The study released a few days ago, “Good Travels: The Philanthropic Profile of the American Traveler”, considers the giving and volunteer habits of US travelers generally. Yet for those of us who engage and serve 18-34 year olds, as HI USA does through our hostels and our programs, here’s a verbatim conclusion worth shouting out:
“Millennials (18-34) are often derided as the “me” generation but they may in fact be the “generous generation”. Compared to older travelers, 18-34 year olds exhibit a keen desire to contribute to the destinations they visit, and their actions back up their words.”
When HI USA first signed on as a sponsor of the research, we had no idea we would be challenging generational labels or supporting what is now being called a “landmark study”. We simply wanted to enable ourselves and others to better understand how and why travelers generally decide to get involved with socially responsible activities and other good works. We also wanted to support Tourism Cares, an organization with a mighty purpose and a bright future.
Yet the findings speak for themselves:
- Millennials are far more generous with their time, money and in-kind donations than any other generation – 81% volunteered, 78% donated cash and 83% gave in kind while travelling during the last two years.
- On average, millennials gave two and a half times more hours, nearly three times more cash, and four and a half times more in-kind as compared over-55s.
- More than four in 10 millennials say charitable giving is extremely important to them, in stark contrast to over-35s.
- Travelers aged 18-34 were much more likely to have extensive interaction with local communities than older travelers.
Other study sponsors besides HI USA are American Express, Amadeus, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, Grand State University and the US Tour Operators Association. The research was conducted by Phocuswright, a leading travel and tourism market research firm.
HI USA’s hostel programs engage millennial interest and involvement on a daily basis. Our signature activities such as Great Hostel Give Back, IOU Respect and Sleep for Peace have become an outlet for them to embrace their philanthropic ideals. The study findings are a heartening and overdue confirmation of what we see in our hostels every day: millennials are global citizens and our next great generation of leaders.