The international student travel market: Travelstyle, motivations, and activities

Richards G., Wilson J.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

One sign of the growing interest in student travel both from the tourism industry and academic researchers is the global independent travel survey conducted by the International Student Travel Confederation (ISTC) and the Association for Tourism and Leisure Education (ATLAS). The survey, conducted in 2002, covers the profile and travel behavior of 1630 students booking travel from student travel organizations in eight countries. This article reports the initial results of this research. The survey showed that students are frequent travel consumers with extensive previous experience of relatively long trips outside of their own world region. Most students see their travelstyle as that of ``traveler,'' but a significant proportion of the market characterized their travel as ``backpacking.'' Motivations reflecting a desire for experience are prevalent with student travelers, particularly in terms of exploring other cultures. Motivations tend to be differentiated by destination region and travelstyle and are distinct between students and other young travelers. In spite of these differences in motivation, however, the activities actually engaged in showed little differentiation between students and others. The most frequently mentioned activities were visiting historical sites, walking, sitting in cafés and restaurants, and shopping, which were practiced by over 70% of respondents. In this and other respects, the article argues that comparisons of motivation and actual activities indicate a gap between the ideology and practice of travel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-67
JournalTourism Review International
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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