

Experiential learning
There has been significant growth in the number of young people wanting to get out of the classroom and get some hands-on experience in the wider world. It’s not just students driving this – it’s parents, school leaders, teachers and universities who are seeing the positive impact experiential learning has on students. In our globalised world, taking a more holistic approach to education is essential for young people to thrive, and relevant future skills are becoming more important than ever.
Barry Rawlings from EDU Africa, 2019 winner of the Best Education Abroad Provider category at the Global Youth Travel Awards, said: “Experiential learning is an emerging trend which has been enjoying steady growth for some time. Gen Z is placing a strong emphasis on the values and ethos behind how providers go about their work and are demonstrating a willingness to boycott those who do not meet the mark. This applies to environmental issues, issues of diversity, paternalistic attitudes, appropriate animal interaction and others. We’re now engaging with a far more discerning traveller.”
Responsible and ethical tourism
Youth travellers are interested in worthwhile and responsible travel as they ask more questions and think about the consequences of their actions as a tourist on the environment, local people and local economy. It’s clear that Gen Z have a desire to reduce their negative impact on the world, so it’s up to tourism providers to support them with both information and choices.
Nick Pound, from World Nomads, looks at the changing face of the travel industry: “As the climate change crisis deepens, youth travellers want to see real change… and they will demand and get it. Emboldened by the #FlightShame success, other parts of mainstream mass tourism are open to criticism. What’s the carbon footprint of building a massive resort, and what effect does such a project have on the environment and culture of a local community?”
Authenticity
Gen Z are all about looking for unique experiences as there is a shift from travelling as a luxury, to travelling as essential to grow as a unique and open-minded person. They are willing to spend a higher percentage of what they own on travel and transformational experiences than any other generation before them.
They are looking for authentic moments and want to connect with people and cultures. They want to write their own stories, be impulsive and feel like a local. They are seeking off-the-beaten-path adventures that are authentic and unforgettable (and Instagram-worthy, too.) Cultural immersion has shown to be the main goal for young travellers, as well as sampling local cuisine, adding to an authentic experience of the place they are visiting. Rather than jetting from location to location, they would rather hop on local buses and trains to see more of the local landscape of a place and experience it fully. They are also more likely to be more active on their holiday – anything from stand up paddleboarding, snorkelling or hiking – because active exploring makes a trip more authentic and will allow them to experience more.

Taking the scenic route

Rather than jetting from location to location, youth travellers would rather hop on local buses and trains to see more of the local landscape of a place and experience it fully.
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