Youth Travel statistics – some fast facts

Peter McVeigh in Nepal, 2011

Peter McVeigh, a 19 y/o who is an exception rather than the rule, taking a 6 month walk across the Great Himalaya Trail in Nepal which he raised over $30,000 to be part of

The World Youth & Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) will be held in Sydney, Australia in 2013. It’s a big deal, with youth travel operators from across the world converging on the harbour city to talk all things youth travel.

Why? Check out these fast facts below, taken from the WYSTC website, and it will become very obvious.

The Youth Travel Industry

WYSE Travel Confederation’s studies* show that 16-29 year old travellers contribute significant social and economic benefits to the communities they visit. Our ongoing investment in research shapes the international policies and services that make international travel exciting, accessible and affordable for students and adventure seekers eager to get off the beaten track.

The youth travel industry represents:

Millions on the Move

Young travellers represent one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry accounting for 20% of all international arrivals, generating an estimated 160 million visitors and a global market worth US$173 billion a year.

Not Just a Budget Market

Backpackers and gap year students stay longer and spend more than average tourists. Our studies show that the average spent is US$2,600 during a 53-day trip (of which US$1,150 is spent within the destination itself).

Travel With Purpose

70% of 16-29 year old travellers seek out a mix of meaningful travel ambitions such as studying, learning a language, working and volunteering abroad (which helps broaden their skill set) and increasing awareness of diverse cultures.

Global Trend-Setters

Always eager to explore new destinations and get off the beaten path, young independent travellers are the trend-setters of the global travel industry. They are a resilient market, undeterred by economic crisis, terrorism and natural disasters.


New research from WYSE Travel Confederation came out in the summer 2012; executive summaries of our current youth travel research reports can be downloaded here. Members can access full copies of these reports by contacting WYSE Travel Confederation.

* Source: Youth Travel Matters ©2008

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