Tourism leaders from across the globe have banded together in a bid to motivate more governments and businesses to utilise the youth market to boost international tourism development.
Signed at the World Youth and Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) this week, the San Diego Declaration aims to find alternatives for the US$185 billion travel industry by tapping into the emerging market of young people.
According to UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai, youth made up 20 percent of 990 million international tourists that travelled in 2011 and reflected a market that is both environmentally-aware and more likely to stay at a destination longer.
“As such, youth travel has emerged as one of the most promising paths towards a more responsible and sustainable tourism sector,” Mr Rifai said.
WYSE Travel Confederation director general Espen Falkenhaug concurred, adding that youth travel was driving “positive growth” in the industry as a whole.
“Research continues to show that young travellers contribute economic, cultural and social value to their chosen destination, as well as being enriched by the experience when they return home,” the director general said.
“Their unique experiences combine to make a huge difference in cultural understanding and our aim is to ensure that the San Diego Declaration will continue to advance these essential interactions.”
Up to 700 delegates attended WYSTC this year from more than 63 countries worldwide.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J