While millennials previously held court as the leading force in the travel industry, global luxury travel network Virtuoso says Gen Z is the new influencer in tourism, driving travel decisions in their family with an interest in unconventional locales and thrills.
Consisting of young people born late in the 1990s to 2010s, this generation holds considerable sway over their families’ travel decisions, according to 88 per cent of Virtuoso advisors polled. By 2020, this generation will account for 40 per cent of all consumers with disposable income to travel.
Gen Zs are well-travelled from an early age and globally minded, and thus interested in offbeat destinations with exhilarating adventures like diving the Great Barrier Reef and kayaking among icebergs in Greenland, says Virtuoso.
Listing the top 10 unconventional family destinations this summer, Virtuoso reveals that trips of two weeks or longer are seeing increasing demand, with families travelling more to far-flung Asian countries such as India, Vietnam and Japan.
The polar regions of Iceland, Antarctica and the Arctic lead the pack due to the threat of climate change, while Africa and the Galapagos Islands snag top spots as experiences involving wildlife conservation remain top-of-mind.
The strong American dollar, combined with the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, has also triggered a renewed interest in visiting the country.
Cultural immersion remains one of the leading travel trends, driving families to Cuba before the country loses its historic charm.
Meanwhile, the desire for personalised travel experiences, deeper cultural immersion, and Instagram-worthy design continues to drive the popularity of boutique hotels. Gen Z has been hyper-connected to the Internet since birth and places great emphasis on visual storytelling. Sharing one-of-a kind travel moments with friends on social media is today's postcard.
The hottest destinations this year for Gen Z travellers and their families, Virtuoso reveals, are Italy, Mexico, Hawaii, Orlando (Florida), England, Costa Rica, South Africa, Turks and Caicos, the Dominican Republic and Australia.