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The Goals of the Youth Travel Charter

The economic and social value of youth travel combined with its fast-paced growth and disruptive trendsetting power positions it as a key strategic priority for travel, tourism and international education decision-makers.

The Youth Travel Charter has been developed as a tool to help civil society and governments to prioritise young people as travellers. The Youth Travel Charter makes the case that young travellers are a strategic segment of international travel and tourism and that civil society should invest in this segment known as youth travel. 

The Youth Travel Charter highlights the main guiding principles and objectives for international youth travel in simple terms and offers pragmatic recommendations for each. The Youth Travel Charter is intended to be a document that will encourage dialogue and learning among all stakeholders of international youth travel.


Leverage young people and travel as positive forces for cultural exchange and sustainable development

The UN has recognised young people as a major force for development and social change, therefore youth should be seen with the potential to drive sustainable development in the travel and tourism industry.

Travel is a platform for fostering intercultural understanding and mutual respect and has the potential to benefit local communities and travellers alike. Young people are global citizens and have the potential to learn and become innovative thinkers, creators, and leaders of society. Bring travel and youth together and you have an open, dynamic interexchange between individuals, culture, and society that lends a unique characteristic to the social fabric of a destination. Tourism authorities and destinations should acknowledge the benefits and positive impacts that young travellers can bring to and gain from a destination and strategise with these in mind.

What stakeholders can do

  • Recognise that all young people are potential beneficiaries of the educational and social value to be derived from travel.
  • Recognise that young travellers bring benefits to a destination.
  • Prioritise young people within your broader tourism strategy and consider them as critical elements shaping future developments and strategies.
  • Facilitate bi-lateral exchanges and involve communities and travellers to be part of designing these experiences.
  • Educate local communities on the mutually beneficial impacts of travel for young people.
  • Encourage positive and welcoming hospitality towards young travellers.

Relevant resources & examples


Recognise the present and future economic value of young travellers for destinations and invest in integrated strategy for development

Total global youth travel spend is expected to reach USD 400 billion by 2020 making it larger than the GDP of South Africa or Hong Kong and the same as that of Argentina. Youth travel translates to more than 300 million international arrivals per year. This influx creates jobs, with roughly 2.5% of jobs created related to youth travel. The youth travel segment has become one of the fastest growing in international tourism, presenting tremendous socio-economic opportunities for destinations if well managed.

Leveraging the opportunity means recognising the direct and indirect economic impacts that the segment can bring to a destination and understanding how value is generated on the ground.

What stakeholders can do

  • Collect, review, and analyse destination-specific data to assess the size and value of the opportunity.
  • Talk to industry players to understand industry and marketplace intelligence that will complement strategy.
  • Identify and gain the support of key public and private sector decision-makers at the national level.
  • Develop an integrated market-level strategy with relevant policies, practices, and targets that aligns all participants.

Relevant resources & examples

  • Tourism Research Australia – provide research and analysis my age and activity categories. This data then assists the Australian government, tourism industry and other Australian businesses to make informed planning, marketing and investment decisions.
  • WYSE Travel Confederation’s research programme provides the youth travel community with the data and market intelligence it needs to develop the policies, services, and products that make international travel and educational experiences exciting, safe, accessible, and affordable for young people. WYSE Travel Confederation can help with bespoke research, analyses and reports commissioned on a project basis. 



Collect and analyse data to gain continuous insights to inform your youth tourism strategy, policies, practices, and products

Strategy relies on research, understanding, and aspiration. Just like a trip, getting to where you’d like to go requires knowledge of where you are now and an assessment of the options available and resources needed in order to make decisions.

Understanding the size and value of the market, the main players, viable youth travel product, demand, and distribution, along with the challenges and opportunities associated with the journey to market and export, are basic to developing a strategy for youth travel and tourism.

What stakeholders can do

  • Collect basic demographic data of international arrivals
  • Conduct primary and secondary research to understand your organization/destination and benchmark it against others.
  • Utilise existing standards or develop standards in partnership with others to enable meaningful comparisons.
  • Test and evaluate strategies by establishing key performance indicators to track and measure progress towards goals and objectives; find the ‘story’ in your data.
  • Share insights from your research, including best practice for results.

Relevant resources & examples

  • Tourism Research Australia – provide research and analysis by age and activity categories. This data then assists the Australian government, tourism industry and other Australian businesses to make informed planning, marketing and investment decisions.
  • WYSE Travel Confederation’s research programme provides the youth travel community with the data and market intelligence it needs to develop the policies, services, and products that make international travel and educational experiences exciting, safe, accessible, and affordable for young people. WYSE Travel Confederation can help with bespoke research, analyses and reports commissioned on a project basis. 
  • The City of Sydney International Education Action Plan


Accelerate the formation of public-private partnerships that create and align policies, infrastructure, and youth-tailored travel and tourism products

The latest Global Report on The Power of Youth Travel illustrates the power of collaborative partnerships for tourism and the outcomes that can be achieved by sharing knowledge, forming sound policy, and developing joint strategies.

Partnerships can take many forms and involve a variety of stakeholders who are united by a common goal. Such partnerships make a wider range of relevant skillsets and resources available for achieving efficiency, scale, and goals greater that any one organisation could not achieve itself.

What stakeholders can do

  • Encourage cross-industry dialogue and problem solving.
  • Encourage the active involvement of travellers and the general public in product development.
  • Support SME access to industry associations and business networking opportunities.
  • Facilitate connections between SMEs, investors, and capacity development/technical assistance players.

Relevant resources & examples

  • Joining associations such as WYSE Travel Confederation and attending industry events is an important way to network and identify key players with common interests and goals that may be open to exploring partnership opportunities.


Remove discriminatory entry barriers and promote youth-friendly policies, products and programmes for young travellers from diverse socio-economic backgrounds

Make your destination more accessible by removing discriminatory barriers and encouraging Cultural Exchange between countries.

What stakeholders can do

Non-discrimination on grounds of age, race, disability, religion, gender, sexual orientation etc

  • Youth travel and tourism should be accessible to all
  • ‘Accessibility’ of destinations
  • Overcoming barriers to accessibility be they financial, educational, regulation or discriminatory
  • Availability and awareness of grants is sketchy
  • Encourage diversity of products at different price points
  • Policies supporting diverse tourist population
  • Data points on diverse destinations more successful ?
  • Destination disabled entrepreneurs creating niche experience for similarly disabled and others
  • Creating schemes to address financial accessibility

Resources & examples

  •  WYSE Travel Confederation’s Toolkit for Work Abroad: a step-by step guide on how to drive advocacy for youth mobility and how to build a case that will demand government discussion and help create momentum for change. 


Promote international mobility for young people through specialised visas that place cultural exchange at their core and which are aligned with broader tourism, trade, and migration policies

The growth of youth travel has been an important indicator of increased global mobility for people in the developed (and developing?) world and the trend is set to continue. Youth student and educational travel in particular is becoming increasingly competitive as a result, with ever growing number of destinations opening up and offering innovative and hybrid propositions.

Certain leading destinations have made their value proposition much more compelling and youth friendly by creating structured programmes easing visa policies and entry requirements and introducing simpler digital application processes. This generally only happens once a destination recognizes the economic and social benefits that youth tourism brings and enables more flexible policies that facilitate cross border passage.

A well thought through approach can move youth visas and mobility from being a pain point to a powerful enabler without immigration risks.

What stakeholders can do

  • Take a longer term strategic approach to visas and mobility as this will be a key enabler in supporting your overall youth tourism objectives
  • Look for longer term sustainable agreements as part of your tourism policy
  • Recognise the importance of reciprocity in bilateral agreements
  • Consider policies to increase work rights and post- study work
  • Create an array of visa programmes that match student travel purposes (e.g. volunteer, post study work, short term educational, etc.)
  • Specialised visa programmes allow more diversity in economic benefits to your destination (e.g. spend in destinations, creating jobs, etc)
  • Leverage youth travellers to address seasonal labour requirements and shortages
  • Align efforts across governmental departments to create a unified approach with common goals and risk assessments (Tourism working with Immigration, Foreign policy, etc.)
  • Refer below for some best practice examples

Resources & examples

    GOAL 7

    Use environmentally sensitive youth travellers as a catalyst to future proof your destination, aiming for scale-able impact policies, standards and products

    Concerns about the unfolding climate crisis, especially among young people highlight their growing intolerance to negative environmental impacts. They are increasingly championing environmental protection and have been called upon by the UN system to play a role at both the intergovernmental climate change negotiations level and in their communities.

    Considering this context, the industry has no choice but to actively engage with youth on future proofing and committing to eco-friendly policies, standard and products. Whilst players that get this right will lead the way, this is like the topic of security, much more than just a competitive play. It requires industry wide leadership.

    What stakeholders can do

    • “Future proofing” your destination market, including your policies and practices should be at the forefront of your thinking
    • Work towards “scale-able impact” initiatives versus superficial changes as ultimately your youth target will choose authentic eco-friendly choices
    • Advocate governments to offer products of varying sustainable/environmental impact
    • Use youth tourism as an educational catalyst to educate destination communities and supply chain players on environmental impact implications
    • Design environmentally sensitive and carbon neutral products from scratch
    • Use destination best practice operators to educate youth travelers to take best practices home with them
    • Leverage partnerships and co-creation to move to ‘neutral’ targets
    • Consider grants for eco-friendly tourism combined with regulation to a “green standard”
    • Set targets as per the Waste neutral hostels in US by 2020 case study below

    Resources & examples

    GOAL 8

    Champion responsible and sustainable business practices across the supply chain and educate young people to consciously make respectful choices as they interact with the host destination

    Responsible and sustainable tourism is about fostering a positive economic, social, and environmental impact on host destinations.

    At the macro level sustainability involves the creation and support by stakeholders and political leaders of community wide programs that encourage the ongoing practice of tourism. These can include the fair redistribution of profits, stimulating employment, education and alleviating poverty. In parallel at the micro level responsible and ethical tourism involves championing mutual respect in the way in visitors, residents, and small businesses interact with a destination.

    What stakeholders can do

    • Encourage local providers to insist on responsible products and supply chain and on supporting local economies, communities and their artisanal traditions
    • The end to end evaluation and audit of the supply chain
    • Agreeing, implementing and then monitoring the effectiveness of policies and practices encouraging responsible behavior
    • Ensure the ethical sourcing of products, staff etc.
    • Use technology and partnerships to deliver against ‘responsible’ experience ( and pre-booking)
    • Consult other stakeholders like associations, agencies on ethical and responsible practices
    • Source industry best practices and learn from other industry best in class players
    • Fact check source of data and information
    • Educate young travelers, the early adopters of ‘local’ on consciously making positive and responsible choices in interacting with the host destination

    “Traveling responsibly and following responsible business practices means consciously choosing to foster a positive interaction between the tourist industry and the host destination”

    Resources & examples


    GOAL 9

    Respect and protect the human rights of destination communities, tourism industry employees and youth travellers as per obligations under international human rights laws and conventions

    As with the environment, youth today are intolerant to negative human rights impacts – they are “informed consumers” on the topic. They believe in the innate equality and defense of all human beings as the rule and will consciously choose not to go to certain places or participate in certain activities based on a lack of sustainable practices.

    A human rights approach to youth tourism is therefore not a nice to have but a business necessity. It requires all stakeholders fulfilling their responsibility to respect and support human rights.

    What stakeholders can do

    • Recognizing the multiple human rights impacts and issues associated with youth tourism
    • Incorporating human rights within core business policies and practices and also calling out the protection of human rights for the economically poor and socially vulnerable
    • Undertaking an end to end supply chain due diligence review
    • Reducing risks of activities harming the human rights of destination communities, tourism industry staff and youth travelers
    • Paying particular attention to exploitation of children/youth by youth travellers and any form of exploitation of youth travellers themselves
    • Introducing a remediation process to address areas of potential risk and engaging directly and transparently with affected communities

    Resources & examples

    GOAL 10

    Prioritise traveller safety mechanisms, and their regular review, for the entire travel journey from design and marketing to in-destination procedures and practices

    For a variety of reasons, young travellers may be more vulnerable than other segments of travellers. Less lifetime travel experience, longer stays, multi-destination trips, adventurous social aspirations, or even anxiety and alienation while abroad can heighten young traveller vulnerability. There is a duty of care towards this more vulnerable group.

    The safety and well-being of young travellers is a prerequisite for the travel industry. The responsibility is with all players in the supply chain, including, but limited to product developers, tour operators, travel agents, accommodation providers, destination authorities, policymakers, technology and service providers, and the local community.

    What stakeholders can do

    • Implement policies, regulations, and practices that aim to protect young travellers.
    • Map the traveller journey to identify potential risk points which can be addressed in product (re)design.
    • Assess traveller preparedness before departure and address gaps that represent potential risk.
    • Educate and continuously train staff and affiliates/partner providers on procedures and practices.
    • Encourage industry collaboration rather than competition when it comes to safety.
    • Provide destination-specific advice to travellers and industry alike.

    Resources & examples

    GOAL 11

    Engage technology with consideration for ethics and consumer co-creation to secure digital relevance, operational efficiency, seamless omni-channel experiences

    Millennials, as digital natives, have been attributed to redefining the customer experience across industries, including travel. Personalisation and co-creation are expected and the norm against which travel experiences are judged, starting from search and marketing all the way through the stay to reviews.

    At the same time that real-time data, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and other technology being applied to travel present significant opportunities to deliver ‘frictionless’ experiences, new ethical and security concerns arise that our industry should be aware of.


    What stakeholders can do

    • Map existing and potential future customer experience journeys together with young travellers with an eye toward collaborative product design ‘for them, by them’.
    • Collaborate with technology developers and providers to resolve pain points in customer experience.
    • Comply with recognised standards for personal data privacy and security.
    • Establish clear policies and practices on data usage, with particular attention to data about minors and parental/legal guardian consent.
    • Educate young consumers and their parents/legal guardians about data usage and personal data privacy.

    Resources & examples