Pax Global Media
Despite financial concerns, Gen Z (people born between the mid-to-late 1990s and the early 2010s) is not going to let an economic crisis impede their travel plans, according to a new survey from StudentUniverse, a subsidiary of Flight Centre Travel Group.
In the study, which spoke to 4,000 young students from around the world, 87% of respondents indicated that vocational travel (such as working holidays and study abroad) is important for their career and 78% indicating a desire to enjoy new experiences.
The findings were released this week as part of the company’s The State of Student & Youth Travel in 2023 survey, which delves into the traveller sentiment of those aged 18-25.
Ditching the party scene
According to the report, today’s Gen Z travellers are more culturally aware, open to new experiences and willing to dig deeper into the places they visit.
Compared to past generations, the biggest appeals now for young travellers are sightseeing (70%) and experiencing new culture (68%), followed by trying new cuisines (59%), exploring nature (58%) and meeting new people (37%).
For the most part Gen Z aren’t interested in travelling for nightlife and clubbing, with just 21% claiming an interest while on vacation.
“It wasn’t too long ago that the 18-30s travel market was practically synonymous with raucous partying, gleeful disregard for inhibition and a seemingly inexhaustible ambition to experience the world’s worst hangover. That’s no longer the case for today’s Gen-Z generation – they are seeking much more meaningful, educational experiences from their travels,” said Will Jones, brand manager at StudentUniverse.
From ditching the party scene to their surprising stance on their impact on the environment, the report found that Gen-Z is the generation creating big shifts in the travel space.
Resilient & undeterred
Gen Z showed the highest propensity to travel as pandemic restrictions loosened.
With an estimated disposable income over $400b, “it’s a demographic the travel industry shouldn’t sleep on,” the company says.
Despite being budget conscious, student and youth travellers spend three times more on a trip than the average international traveller and although 76% indicated that financial costs were their greatest concern about traveling only 8% indicated they would stop traveling altogether due to finances.
Gen Z believes where there’s a problem there’s a solution: 65% indicating they will aim to find the cheapest option and almost half (46%) indicated they would expect to get assistance from a parent or guardian.
The climate crisis
The study reveals that despite Gen-Z being a highly environmentally conscious generation, most young travellers are not letting climate change limit their travel plans.
Nearly half (49%) of student and youth travellers say that global warming has had little or no impact on their desire to travel, and just 23% say they would be likely to pay to offset their carbon emissions when booking travel.
When it comes to what worries this demographic the most about travelling, just 15% cited their impact on the environment, ranking it as the lowest concern, while the biggest was financial cost (76%).
The reports says that a vast majority of Gen-Z view travel as a fast-track to success at work, with 87% saying that overseas experiences would improve their career prospects.
A further 78% claim a desire to partake in vocational travel, such as working holidays and volunteering, if given the opportunity.
This backs the general trend of a shift away from hedonistic, party-orientated vacations to more purpose-driven, immersive experiences that can continue to deliver benefits long after they’ve finished.
Homosexuality is still criminalized in 68 countries – more than a third of the world’s total – and the report reveals that the vast majority (82%) of Gen Z say their willingness to visit a country would be impacted by its laws and attitudes on issues like LGBTQ+ rights.
The report also reveals insights on student mobility, where students want to go, perspectives on travelling for education, purpose-driven vocational travel, the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis and predictions for the next decade.
To read the full report, click here.