Age-based travel market getting fudged

Published on : Saturday, November 2, 2013

What should be the age-limit or a proper definition for the youth travel market? Twenty-five? Thirty? Forty? Or when you finally concede defeat?

A recent study on youth travel has come up with an interesting finding: the age-range of those who consider themselves part of the “youth market” has gotten bigger. The World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation’s New Horizons III study found a “greater variety of demographics and age categories now seeing themselves as youth travellers and consuming the products and services traditionally associated with the sector”.
The organisation concludes the study indicates youth travel has become a state of mind rather than an age bracket.

It is probably as much to do with personal choice as it is with age, but there must come a point where we’re kidding ourselves. When we think we’re young and hip – but have to get out our reading glasses to check the map?

Perhaps what we’re really talking about is the global boom in adventure travel, which is certainly more about a state of mind than age.

A study by The George Washington University and the Adventure Travel Trade Association in the United States found the adventure travel segment has grown by 65 per cent per year since 2009, which makes it one of the fastest growing industries in the world.
The study estimated the global adventure travel sector is now worth $US263 billion per year, not including money spent on air fares. This jumps to $US345 billion if you factor in all the gear and clothing that we buy for our travel adventures, because buying the gear is half the fun.

The study found there has been a big increase in the percentage of travellers who can be classified as adventure travellers, combined with an increase in the amount spent per trip.
A big reason behind the growth of the adventure travel sector over the past decade has been the growth of soft adventure options, including volunteer-related travel.

Tour operators such as Intrepid Travel and G Adventures have developed a large range of “comfort” trips that offer adventure without hardship and there are now

The Adventure Travel Trade Association deems a trip to be adventure travel if it involves at least two of three elements: a connection with nature, interaction with culture and a physical activity.

In other words, adventure does not have to mean abseiling off a cliff.

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