THE ASCENSION OF YOUTH TRAVEL

Millennials and Generation Z have forever changed travel marketing

Travel agents and tour operators will need to increase personal service and communication levels to cater for the future generations of millennials and Generation Z holidaymakers, according to a New Horizons Survey.

From experiential travel to the rise of Gen Z, the latest report for the WYSE Travel Confederation offers a number of updates on trends reshaping the travel industry. “New Horizons IV: A global study of the youth and student traveller” is based on the New Horizons Survey, which is conducted by the World Youth, Student a d Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation every ve years. In 2017, the survey attracted more than 57,000 responses from 188 countries and territories. The average age of survey respondents was 24, and the largest single age group was 20 to 22.

WYSE and the World Tourism Organisation estimate that youth travel accounted for 23% of all international arrivals in 2017, or 304 million trips. The total value of this market is estimated to be in excess of €250 bn. Average trip expenditure in 2017 was €2,867. When exchange rate uctuations are taken into account, this represents an increase of 18% compared with 2012.

David Chapman, Director General, WYSE Travel Confederation, said: “Youth travellers are generally well educated, with half holding a bachelor’s degree and 13% having a postgraduate degree. Students account for just over 60% of all youth travellers. A large proportion of travellers work full-time (28%) or part-time (26%), and work is often combined with study.

“The main purpose of travel reported by the respondents of the survey was holiday (38% rating it extremely important). The most important forms of purposeful travel were language learning (23%), study (14%) and work experience (13%). The travel styles that young people identi ed with most readily in 2017 were traveller (48%), tourist (26%) and backpacker (13%).”

“The rise of the digital nomad is beginning to be felt in destinations where more co-working spaces are springing up and high-speed Wi-Fi connections are being offered. Even though digital nomads are still not numerically important (we estimate around 1.8 million globally on the basis of our survey), they have an influence on other young travellers through their blogging, travel advice and apparently desirable lifestyle,” says Chapman, adding, “The growing youth travel market is also seeing increased blurring of travel products, with combined hostel/hotels or mixed modes of travel becoming more common. Youth travellers are also gathering their information from a wider range of information sources and devices, with the number of different sources growing by 18% between 2012 and 2017”.