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It is acknowledged that youth travel contributes significantly to the economic growth and development of many countries around the globe. However, in a world that has again been rocked by devastating terrorist attacks and threats, the major positive cultural and social impact youth travel brings is particularly relevant and should be elevated.

Freedom of movement is one of the foremost drivers of cultural exchange, bringing young people from all corners of the world together. Travel raises a deeper cultural understanding as young people discover different customs, daily rituals and lifestyles. Positive cultural exchange and dialogue fosters life-long connections and friendships and by experiencing a daily life other than what is familiar, a mutual empathy is established and can help decrease the very prejudices that cultivate terrorism.

WYSE Travel Confederation, and the youth and student travel industry believes that cultural immersion through travel is one of the most effective means of stimulating improved tolerance amongst young citizens of the world. The leaders of tomorrow will be better equipped to create a brighter and more peaceful future by educating and encouraging the millennial generation to explore and obtain a greater understanding of cultural differences in relation to their own communities.

There is no doubt that the recent terrorist attacks will bring challenges to the youth travel landscape, and that travel, as with other pursuits, will never be without risk. It is now more important than ever for our industry to come together and do our bit to counteract the disruption and cultural fragmentation terrorists desperately want to force upon our societies. We need to continue to inspire and facilitate the positive attributes of international travel and highlight to young people that these experiences can help decrease tension in the world, transform conflict, counteract violence and help build multi-cultural peace.

WYSE Travel Confederation would like to convey its heartfelt support to Paris, Beirut and Mali and other affected countries and communities around the world as well as any of our members, who may have been adversely impacted by the recent devastating events.

You are all in our thoughts,

WYSE Travel Confederation.