‘Generation Z’s interests in travelling strongly benefits their career,’ Mark Overmann, InterExchange, opened the floor on Friday of WYSTC 2019 to discuss the current state of youth mobility from all areas of the globe including, Australia, Latin America, United Kingdom and North America.
Australia is known for its great weather and stunning beaches, however there is so much more to the country, as explained by Jennifer Woodbridge of Alliance Abroad. There is great potential to brand Australia as a destination for career development and study, but with the introduction of the backpackers’ tax, travellers will not have access to the tax-free threshold that once made working holidays attractive, impacting local economies with a decrease in travellers. Collaboration is key in addressing these challenges: ‘Tourism Australia needs to work with its counterparts’ remarked Jennifer Woodbridge.
Rafael Zelmann, WATAR, raised many positives that youth travellers experience when visiting Latin America, however the perception of safety is a challenge. He spoke of the opportunity to rebrand Argentina as a safe working holiday destination for youth travellers, with a focus on exchanging cultural immersion for work experience. ‘Latin American countries are amazing… to immerse you need to know that it’s all about having an adventure’.
The issue of Brexit presents challenge; ‘the UK immigration charge is set to double to GBP 300, providing a potential financial barrier,’ commented Kate Howe of BUNAC. Freedom of movement will be restricted, making destinations within the EU more attractive. However, despite the uncertainty of Brexit, Kate Howe does see the positives: ‘BUNAC has not seen a decrease in travellers…we need to see the opportunities, stay positive, collaborate and ensure the UK remains the top youth mobility destination.’
‘The United States of America receives 330,000 visitors from youth mobility programmes’ remarks Ilir Zherka, Alliance for International Exchange, citing the work of good international agents who utilise the experiences of previous youth mobility programme participants to set customer expectations. Despite tighter immigration regulations, youth travellers are still travelling to the US to soak up the culture, history and employment opportunities offered.
Although each area has different challenges, the importance of collaboration and how each destination positions itself shined through the discussion.