Does SA have a strong appeal for Gen Z and Millennials according to travel trends

Does SA have a strong appeal for Gen Z and Millennials according to travel trends?

I recently read just a short introduction to a detailed study by Skift on Gen Z and Millennials’ travel habits and it made a few points on what most strongly appeals to these sectors of the population who so greatly influence travel trends and will do so even more so in the future. According to Varsha Arora, “Millennials and Gen Z are steering travel trends with a focus on technology, sustainability, and a quest for distinctive and meaningful experiences”.  So, I thought it would be prudent (and hopefully of interest to my readers) to look into these three key points and examine whether we in SA are competing internationally with their likes and dislikes and more importantly what drives them to choose one travel experience from another.


 According to the Skift article, “The survey indicates a shared interest in prioritising and seeking out tourism operators adhering to social and environmental standards, underlining a preference for sustainable travel practices among these generations”. I really like this trend and that Gen Z travellers in particular, who are our future and who will possibly be the saviours of the ecology of our planet, want to take advantage of eco-conscious travel options i.e. travelling domestically. When they do travel abroad they tend to make use of rail services between locations and use trams, buses, underground/metro’s, bikes, e-bikes or e-scooters to get around (as opposed to flying within regions and hiring cars). The sharing of bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters is all made available through app technologies. In fact figuring out the plethora of public transport solutions is all made available through apps which makes navigating our way through all of the options available to us far easier than ever before.  Even car companies and e-hailing businesses, not wanting to miss out, are including electric vehicles as part of the leasing options and you also have various car-sharing apps available in large cities (where you don’t run the risk of cars being stolen).

Domestically, our lack of infrastructure within cities has largely been mopped up by e-haling services which allow our Gen Z travellers easy access through our major cities. I think the challenge still remains though how Gen Z travellers are able to transit within our rural areas where many may not own vehicles or driver’s licenses because they have no need to own or have access to cars when living in the cities.

Technology – and rewards 

The article states that loyalty considerations are important to both generations who use loyalty points to reduce travel expenses, but Technology and work dynamics showcase a higher frequency of digital tools usage among Millennials, reflecting variations in reliance on these tools for travel planning and during travels. The data highlights a significant trend toward Bleisure travel, with more Millennials extending their recent business trips for leisure compared to Gen Z.

Domestically, whilst the article shows preferences for loyalty and reward programmes, I do believe that the redemption schemes within SA via our banking partners, wellness programmes via medical aids etc. in SA are still a strong seller of travel and are part of the benefits Gen Z travellers will evaluate when they make choices as to whom the partner with and how they reward the credits.

Meaningful experiences 

On this score, I believe that South Africa measures up to any standards in the world and that both generations find a great variety of rewarding experiences in this great country of ours. From a marketing perspective, however, I think it’s worth noting that the article mentions that those from the UK and Germany leaned towards more adventurous travel behaviour and were open to enjoying more vacation days, while half of U.S. Millennials, however, exhibited a penchant for domestic travel. Higher international travel rates were seen in the UK and Germany and this tells me that targeting our marketing more in their direction would simply make sense.

All in all, I do believe that, with some work on a few of the challenges we face as a country not quite as advanced in certain aspects, we definitely do have what it takes to have strong appeal for both these generations and travel and tourism in SA faces a bright future! 




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