Regenerative Tourism & the Importance of Younger Travellers

We've been looking at regenerative tourism - what does it mean for target markets and who is the ideal regenerative tourist?
Inspiration Seekers
Inspiration Seekers

It is great to see UK destinations making a paradigm shift toward regenerative tourism, emphasising not just sustainability but also the active restoration and enhancement of local ecosystems and communities.

But what does this mean for target markets and who is the ideal regenerative tourist?

To really move forward destinations will need to attract visitors who are not only mindful of their environmental impact and willing to make choices in accordance with those values, but also willing to engage in activities that contribute positively to the destination’s regenerative goals.  These might range from small scale immersive and educational experiences to local cultural, conservation and community projects and events.

Could younger markets be worth considering here?  We think so.

Our recent Project 18-40 segmentation research which we undertook with our partners 56 Degree Insight reveals that younger travellers, those aged 18-40, are highly concerned about climate change, with 74% seeing it as a major issue. While their thirst for memorable experiences and their mantra of  “seeing the world whilst young” means they aren’t completely abandoning international air travel in favour of domestic breaks, there is a positive picture for UK destinations.

More than half of them believe UK destinations are great for short breaks, and almost three-quarters believe there is more to discover in the UK than they might think. And Gen Z and Millennial travellers increasingly recognise the mental health and wellbeing benefits of tourism breaks; positive news for immersive and nature-based destinations and experiences.

Our research identified two segments in particular, together representing 28% of UK based 18–40-year-olds, which we think are worthy of attention for destinations with a regenerative focus.

Ethical Trailblazers: Ethical Trailblazers seek sustainable and authentic experiences that allow them to make a positive impact on the environment and local communities. Holidays and short breaks are very important to them, and they are active UK break takers, enjoying a variety of destinations and activities from outdoor pursuits to city breaks with friends.   Many are young, aged 18-20 but most are working full-time, and they prioritise spending on experiences that align with their ethical values and offer adventure and experiences which stand out from the crowd.

Inspiration Seekers: Inspiration Seekers value cultural experiences and intellectual growth and are actively looking for travel opportunities that enrich their lives and connect them with nature. Usually in their mid-20s, this group includes young professionals and early-career individuals. They believe UK breaks can be as good as overseas trips and are open to learning about history, visiting events, outdoor activities, time in nature – breaks which inspire them with a blend of adventure, education, and relaxation.

Find out more.

Our research unearthed a wealth of in-depth information on these segments which can help in developing products and messaging that resonate with them and help to bridge the often-talked-about intention-action gap.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to attract these segments or want to know more about Project 18-40, do get in touch.

We’d love to chat about how we might support you to make a positive impact on the future of regenerative tourism in the UK.