Youth seek travel with meaning and interest

Updated: May 10, 2024 By XING WEN China Daily Print
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The Alibaba-operated search engine Quark saw a 40 percent surge in travel-related searches during the first quarter of 2024, with 18- to 35-year-olds comprising 75 percent of the demographic.

Recently, it released a report on 2024 Youth Travel Trends, revealing that young people are not only interested in sightseeing during travels, but also prioritize travel experiences that involve exploration, deep immersion, emotional connection and spiritual fulfillment.

The data also shows that events like concerts, music festivals and comic conventions inspire impromptu travel among young people.

Alongside extended holidays, weekend getaways and off-peak trips are also gaining popularity. Friday to Sunday evenings stand out as peak times for searches related to "short trips" by young adults, with travel demand remaining high in the week following extended holidays.

Xiong Haifeng, an associate professor at the School of Cultural Industries Management at the Communication University of China, says that the convergence of entertainment like concerts, exhibitions, theater and sports events with tourism is becoming an important motivator for young travelers. This form of entertainment tourism, characterized by its focus on interest-driven, rich content, emotional appeal and quality service, represents the way young people increasingly travel.

"It has the potential to stimulate local economies and contribute to stable growth of local consumption by fostering a positive feedback loop," says Xiong.

Quark data reveals a continuing surge in popularity for concerts and music festivals during the first quarter of this year compared to previous years, with user searches for "concerts" and "music festivals" growing by 40 percent and 50 percent respectively year-on-year. Notably, young adults aged 18-30 constitute the majority of these searches, accounting for 65 percent.

Additionally, searches for "comic conventions" have seen a staggering 445 percent increase year-on-year, with young adults aged 18-24 comprising 79 percent of the searches. Searches related to "marathons" among users under 30 have risen by 182 percent year-on-year, with young adults aged 18-24 making up over 61 percent of the searches.

Huang Chuxin, deputy director of the school of journalism and communication at the University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, points out that this new trend in youth travel reflects changes in consumption and ideas.

"Young people now prioritize quality over quantity. Simultaneously, for many young individuals, consumption has evolved from a simple purchasing behavior to a means of self-expression, emotional communication, and personal value realization. During their travel experiences, they place greater emphasis on emotional connection and resonance," he says.

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