The Research Of Youth Travel Preferences

Abstract

In recent years, regions with a tourist potential have been paying more and more attention to the needs for recreation and entertainment of young people, which is a consequence of the recognition of this group of consumers as one of the most promising, on the one hand, and poorly motivated by current tourism policy, on the other hand. This turn towards the intensification of youth tourism inevitably leads to the search for answers to questions related to young people's tourist preferences. The article uses a sociological survey and statistical analysis to identify the most significant tourist motives of young people. Following the segmentation of youth preferences by youth age groups, each youth group's contribution to the architectonics of the younger generation's value-motivational attitudes is established, which makes it possible to assess the preferences of young people better. The relationship between the theory of needs and tourist preferences of young people of different ages is considered. The authors found out that young people's interests do not coincide with understanding young people's needs in the tourism market.

Keywords:

Introduction

Youth tourism is an extremely complex interweaving of economic reality and socio-demographic policy with a unique psychological and value-orientational state of the subjects. Research of whatever nature itself related to young people is multidisciplinary (Agosto, 2019) and includes elements of psychological experiments, sociological surveys, anthropological and pedagogical approaches, in addition to cultural, gender, political and other developments in this area. Rather than a narrowing of the inquiry scope, the study of youth behavior in the tourism sector, on the contrary, expands them to the level of analyzing the regional capacity, marketing techniques and, most importantly, the interference of the youth values architecture and the emotional part of a tourist trip. On the one hand, youth contributes to the recovery of world tourism after disasters, such as the coronavirus epidemic (Jamal & Budke, 2020), on the other hand, it acts as a conduit for establishing interethnic socio-cultural understanding (Petkovic & Ignatovich, 2019), and on the third hand, tourism itself irreversibly transforms the worldview foundations of the younger generation (Botia et al., 2019). This obliges us to consider youth preferences in the tourism sector in the context of economic and socio-psychological components.

Youth tourism from the economic analysis perspective

Starting from 2013, youth travel is no longer considered as a niche tourism sector, it has begun to be equated with hidden energy, the outbursts of which can give impetus to the development of world tourism. If at the beginning of this decade, global revenues from youth tourism amounted to over $ 180 billion, and young people made about 200 million international trips a year (almost half of which were in Europe), by 2020, revenues increased to almost $ 400 billion, although the predicted figure was $ 300 billion (European tourism: recent developments and future challenges, 2019) . In Germany alone, there are over 600 million one-day trips per year for people aged from 3 to 26, with gross tourism sales of around € 30 billion (Day trips and overnight trips by children, adolescents and young adults in Saxony and their economic importance, 2015) . About 96% of young people take a day trip at least once a year. There is a reason young people in Germany are considered to be the most joyful target audience of the tourism business! Every fourth tourist in the world and every third hotel guest falls into the age category from 16 to 29 years old. The most income-generating activities in the youth tourism sector continue to be retail trade, the hotel sector, and the entertainment industry.

The economic value of youth tourism lies in the fact that this category of people spends 2/3 of their financial resources on travel, the average duration of their trips is much higher, and travel destinations are not limited to advertised tours. Openness to something new, lack of fears about terrorist threats and unsafe regions, as well as the use of innovative resources make young people the locomotive of sustainable economic development of world tourism.

Youth tourism from the socio-psychological analysis perspective

Traveling for young people is an integral part of their life, rather than a temporary escape from everyday life, as it is for the older generation. Therefore, it is important to consider young people not in terms of the transition period to an independent life, not only from the perspective of their future formation but with regard to studying them for who they are now, taking into account the specifics of the hierarchy of needs and the motivational field. Tourism for young people is an integral form of their self-development, a way to form ideological foundations and to establish a conceptual vision of the world.

It can be argued that the maximum mutual effect "economic development-self-development" will be achieved when the tourist needs of the individual are not only identified but ultimately correctly interpreted and recreated. The preferences of young people are extremely specific and inconstant, with a craving for the new and extraordinary, a desire to express themselves through their actions. Research into the preferences of young people has repeatedly yielded conflicting results since the youth motives are influenced by the external environment more than other consumer groups. The search for the most general motivational patterns should be associated with A. Maslow's hierarchy of needs and the young people categorization into groups

Problem Statement

Schwartz (1994) was one of the first to highlight the value orientations of people in tourism. He found that respondents identified 10 groups of values that influence the choice of a vacation destination or service offered. These include security, power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, self-direction, universalism, benevolence, tradition, conformity. Thanks to these values, the ecological beliefs of tourists or, conversely, selfish behavior on vacation, desire to spend time in a nightclub, or retire on the seaside were explained. For the first time, hedonistic values, which imply the enjoyment of relaxation without any other purpose, were identified.

Further research used this data as a stepping stone, highlighting new values ​​and using them to explain the motives of the younger generation. For example, Cavagnaro et al. (2018) grouped all the values using multivariate analysis ​​into four blocks: internal self-development, external self-development (communication), entertainment, escape from reality (relaxation). It was found that internal self-development dominated all other values, but many young people needed to strengthen their public image and be in the spotlight. Research has shown that tourism for young people can be both socially and individually significant.

This idea is supported by the motivational "push and pull" theory. Adapted by several studies for tourism (Pesonen et al., 2011), it suggests that young travelers either have an inner urge to travel under the influence of "push" factors, or choose a destination based on the proposed tour, reflecting the "pull" factors. The directions of tourism, in which the interference of these factors is fully disclosed with the use of factor analysis, were identified by Preko et al. (2019). In the first place, young people choose natural attractions, then historical and cultural, and then relaxation. Indeed, on the one hand, a landmark acts as a factor of attraction, but the inner desire to visit it, and then talk about it, is conditioned by the desire to gain an advantage in knowledge and experience, reflecting the "push" factor.

Natural attractions can be found at the top of the list of youth tourist interests in many studies (Heesup et al., 2017). This may be linked to the increased attention of young people to environmental problems. Younger people focus on education and learning (Yousaf et al., 2018).

The problem is that the starting point for each study in this area is different age boundaries of the youth group (Table 1 ).

Table 1 -
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Moreover, as indicated in Table 1 , most scientific works consider young people as a very large age group from 14-16 to 30-35 years old. The disadvantage of this approach is that the motivational attitudes and architectonics of people’s values of this age range do not remain the same and change (Birditt & Fingerman, 2003). Such changes are internal and external. Formation of personality is accompanied by increased emotional stability, mental well-being, acceptance of reality, which in turn leads to a decrease in the role of such motivators as following the majority, bragging, or stubbornness (Harris et al., 2016). These internal changes are transforming travel preferences from a desire to visit the New York nightclubs to an ecological festival in Berlin. And although all these values are common to young people, they are peculiar to completely different age groups. In the same way, values change as a consequence of marriage, the birth of a child, or the death of one of the relatives. On the territory of Europe, people get married on average at 28-30 years old, on the territory of Russia - at 26-27 years old. The first child is born to women in Russia at an average of 24-25 years old, in the United States - at 25-35 years old. In general, 25 years is a turning point, representing the transition from egocentric tourism to family tourism with a different set of values. Young parents are less likely to choose extreme or event tourism, preferring beach or educational tourism (Khoo-Lattimore et al., 2018). Therefore, the tendencies of modern international organizations to expand age limits reduce the degree of integration of the tourist offer and youth preferences.

The situation could arise when a tourist product aimed at the younger generation satisfies only a certain age category of young people. An example is a situation when several youth hostels in Europe organized a special playroom with video games and slot machines, which was preferred only by people who were mostly under 23 years old (Verissimo & Costa, 2018). People over 27 who have failed in equestrian tourism are extremely disappointed in this type of recreation, in contrast to the younger generation, which is practically not taken into account. As a result, tourism companies may suffer losses, and federal and regional tourism programs may not achieve the required efficiency.

Another problem is that the tourist motives of young people are invariably a consequence of their needs hierarchically presented by Maslow. Needs remain the core of the architectonics of people's value attitudes. Suffice to note that the choice of the tourism direction directly depends on the physiological state of a person, on the degree of need for self-realization, and his sense of security. Modern research ignores the role of needs in the analysis of youth travel preferences.

Research Questions

In view of the tendencies towards an increase in the age limits of young people and strong differences between the socio-psychological state of subjects within this group, the study should answer the question: "What is the difference between the tourist preferences of people within such an age group as" youth "?" Another research question is related to the need to emphasize the high role of the theory of needs in the tourism sociology and sounds like this: "What is the connection between the needs of young people and their tourist preferences?" The most general research question is intended to summarize the results: “What are the characteristics of the tourist preferences of young people?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to identify the tourist preferences of young people of different age groups by using a deterministic approach in relation to value-motivational architectonics and the hierarchy of needs.

Research Methods

The basic research method was a sociological survey. Tourists in the Russian cities of the Black Sea coast such as Sochi, Gelendzhik, and Anapa were given questionnaires to fill out in the 2019 summer season. The population universe included persons from 16 to 30 years old. The assignment of the "youth" category to this age group reflects the peculiarities of Russian youth and demographic policy, as well as the preferential system of private companies. We further will call this age group the main one. Then the category "youth" was divided into three closed interval equal groups: 16-20 years old; 21-25 years old; 26-30 years old. Further, we will refer to them as the first, second, and third age group, respectively. Using probability sampling, exactly 300 questionnaires were left in each group for further analysis. The structural elements of the questionnaire were represented by such questions as gender, age, marital status, financial situation, as well as an invitation to assess each of the 19 motivating factors on a 10-point scale. The motivating factors were divided into 4 categories according to the level of need (table 2 ).

Table 2 -
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Such methods as descriptive statistics, single-factor analysis of variance, correlation analysis were used during the analysis of the results, and conformance was tested using the Cronbach's alpha coefficient.

An expert method was applied. Twenty experts in the field of tourism and recreation were asked through the Internet to assess the same factors using the same system, but with the following question: "What do you think is the value of each motivator for young tourists?" The experts assessed the factors for four age groups: from 16 to 30 years old (young people in general) and 16-20 years old, 21-25 years old, 26-30 years old. The ranking method was used in the analysis of the results, and the conformance was tested using the concordance coefficient.

To combine the results and receive findings, confronting and comparing methods, analytical and synthesis chains, inductive and deductive techniques, as well as elements of modeling and abstraction were used.

The need to use mathematical formulas led to an appeal to formalization. Idealization is necessary when considering the youth group as an indivisible whole.

Findings

First, consider the demographic data of the respondents (Table 3 ).

Table 3 -
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The proportion of women who participated in the study is 58% versus 48% of men whereby the largest number of women are in the first and third age groups. 86% of young people in the third age group have at least one child, which is the highest rate. This group is the least free to choose a tourist product. On the other hand, the third group has the highest incomes in comparison with the rest, which allows meeting more tourist needs. The least financially secured group is the first one, 84% of its representatives receive less than $ 250 monthly, but the fact that they are not burdened with caring for a child in 80% of cases makes them more mobile.

Further, we review the survey results for the main age group of young tourists (Table 4 ).

Table 4 -
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a) simple average

b) sample variance

c) mode

The Cronbach alpha coefficient for the results obtained is 0.72, which is a sufficient condition for considering the data consistent and reliable. Based on the average numeric ratings, the first three motives for travel among young people are as follows: learning new things (X = 9.0), natural attractions (X = 8.81), and participation in various activities (X = 8.78). Further, historical sights (X = 8.75), the lifestyle of locals (X = 8.68), the realization of personal skills (X = 8.53), visiting relatives / friends (X = 8.44) and thrills (X = 8.28) are located nearby. The result broadly confirms research by other authors (Cavagnaro et al., 2018; Preko et al., 2019). Moreover, the experts ranked the importance of tourist motives for young people about the same with a high coefficient of concordance of 0.82, which reflects the strong agreement between them. The experts put learning new things first, then historical and natural relics, then attending events and relatives/friends.

However, the opinions of the respondents within the groups can either coincide or be different, as indicated by the dispersion. The motive for learning new things (D = 1.24) least of all caused different assessments among young people, as did participation in activities (D = 1.27). This means that young people of any age value these motives for themselves approximately equally. A much wider range of opinions is observed for such motives as natural (D = 2.38) and historical (D = 3.0) relics, thrills (D = 2.52), realization of personal skills (D = 2.8). A high score and at the same time a wide range of assessments indicate the need for intragroup research. We also note that the motive for learning new things contains the overwhelming number of maximum ratings "10". The same high mode is typical for the implementation of skills, natural relics, attending events, and the desire to find work. The motive “desire to find a job” turned out to be the most controversial. With the maximum mode (M = 10) and a high average estimate (X = 8.06), an extremely high variance was revealed (D = 4.98). This suggests that the respondents fell into two opposite categories: some hope that tourism will help in finding work, others do not link tourism and job search in any way.

Next, we present the results of the survey analysis in the context of the three identified groups (Table 5 ).

Table 5 -
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The Cronbach alpha coefficient for the results obtained is 0.81, and therefore it is possible to relate to these data with confidence. The first age group is primarily guided by such motives as learning something new (X = 9.80), realizing their skills (X = 9.63), getting thrills (X = 9.62) and the desire to find a job (X = 9.60). This is followed by participation in events (X = 8.91) and visiting relatives/friends (X = 8.63) by a significant margin. The findings confirm theoretical studies (Chuvatkin & Gorbatov, 2019). The experts identified the most important motives for the first group to participate in events, visit relatives/friends, and get thrills with a concordance coefficient of 0.63. This coefficient is rather low and shows a low consistency of the experts' answers. The experts' opinion differs from the results of the survey.

The second age group considers visiting natural attractions (X = 9.85), visiting historical sites (X = 9.66), acquaintance with the lifestyle of residents (X = 9.40) to be the most significant motives, and only then there is an implementation of skills (X = 9.26) and learning new things (X = 9.10). Note that getting a thrill (X = 8.95) is located next to visiting places of art (X = 8.91), despite the fact that experts put this motive in the top three. The expert assessment partially coincides with the results of the survey with a concordance coefficient of 0.73.

The third age group is motivated by acquaintance with the architecture of the area (X = 9.70), visiting historical (X = 9.48) and natural (X = 9.34) attractions, acquaintance with the way of life (X = 9.30) and only then visiting friends (X = 8.33) and activities (X = 8.35). According to experts, this age group should be more motivated by historical and natural relics along with thrills, which again only partially coincides with the results of the survey. The coefficient of concordance is 0.71.

It is necessary to note that none of the three age groups completely repeats each other's most significant motives. Moreover, some motives are assessed diametrically opposite. For example, when analyzing the results of the main youth group, the “thrill” motive turns out to have a sufficiently high average score X = 8.28. The first age group estimates it at X = 9.62, the second - at X = 8.95, and the third - at X = 6.27. The maximum preference falls on the first and partly the second age groups. Let us see what share of each of the three age groups contributes to the overall assessment of the main youth group (Table 6 ).

Table 6 -
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The most balanced tourist motivators, which satisfy different age groups approximately equally, are: participation in an event, visiting relatives/friends, learning new things. Only these values can be used as universal ones to apply to all young people in general. Values such as the need for rest, visiting historical and natural relics, visiting art objects, getting thrills, and others can be considered as moderately balanced. For example, the contribution of the first age group to the general youth preferences for thrill is 38.73%, while the third - 25.24%. It is obvious, which age group prefers extreme tourism more. Values such as relieving stress and tension, the need for a change of scenery, and religious feelings are completely unbalanced. In all cases, the third group stands as the overwhelming majority.Please replace this text with context of your paper.

Conclusion

The study made it possible to establish that each age group of young people has specific architectonics of the tourist value-orientation network. Moreover, it was found that it can be associated with A. Maslow's theory of needs. The age group of 16-20 years is more characterized by self-realization motives with a small addition of emotional and sensual motives when choosing a tourist destination. The group of 21-25 years old is characterized by developing motives with the strengthening of emotional and sensual ones. Moreover, for the oldest group, 26-30 years old, psycho-physiological motives come to the fore. The research results can be used by tourism firms to develop a cost-effective strategy or regional authorities to prepare tourism development programs.

It was found that the expert groups well understand and interpret the tourist motives of young people in general, but they are not always able to accurately recognize the similar motives of youth subgroups. This is due to the lack of research in youth tourism needs in the context of youth age groups and subgroups. This study examines only superficial patterns and pointed out the existing gaps in scientific practice. It can serve as a stepping stone for further research in this area.

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

16.04.2021

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2021.04.51

Online ISSN

2357-1330