ITB Berlin NOW Convention discusses youth travel in times of the pandemic
The youth travel market targeting 15 to 30 year-olds has plummeted by around 70 per cent since the second quarter of 2020 and is unlikely to recover fully before 2023, said Professor Greg Richards of the WYSE Travel Confederation on Wednesday at the ITB Berlin NOW Convention. As far as a recovery was concerned youth travel offered prospects that set it apart from other markets, Richards added.
Young travellers often go on longer trips than other holidaymakers, for instance. The average time spent travelling as an au pair or on language studies was over 100 days. For that reason, young travellers were more likely to take quarantine in their stride.
Furthermore, the youth travel market has changed substantially in recent years. “Backpackers are already history, even though for many years they essentially made up the youth travel market. However, the market’s traditional image has changed. Backpackers have grown older, gone up-market and become flashpackers and digital nomads“, Professor Greg Richards said.
For some destinations digital nomads represented an attractive growth market, Richards added. They increased demand for overnights and work space and were interested in excursions – and they could also afford those things. During the Covid pandemic many people had learnt to work remotely and would probably often wonder why they had to be in the office when they could be working on the beach.
One obstacle to a recovery of the youth travel market could be that in many countries students and young adults will be among the last population groups to be vaccinated. However, this could be an incentive for destinations to attract students by advertising vaccinations on entry to their country.
One important factor influencing the youth travel market’s future was visa policies. One would have to wait and see what steps the Biden administration would take in the future, Richards said.