Why encouraging Gen C to travel isn’t just good for the balance sheet

Young people are travelling more and spending more than ever before. Today’s permanently-connected young travellers also have a larger sphere of influence than any generation that’s gone before them. All these are good reasons to embrace Gen C and encourage them to put your destination, product or service on their bucket list.Montañas de Lugo, Autumn 2012

In the end though, the real value in encouraging Gen C to travel is because it’s good for them. The 2012 San Diego Declaration on Youth, Student and Educational Travel summed it up nicely:

For young individuals;

  • Travel is a form of learning
  • Travel is a way of socialising
  • Travel is a form of discovering other cultures
  • Travel is a means of self-development
  • Travel is a source of career development

When you think about it in those terms, the benefits of encouraging young people to travel become clearer. Of course, it very much depends on the attitude of the individual. When asked by Hosteltur, Span’s leading tourism news site how I could explain the herds of drunk English teenagers descending on the Spanish costas for their modern age spring break in the context of WYSE Travel Confederation’s research on the modern youth traveller, I have to admit they painted me into a corner!

Still, in my opinion the adage that ‘travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer’ (here are some more quotes) still rings true whatever the destination as every travel experience, from a drunken weekend in Majorca to a once-in-a-lifetime backpacking tour of Australia will throw up experiences and memories to last a lifetime.

Explaining this concept in a language policy makers would understand was one of the key aims of the San Diego Declaration. At WYSTC San Diego in 2012 we sought to pool the beliefs about the benefits of travel and what could be done to improve conditions for it in one place. The document caught the imagination of the world’s tourism ministers and was subsequently approved by the UN. I encourage you to read more about it and download the Declaration here.

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