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Travel Motivation For Young Tourists

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Tourism
Wordcount: 1798 words Published: 15th May 2017

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Tourism is one of the industries that are significant to the global economy last few decades. Yet, the changing of the travel trend recently leads to the economic growth. The changes are cause by the youth travelling frequency and the travel periods. They tend to travel more frequently and for longer periods, thus these groups of people become an increasingly important segment of the global tourism industry.

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Richards and Wilson (2003) indicate that, “Youth and student travel has been an important cornerstone of the international travel market for over 50 years it is only the recent explosive growth of the international students’ population that has thrust this market into the spotlight”. From the World Tourism Organization (WTO) report as cited in Taiyab (2005), international trips taken by young travelers grew from 14.6% in 1980 to 20% in 2001, and reach 25% in 2005. According to the Federation of International Youth Travel Organizations reports as cited in Kim, Jogaratnam and Noh (2006), from the 140 million of international tourist arrivals per year, 20 percent of them are the young tourists.

Youth Travel Market

The WTO defines that the ‘young’ travelers are between 16 to 25 years old who take a trip involving at least one night’s stay. However, Canada expanded the definition to include young adults of between 26 to 30 years old (Taiyab, 2005).

Taiyab (2005) indicates that youth travel markets are being categorized into 2 independent youth travel and youth group travel. There are different characteristics, motivations and product requirement among these 2 groups to fulfill or suit their needs and wants.

Independent youth travel also known as independent youth travelers, free independent youth travelers, foreign independent travelers or backpackers. They usually travel to a place either in a small informal group or alone. Most of them are internet savvy, they will search the information for that particular travel destination via internet, so that the pre-trip planning can be well arranged. The distance of the travel destination normally will be very far away from their home and it takes a longer period because they want to gain experience, increase their knowledge and explore different cultures at different environments. Besides, they tend to be price sensitive for travelling expenses including the food, accommodation and etc.

While for the youth travel group, it is formed by a group of 6 young people or more that are travelling together. This category is divided into 2 groups which are the school-based youth group travel and non-school-based youth group travel. Generally, school-based youth group travel is related to the curriculum or co-curricular activities such as school societies, music performance, sport competition, educational tours, cultural exchange trips and so forth. Those activities are carried out in a group structure and accompanied by teachers or school personnel. In the other hand, non-school-based youth group travel is also in a group structure, it may occurred in smaller groups, but the activities are organized by the societies outside of the school such as sports team, church group, cultural or musical performance troupe, Scouts or Girl Guides, youth club and more. The group will be led by parents or other adults.

Literature Review of Travel Motivation

2.1 Motivation

Gnoth, 1997 (as cited in Yoon and Uysal, 2005) defined that motivation is an internal and external motives. An internal motive is connected with drives, feelings, and instincts while external motive involves mental representations such as knowledge or beliefs. Motivation is the driving force behind all aspects of human behavior (Fodness, 1994, as cited in Petersen, 2009). Motivation is the fundamental for the development of tourism, it could not exist without any interest or the need to travel (Murphy, 1985, as cited in Bonera, n.d.).

2.2 Travel Motivation

Travel motivations defined “as the global integrating network of biological and cultural forces which gives value and direction to travel choices, behavior and experience” (Pearce, Morrison & Rutledge, 1998 as cited by Banerjea, n.d.). According to Crompton & McKay, 1997, as cited in Petersen, 2009, travel motivation can be understood as a dynamic process of internal psychological factors which create an unbalanced equilibrium in the individual, and this is what brings the person to travel. Tourism motivation is a multi-motive dimensional (Zhang and Marcusen, 2007). When choosing a certain destination, people will often have more than one motive to visit the place. For example, a person may choose Pangkor Island with a motive of relaxation in a pleasant safe place combined with visiting a local historical heritage.

The Theory of Travel Motivation

Maslow’s Hierarchy Theory

According to Maslow (1943) as cited in Banerjea (n.d) there are five needs to form a hierarchy based on Maslow’s Hierarchy Theory, progressing from the lower to the higher needs. The lower needs are physiological, safety, belonging and love. Self-esteem and self-actualization would be the higher needs. Maslow stated that if the lower needs are fulfilled, the individual would be motivated by needs and proceeds to the next level of the hierarchy. For example, a person would not travel to the country that is infected by H1N1, he or she will only visit the particular destination whenever it is safe.

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Four Motivational Needs

Beard and Ragheb (1983) as cited in Banerjea (n.d) stated four motivational needs as derived from the work of Maslow (1970) which are the intellectual component, the social component, the competency-mastery component, and the stimulus-avoidance component. Intellectual component assesses the extent of individuals involve in leisure activities such as learning, exploring, discovering, thought or imagining. The social component assesses the extent of individuals engage in leisure activities for social reasons such as the need for friendship and interpersonal relationships and the need for the esteem of others. The competence-mastery component assesses the extent of individuals engage in leisure activities in order to achieve, master, challenge and compete. The stimulus-avoidance component of leisure motivation assesses the drive to escape and get away from over-stimulating life situations such as the need for some individuals to avoid social contacts, to seek solitude and calm conditions and others.

Factors that Motivated Young Tourist to Travel

Pull and Push Model

Dann (1977) as cited in Bonera (2008) proposed a two level scheme of factors that motivate young tourists in the travel decision making process: push and pull factors. Young tourists are motivated to travel because of the pull and pushed factors. The idea of the push-pull model is the decomposition of a young tourist’s choice of destination into two forces (Bansal and Eiselt, 2004). The internal or psychological forces “pushed” young tourists to make travel decision while the external forces of the destination attributes “pulled” young tourists to travel to that particular place (Crompton, 1979; Dann, 1977; Uysal & Jurowski, 1994 as cited in Yoon and Uysal, 2005). The pull motivations are more connected to emotional aspects whereas push motivations are related to cognitive aspects (Yoon and Uysal, 2005). ”Push” factors are intangible factors that pushes a tourist away from home, while ”pull” factors are tangible characteristics pulling tourists towards the destination (Andreu, Bigne´, & Cooper, 2000, as cited in Jonsson and Devonish, 2008). Push factors are intrinsic desires of the young tourist such as the desire for escape, rest and relaxation, adventure, health, or prestige while pull factors are related to the attractiveness of a given destination such as beaches, accommodation and recreational facilities, and cultural and historical resources (Uysal and Jurowski 1994 as cited in Chi and Sung, 2008).

Reasons of Young Tourist Travel

Young tourists have their very own reasons to travel, which the reasons can be internally or externally (McGhee, Loker-Murphy, & Uysal, 1996 as cited in Yoon and Uysal, 2005).

The young tourist will go for traveling because of push motivations such as the desire for escape (e.g. getting away from school or job, escape from responsibilities, reduce stress, being away from demands at home, get a chance to be free, being physically or emotionally refreshed, experience a simpler lifestyle and etc), rest and relaxation (e.g. doing nothing at all, getting a change from a busy work, to relax, to enjoy good weather and etc), health and fitness (e.g. get close to nature, engage in sports, view sport events and etc), adventure and social interaction (e.g. being daring and adventuresome, finding thrills, meeting new friends and local people, rediscovering oneself and etc) , family togetherness (e.g. visiting friends and relatives, being together as a family, visiting places where family came from and etc), and excitement(e.g. being physically active, finding excitements and etc).

The pull motivations that affected the young tourists are sun and beaches (e.g. warm and sunny weather, sea and beaches and etc), natural environment (e.g. rivers/lakes/streams, snow or mountains, beautiful scenery and landscapes, quiet rest area and etc), time and cost (e.g. travel time, good value for the cost, easy accessibility, convenient transportation, availability of information about a destination and etc), cultural and historical resources (e.g. educational opportunities, learning something new or increasing knowledge, experiencing a new culture or new life-style or new destination or exotic food and etc).


In a nutshell, young tourists are gaining markets in the tourism industry. Tourism industry is become more important to great benefits to the society and enhances economies of each country. It helps to develop the country with the infrastructure development, inflow of foreign currency, increases job opportunities and others. On top of that, the government will focus on the panning, management and evaluation of tourism industry development. Travel becomes more important and indispensable among young people in their live as it can satisfy young people needs and wants. In addition, individual development can be achieved via certain enchantments of the travel such as improving their knowledge, understand the other countries’ cultural and heritage.


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