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New Horizons is the biggest specialist travel survey worldwide, and the largest ever study of youth travel. The study is also unique because it has been running consistently since 2002, with four successive waves of data collection providing a comprehensive picture of a rapidly-growing and dynamic travel sector. New Horizons provides the only consistent review of trends in youth travel globally.
Over the years, New Horizons has tracked the evolution of youth travel, from a reliance on specialist travel agency offices to the growth of online travel, mobile internet, Online Travel Agents and the explosion of dedicated youth travel accommodation. The youth travellers themselves have also changed, with the traditional picture of the backpacker on a shoestring budget being augmented with the upmarket flashpacker and the globetrotting digital nomad.
How to use this report
As in previous reports, we provide a market overview, indicating how young people are motivated to travel, the ways in which they gather information, how they buy travel services, what they do in the destination, how much they spend, how they fund their travel, and what they get out of it.
In contrast to previous editions of the report, New Horizons IV is organised by thematic chapters; Digital nomads, generation
Z, OTAs, experiences, living like a local, festivals, and global mobility are some of the themes you will read more about in the full report. At the end of each chapter you will find key points on the theme and suggestions related to our findings.
Also included are profiles of four global youth travel destinations: Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Thailand. These profiles highlight some of the unique characteristics of youth travellers to these destinations and some of the best practices that have earned these countries good reputations as youth travel destinations.
Changes to New Horizons IV
The youth travel market is constantly changing and so has the New Horizons survey with each edition. Questions related to the changing nature of youth travel and emerging products and innovations are added to each iteration of the survey, and each edition of the report proposes new ideas about this fascinating population of travellers.
In this edition of New Horizons, a number
of new topics are reviewed, including what makes youth happy when they travel and
in which places they are happiest. Given
the rise of the flashpacker and the drive to consume experiences and share these via social media, New Horizons IV also asked travellers what experiences they were most likely to splurge on and what their opinions were of various global cities they visited. With debates about borders springing up
in various parts of the world, questions on visas were included. Digital nomads and their travel behaviour were also examined. New information on travel companions
was captured to shed light on this social dimension of travel for young people. Online Travel Agents and the sharing economy were also examined in more detail than in the past, given their growing importance in the youth travel market.
In spite of all these changes, however,
the basics of youth travel remain: young people travel to broaden their horizons, to experience things, to learn, and to meet new people. Travel is a form of personal and professional development for young people – a means to build the CV, learn new languages, gain new social contacts or build new work skills. Much of youth travel is therefore ‘purposeful travel’ and not (just) a holiday.
Image | A global study of the youth and student traveller
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