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San Diego

During the 2012 World Youth and Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) held in San Diego, California, USA, WYSE Travel Confederation hosted a roundtable discussion with UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and government representatives on the state of the global youth travel industry. The outcome of the meeting was the San Diego Declaration on Youth, Student and Educational Travel, a landmark position paper that outlined key recommendations to support the growth of the youth travel industry, benefit destinations, and enable more young people to travel.

The San Diego Declaration was supported by delegates attending WYSTC. At the invitation of the Secretary General of the UNWTO, the San Diego Declaration was subsequently presented to the 94th Session of the UNWTO Executive Council in October 2012 and formally endorsed by the 20th UNWTO General Assembly in August 2013.

Highlight the economic, social and cultural importance of promoting youth travel to governments worldwide;
Call on tourism authorities to take youth into account in the formation of tourism development strategies to ensure their destinations benefit from the positive impacts that youth travel can bring;

Ensure that such strategies seek to optimize the social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits to stakeholders in destinations;


Promote, in the formation of such strategies, the principles of fair trade, inclusive economic development and the protection of human rights for the economically poor and socially vulnerable;


Seek a standard terminology and agree on parameters to be used in research to ensure the consistency and authority of said research;


Establish the necessary mechanisms to understand the profile, characteristics and interests of young travellers so their travel needs may be better served;


Encourage the formation of partnerships between stakeholders in all destinations to ensure the sharing of information, consensus on policy and the best possible service to young visitors;


Facilitate the cross-border passage of young travellers through flexible immigration policies that recognise the economic and social benefits that youth tourism can bring;


Strengthen the mechanisms of cross-border passage to ensure that visas and other travel formalities are processed, issued and verified in an effective and efficient manner;


Devise and implement the proper mechanisms to ensure the safety and well-being of young travellers;


Highlight the importance to young people of engaging in programmes and projects that will enhance their personal and professional development, particularly where these involve travel;


Highlight the importance to young people of engaging in programmes and projects that benefit social and economic development in developing countries;


Education authorities and institutions should consider the value of introducing travel within curricula as a means of enhancing the skills and personal development of young people;