The tourism sector has noticed some considerable growth over the last few years, and many experts are attributing that to the rise in millennial travel. Young people have surpassed Baby Boomers and the Great Generation as the demographic that chooses to move, and many tourism companies are looking to find out why Generation Y seems to have a severe case of wanderlust.
It seems likely that millennials are the future of travel, and many tourism boards have been analyzing the trends exhibited by those in the 20s and 30s. There are significant differences between this generation and others, including where they visit, the way they approach other cultures, how they treat the environment, and the types of experiences they enjoy while abroad.
“Travelers are looking for local experiences, whether cultural, natural, artistic or culinary. They want to go where the locals go and do what the locals do…the upcoming trend in travel is personalization. Everyone has different interests: some people are into camping, others are into staying at boutique hotels,” comments Michel Karam, CEO of muvTravel, in an article for Forbes.
Millennials tend to choose travel that allows them to experience local culture and to really feel as they know a location. They might forgo the comforts that travelers from other generations might require, and they might also choose to visit destinations that have been bypassed in the past. They might choose Jordan vacations over heading to a more popular locale, such as Paris or London.
They also tend to look for highly-personalized journeys that offer them adventures that are a little bit off the beaten path. As remote work becomes more and more common, travel has also become a part of daily life for millennials who choose to take their work on the road. This can mean that travel is not just seen as a vacation, but as a lifestyle, as well.
Much of this has to do with the lowered prices of air travel, and the flexibility of work schedules or gap years that the millennial generation has embraced. Globalization and constant connectivity has also made the world seem much more accessible and travel essential to developing relationships for business and pleasure.
“Millennials don’t just see travel as something we do, we identify with it. We consider ourselves citizens of the world and we have an enthusiastic desire to immerse ourselves in another place and return rejuvenated, inspired, and ready for our next adventure,” states Tara Cappel in another Forbes article.
There are other aspects of millennial travel that are different from past generations. Technology has greatly changed how flights, tours, and accommodations. Deals to various destinations are easier to find online than they would be by visiting a travel agent, and promotions allow young people to visit a new location on any budget. Hostels, couchsurfing, and Airbnb have also opened up options that are often less expensive than staying at hotels. In a matter of moments, young people can use their phones to compare prices and find the best flight deals before booking.
They also recognize that they can be responsible for the vitality of a place. Sustainability has become a hot trend for many young people looking to leave a location in a better place when they have arrived. Tour companies have been trying to accommodate this generation by offering more eco-friendly options and by altering how their employees interact with the local people and nature.
Adventure travel has also been supported by the millennial demographic, which tends to use vacation time to explore new regions and embrace new activities rather than spend time at a spa. Generation Y is much more likely to choose jumping out of a plane than a day at the spa, which has caused tourism companies to alter their mindset on reaching young people. Because many of them look for more personalized experiences, custom adventure travel is another trend that is likely to continue to blossom over the next few years.
Of course, some trends give way to others, and luxury tourism seems to be on the way out for many millennials. Because many are limited to a certain budget, staying at expensive accommodations and paying a lot for meals is not always an option for many young people. Many of them argue that it does not always afford them the most authentic experiences, as well. As a result, it is likely that the luxury tourism industry will make more efforts to offer local, cultural options.
As Generation Y looks to be the leaders in the travel sector, there are bound to be changes to how time abroad is viewed and what tourism will look like in the future. Regardless, it appears that the new clients in travel are seeking out deeper, more emotionally-involved experiences for reasonable prices.