Youth tourism has been identified as one of the largest segments of global tourism, and is also seen as having considerable potential for future growth as student numbers rise and youth affluence increases (Buhalis and Costa, 2006). To cater for younger surf tourists, a number of companies now offer surf safaris, generally a charter bus which travels along a mainland coastline stopping at well-known surf breaks, with accommodation typically in backpackers and similar establishments.
As surfing becomes easier to learn, it seems likely that its popularity will continue to increase in future generations. In regards to marketing, specialist surf tour operators in the Indo-Pacific region for example, market principally through specialist surfing magazines, specialist surf travel agents, and directly via the internet. Some operate at only a single location, whereas others offer tours to a wide variety of different countries and destinations.
Some surf lodges and surf charter boats sell their products through many different agents, whereas others have exclusive agency agreements with particular agents in individual countries (Buckley, R. C 2000). According to Richards and Wilson (2003) growing travel participation by young people is being fuelled by a number of factors, including increased participation in higher education, falling levels of youth employment, and increased travel budgets through parental contribution, savings, and combining work and travel.
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The search for more exciting and unique experiences, combine with cheaper long-distance travel, has also pushed youth travel ever further towards the geographical margins of the travel industry. In 1995, the European Travel Commission published a study specifically dedicated to Europe’s youth travel market covering 26 countries. The study was commissioned in response to a perceived neglect of the market both by the travel industry and by government authorities.
It concluded that the 15 to 26 age group took around 80 million trips and made 100 million border crossings per year, representing a fifth of all international trips and around a quarter of all holiday travel (Horak and Weber, 2000). In a study of outbound travel of German, British and French young people, the WTO (2002) stated that outbound youth tourism accounted for 17% of all international trips in these markets in 2000, concluding that more and more young people are travelling abroad on holiday, to visit friends and to tudy, as well as for business (Richards and Wilson, 2003) In a study carried out by Tourism Australia (2008) “Tourism Australia defines the youth segment as males and females, aged between 18 and 30 years”. They stated that the youth segment have information at their fingertips such as the use of technology, they are innovators of new products and trends and accepting of change (www. tourism. australia. com Accessed 18/02/2011).
When resorts bring a large number of guests to a destination they become inverse factories, bringing customers to their product which has been pre-assembled and resourced for their enjoyment rather than shipping the product out to customers around the world. Saveriades (2000: 154) as citied in (Murphy 2008), notes in his survey of residents in Cypriot seaside resorts, that it has been widely accepted that there have been changes in the lifestyle, traditions, social behaviour, and moral standards, especially of the younger generation.
One of the reasons residents make such correlations is that tourism is highly visible (Murphy, 2008). According to Hinch and Highman (2004) water sports such as swimming, surfing, water skiing, and diving hold strong appeal for the youth market. In Peru, more than 20. 000 surfers are visiting the country every year, to enjoy the best waves of the country. Surf tourists to the area come mainly from Australia, USA and Brazil. There are a lot of surf schools and a young surfboard manufacturing industry and there is a connection between water-based sports, surfing and the youth market (www. urfertoday. com Accessed 22/03/2011). According to the UK Coast guide, surfing is a popular water sport which is growing in the UK at a rapid rate. It is estimated that there are now around 250,000 surfers in the country and the sport appeals to all ages and both sexes, not just the young but also the grey market. There has been a particular increase in female surfers, in recent years and there is a growing band of professional female surfers who compete in competitions worldwide (www. ukcoastguide. co. uk Accessed 22/03/2011).
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