Youth travel market grows
Youth travel is one of the global tourist industry's fastest growing sectors and accounts for a fifth of all international arrivals, according to a new report published this week.
Produced by the World Youth, Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation and UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation), the study reveals the latest trends in youth travel based on five years of research.
Significant findings of Youth Travel Matters: Understanding The Global Phenomenon of Youth Travel include the emergence of 'flashpackers', backpackers over 30 with bigger budgets and an increase of 40% in average expenditure per trip between 2002 and 2007.
Research showed that 70% of young people travel abroad with an aim such as working, volunteering, studying or learning a language and that 80% of young travellers return home more tolerant and respectful of other cultures.
With young independent travellers today staying longer and spending more than mainstream tourists, international tourism has recognised their importance to the industry.
The report found that 60% of the worlds tourism authorities have identified youth and student travel as being important or very important to the future of their industry. Consequently more and more countries are targeting the youth market with specific marketing campaigns and policies.
Youth budget accommodation, cultural routes, information services, web portals, tour packages and discount programmes are being improved across the world. Working holiday visa restrictions have been eased in popular gap year destinations such as Australia and New Zealand.
Australia, the United States and France are currently the most popular youth travel destinations according to the study.
Written by: Maxine Clarke
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