United Nations World Tourism Organisation

unwtoThe WYSE Travel Confederation is a long standing Affiliate Member of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). In recent years our cooperation has taken a variety of forms, one of the most notable being the joint production of the publication Youth Travel Matters – Understanding the Global Phenomenon of Youth Travel in 2008. This compendium of our combined research drew attention to the unique motivations of young travellers, and the compelling potential of this vibrant market segment.

Since then, the story has gone from strength to strength and in 2010 we came together again to develop an initiative to spotlight this potential to governments, official tourism organisations and business leaders. The Power of Youth Travel report is the first step on that path.

In 2010 young travellers generated 165 billion USD towards global tourism receipts, affirming their financial value to the global tourism industry and local economies. The power of youth travel is not solely an economic story. The social and cultural benefits for the young traveller and the communities that host them are far reaching, long-term and measurably more sustainable than other forms of tourism. As the tourism industry itself goes through unprecedented change, it is youth travel that has the most to contribute through the innovation required of it by pioneering, heavy tech-using, socially and environmentally conscious customers, i.e. young people.

WYSE Travel Confederation and UNWTO share the belief that there is great potential for governments and their economies to unlock the power of youth travel to significant mutual benefit. Whilst some have realized this opportunity, many could do more to factor youth travel into their long term tourism strategy. Following consultation at the World Youth and Student Travel Conference 2011 in Barcelona, we look forward to developing and publishing a set of specific recommendations to help governments, official tourism organisations and business leaders take the next step.