Youth tourism is defined as a form of tourism that includes independent travellers that are aged between 15 and 29 years old. The youth tourism market is becoming more important, as it is growing every year. Youth travellers are in the first phase of their travelling careers, which means that trips they make during this period of time is likely to affect their future travel behaviour.
Sarawak has a variety of travel options that make it attractive to youth travellers. Youth related events such as the unique annual three-day Rainforest World Music Festival held in Kuching are a major attraction to them, alongside other music events. As many youth travellers place importance on the social aspects of travelling, meeting other people, learning and gaining knowledge on other cultures, means that Sarawak’s emphasis on community based tourism also benefits greatly from youth tourism.
Community based tourism enables the traveller to discover local habitats and wildlife, and celebrates and respects traditional cultures, rituals and wisdom. Youth tourists are likely to stay in inexpensive accommodations, making Sarawak’s large amount of homestays attractive to these tourists. In addition to a relatively inexpensive stay, tourists also get the opportunity to experience daily life among the local community.
Youth tourists are also likely to spend more money in the country they visit, as they only bring the essentials needed for the trip. Compared to previous generations, they also tend to travel more frequently and stay longer at destinations. Therefore, youth tourists will spend on local businesses and encourage them to grow.
With the emergence and rapid growth of the new technologies, young travellers tend to participate in travel and tourism activity more than older travellers through using social media. There is a large potential for Sarawak to benefit from further development of the youth tourism market.