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Manchester, United Kingdom — 22-25 September 2009

WYSE Archives

Youth splurging to hit the festival circuit

Oct 16, 2018

Amsterdam Dance Event is in full swing, but music fans also have their eyes on the 2019 festival line-ups that are trickling out. Glastonbury sold out in 36 minutes without one act announced. A new video game themed music festival PLAY will hit the scene next year while established acts like Metallica and The Cure are headlining European summer festivals. Are you planning to attend a festival in 2019?

The festival circuit that used to be followed by backpackers concentrated on European cultural events, such as the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona or Oktoberfest in Munich. In recent years, the explosion of music festivals has created new circuits of music fans following their favourite artists to different international destinations.

According to New Horizons IV, the global survey of youth travel, about 19% of young travellers visited a festival during their last big international trip. The largest numbers of festivalgoers visited the USA, Spain, and the UK.

For the millennial traveller it is more important to splurge on unique travel experiences like festivals, and food & drink than traditional travel extras like room or flight upgrades. The New Horizons IV Survey found that 27% of youth travellers were very likely to splurge on festivals or events, second only to food & drink experiences (37% very likely to splurge on).

Travellers ages 20- to 25-years old in particular are festival splurgers, whereas 26- to 34-year olds tend to splurge on food & drink experiences.

WYSE Travel Confederation, New Horizons IV, 2017

The growth of music and festival tourism combined with the youth tourism market’s potential for destination development is exemplified by EXIT Festival of Novi Sad, Serbia. Over the course of 20 years, the festival has become a significant economic and cultural stimulator for the country. EXIT, a partner of WYSE Travel Confederation New Horizons project, was recognised by UNWTO in 2017 as a “socially responsible company and a positive force in tourism”.

Given the interest that youth travellers have in unique cultural experiences, destination marketing organisations should consider working more closely with event organisers and youth travel suppliers in marketing the destination.

Find out more about gen z and millennial travel in New Horizons IV: A global study of the youth and student traveller.