What do young travellers want when exploring New Zealand?

young travellers in Hobbition

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. Research shows that they are 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

The number of young people wanting to get out of the classroom to gain hands-on experience is growing significantly. Parents, school leaders, teachers and universities are also 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. Relevant future skills are becoming more important than ever. Barry Rawlings, EDU Africa, won the Best Education Abroad Provider category at the 2019 Global Youth Travel Awards. He said: “Experiential learning is an emerging trend which has been enjoying steady growth for some time. Gen Z are placing a strong emphasis on the values behind tourism providers. They’re 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
Young travellers are interested in worthwhile and responsible travel. 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 has 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. He says: “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? What effect does such a project have on the environment and culture of a local community?”

Gen Z are all about looking for unique experiences. There’s a shift from travelling as a luxury, to travelling as essential to grow as an open-minded person. They’re willing to spend a higher percentage of what they own on travel and transformational experiences than any other generation before them.

They’re looking for:

  • Authentic moments and a connection with people and cultures.
  • Off-the-beaten-path adventures that are authentic and unforgettable (and Instagram-worthy, too).
  • Cultural immersion
  • Sampling local cuisine adds 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. 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.
Group of travellers on a bus
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