Recognizing the Power of Youth Travel

President Obama’s mid-January announcement of a major new focus on travel and tourism has ignited some impressive activity, both within government and among  stakeholders. And youth travel is bound to benefit, if HI-USA’s efforts are successful.

With the President’s announcement, key government agencies and working groups have just 90 days to develop initial recommendations for a national strategy to spur domestic and international travel and tourism. From all accounts, the precious time is being used wisely, starting with reaching out to travel stakeholders and inviting their input.

On February 23rd, HI-USA shared its views on the emerging initiative with the US Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, a working group charged with developing policy recommendations. Our message: youth travelers, ages 18-30, are important envoys for intercultural exchange and their travels pack an economic punch.

Here are the arguments we shared on behalf of our core audience:

•  Youth travel is a large and growing travel segment, with the current 190 million trips per year worldwide expected to grow by more than 50% by the year 2020.

•  Youth travelers receive a lifetime benefit from their travel experiences.

•  Youth travelers spend more than other travelers, mainly because their trips are longer.

•  Youth travelers benefit local economies, because they usually travel independently instead of on organized tours.

Then yesterday, HI-USA submitted A Youth Travel Agenda for America, in response to an invitation for policy ideas. The 15-point action agenda describes how the Federal government, working with states, local communities and travel-related organizations, can increase the opportunities for foreign youth to visit the United States, and for young Americans to travel abroad.

In the 45 days since the President’s announcement, momentum is building towards a promising new national travel and tourism strategy. And HI-USA is working hard to see the interests of the youth travel community are well represented. I’ll keep you posted as progress continues to unfold.

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