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Millennial and GenZ travellers spending more, experiencing life as a local
WYSE News | March 9, 2018

Millennial and GenZ travellers spending more, experiencing life as a local

Mar 9, 2018


Millennial and GenZ travellers spending more, experiencing life as a local

Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 9 March 2018 

Forget clubbing, couch-surfing, and selfie sticks. The 2018 ITB Berlin Youth Travel Hall (4.1) showed off what the youth travel market is really about – experiential and immersive travel for key players in tourism for development.

From the Hall 4.1 Main Stage, the World Youth and Student Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation delivered insights from the New Horizons Survey. The survey of 57,000 travellers ages 18-35 worldwide offers the industry’s most comprehensive look into youth and student travellers.

Youth accounted for at least 23% of the 1.3 billion international arrivals in 2017. Since WYSE Travel Confederation first conducted the New Horizons Survey in 2002, average youth trip spend has more than doubled. According to WYSE Travel Confederation estimates, youth generated about $280 billion in tourism receipts in 2016.

Young travellers tend to stay longer and spend more than a typical, traditional tourist. While in the destination, they  prefer visiting cafes and restaurants, historical sites, and shopping. The concept of ‘living like a local’ also surged ahead from 2012, with more than half of respondents (51%) now indicating this is a desired activity.
While the top destinations benefiting from Millennial and GenZ travel spend haven’t changed much in recent years, the New Horizons Survey has revealed some significant shifts. The United States is still at the top of the list for young travellers, but it has lost some of its share of the pie. Spain is now the second leading destination and Australia moved back into the top 10 for the first time since 2007.
“We have worked closely with our destination members as they’ve tapped into this valuable travel market – one which stays longer, spends more, and are the most likely to return to the country later in life, with family and friends,” said WYSE Travel Confederation Director General David Chapman.

WYSE Travel Confederation member Fáilte Ireland is one destination that has used WYSE’s youth traveller insights to develop their destination marketing, capitalise on their existing assets, and influence young travellers to experience Ireland beyond the city centres. The Ireland exhibition stand took up a prominent space beside the WYSE Village in Hall 4.1 for showcasing their three signature brands: Ireland’s Ancient East, Wild Atlantic Way, and Dublin, Breath of Fresh Air.

“We knew from New Horizons research that youth travellers are willing to go beyond tourism hotspots, live like locals, and be immersed in Ireland’s culture,” said Amanda Horan, Business Development Officer for Fáilte Ireland. “The research has helped us to fully realise the interests and motivations of each segment of the youth travel industry. That was instrumental in developing our brands.”

The New Horizons Survey has consistently found that top motivations to travel for young people are to explore other cultures, experience everyday life in other places, and increase their knowledge. Millennial and GenZ travellers are not only lucrative for destinations, but they’re also the market that is ready, and willing, to fully embrace sustainable travel.

“Youth are pioneers and trendsetters. They attract others to new destinations and places that are off the beaten track. Destinations that aren’t tapping into the power of youth travel are simply missing out,” said Chapman.

Notes to the editor

For media enquiries please contact:

WYSE Travel Confederation
Keizersgracht 174-176 | 1016 DW Amsterdam | The Netherlands | +31 (0)20 421 2800 |

About New Horizons:

New Horizons is the only recurring global survey of the youth, student and educational travel market. The aim of the study is to provide an overview of the youth travel market, which WYSE Travel Confederation and UNWTO have estimated to account for 23% of international arrivals annually.

The study provides insight to travel agents, suppliers, destination marketers, policymakers, and other stakeholders of the global travel and tourism industry, offering a global perspective on trends of the under-30 travel market:

  • Where do youth travellers come from and where have they travelled to?
  • What are the main purposes and motivations for youth to travel?
  • How do youth plan and book trips?
  • How much do youth spend on trips?
  • What activities do youth participate in while in a destination?
  • How do youth visitors rate the cities they have visited?

Conducted by WYSE Travel Confederation once every five years, the New Horizons IV Survey attracted more than 57,000 responses from 188 countries and territories between June and November 2017.

WYSE Travel Confederation is a global membership association for the youth travel industry and known for its global travel trade events and research specifically on the youth and student travel market. More information is available at

About WYSE Travel Confederation:

  • The World Youth Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation is a global not-for-profit membership organisation dedicated to promoting and developing opportunities for the youth, student and educational travel industry.
  • Founded in 2006 and created from the merger of the Federation of International Youth Travel organisations (FIYTO) and the International Student Travel Confederation (ISTC) – both formed after World War II to inspire young people through international travel and to help remove cultural barriers – the confederation brings together 60 years of youth travel expertise.
  • Providing international travel experiences to over 30 million youth and students each year, WYSE Travel Confederation’s global community of over 600 members spans more than 120 countries from a diverse range of sectors.
  • From adventure tour operators to au pair agencies, cultural exchange programmes to language schools, hop-on-hop-off buses to student insurance and youth hostels to volunteer programmes, WYSE Travel Confederation is the world’s most powerful network of youth and student travel professionals, connecting key industry players with decision makers and government officials.
  • The Confederation is committed to understanding the ever-changing characteristics, motivations and needs of young travellers. By gathering, analysing and sharing important market intelligence with members, academics and government decision-makers, the unique fast-changing needs of the youth market is at the forefront of its activities as it seeks to accelerate the development of youth travel.
  • For more information, visit or follow the organisation on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.