Youth power travel growth

Youth Travel represents around 20% of all international arrivals and is one of the tourism industry’s fastest growing sectors, according to a new industry report by the World Youth, Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation and UNWTO.This report study reveals the latest trends in youth travel destinations, products and innovations based on in depth studies conducted by WYSE Travel Confederation and UNWTO over the past 5 years. Some Key Findings:

The average expenditure per trip has increased by 40% among young travellers.

Forget the ‘budget image’ - today’s young travellers stay longer and spend overall more than mainstream tourists. Since 2002, the average spend per trip has increased by 40% to €1,915 in 2007.

A new generation of ‘flashpackers’ (older backpackers with bigger budgets) is emerging, extending the ‘youth travel’ market to 30+ years.

70% of young people travel with a purpose - to learn a language, volunteer, work or study abroad, etc.


A growing number of countries are therefore seeking to attract niche markets (e.g. sports and adventure) with specific youth travel marketing campaigns and policies.

Key aspects of destination development are: youth budget accommodation, cultural routes, information services, web portals, tour packages and discount programmes.

Australia, the USA and France are currently the most popular youth travel destinations.

A new trend is driving growth in the youth accommodation industry. Youth hostels worldwide are upgrading their bunk-bed dormitories and developing innovative concepts to attract the ‘flashpacker’ market e.g. offering hostel and hotel rooms under one roof.

This, combined with major developments in social networking and environmental issues, has led to a dramatic increase in the quality and professionalism of the youth accommodation industry.

The value of student travel has prompted many countries to ease visa restrictions on working holidays, particularly Australia and New Zealand - now favourite destinations for GAP Year Students.

Japan is currently the most important source market for language learning, followed by Spain and Germany. The UK continues to be the strongest language travel destination - with new destinations such as Australia and China opening up.