Millennials, Generation Z and the Future of Tourism

This month we are publishing Millennials, Generation Z and the Future of Tourism by Fabio Corbisiero, Salvatore Monaco and Elisabetta Ruspini. In this post the authors explain how studying the attitudes, motivations and behaviours of younger tourists can help to identify future trends in tourism.

The famous quote “Savoir pour prévoir et prévoir pour pouvoir” (To know in order to predict, and thus to act) formulated by Auguste Comte during one of his university lectures, fully describes the future-oriented character of sociology, which, since its origins, has been conceived as a discipline aimed at both the study of society and social change. Sharing the idea that foresight is a useful analytical tool to anticipate the society of the future, the book Millennials, Generation Z and the Future of Tourism focuses on the study of tourism and its possible developments as a social phenomenon in the short to medium-long term.

In the book, the exploration of possible and probable futures uses a particular lens: the generational one. In order to forecast the future of tourism demand and facilitate its meeting with supply, the chapters in the book start from the characteristics and needs of the new generations (Millennials, Generation Z and Generation Alpha). Young people are the main actors of social change: they are perfect trendsetters because they link both past, present and future and outline social trends. Thus, studying attitudes, motivations and behaviours of younger tourists is a useful starting point in understanding new travel processes and practices, unprecedented trends in tourism preferences and consumption, new dynamics and meanings attributed to travel.

Beyond the territorial and cultural specificities, some common values and choices that can help the identification of future tourism trends emerge from the analysis.

First, digital technologies have profoundly influenced the travel behaviour of younger tourists: Millennials and members of Gen Z are using new technologies not only to organize and communicate their travel experiences but also to disengage from a mass use of tourist activities and promote sustainable tourism practices. Second, the tourist gaze of future travellers appears to be increasingly attentive to sustainability, authenticity, respect for territories’ material and intangible resource. A third aspect concerns the openness of the new generations to changing gender identities and sexual orientations: they show stronger support for gender egalitarianism and are much more likely to be allies of LGBTQ+ communities than generations before them. The book also focuses on forms of social exclusion in the tourism sector (gender inequalities and discriminations linked to sexual orientation) and tries to understand how the new generations are facing these challenges.

The book brings a new theoretical paradigm to the study of tourism and its future development, emphasising the contribution of the younger generation to the renewal of tourism and its revival after the pandemic. As extensively discussed, tourism has shown itself to be changeable and resilient, even in the face of crises and downtime periods. The post-Covid recovery of tourism flows is a clear example of how tourism never stops, but always finds new and original ways to meet the social need to travel. The same has happened in the past, for example in response to natural disasters or in the face of the scourge of terrorism. Tourism has always renewed itself over time, experimenting with new and novel ways of moving and travelling, and the younger generations play a crucial role in this process of change.

For more information about this book, please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Gamification for Tourism edited by Feifei Xu and Dimitrios Buhalis.

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