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Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14042-14062; doi:10.3390/su71014042

Young Tourists and Sustainability. Profiles, Attitudes, and Implications for Destination Strategies

Department of Economics and Management, University of Trento, Via Inama 5, Trento 38122, Italy
Academic Editors: Gianna Moscardo and Marc A. Rosen
Received: 31 August 2015 / Accepted: 13 October 2015 / Published: 20 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecotourism and Sustainability Strategy)
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Abstract

Global trends highlight the growing tourist interest in authentic and sustainable holiday experiences. Designing strategies that enable destinations to catch this tourist segment is, therefore, becoming more and more important for competitiveness. A long-term outlook calls into question the “next generation” of actual and potential tourists, i.e., young people: understanding their attitude towards sustainability is paramount to drive tourism development in a direction which is coherent to the forthcoming demand. Drawing from an ad hoc survey of 1156 members of the largest Italian association of student and youth tourism, this contribution (a) discusses youth attitudes towards sustainability, their travel motivations and behavior (b) identifies different profiles of young tourists with reference to sustainability. By using characteristics and dimensions linked with “harder ecotourists” we identify hard path young tourists (HPYT) and soft path young tourists (SPYT). The findings confirm young people’s interest in certain dimensions of sustainability and the influence this interest has on their decision-making processes, motivations, and behaviors. HPYT and SPYT are profiles which should be considered in destination strategies: the strong sensitivity of HPYT to sustainability suggests the possibility of creating offers that optimize the unique features of a territory. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable tourism; destination strategy; young tourists; youth attitudes; youth behaviors; tourist profile; sustainability sustainable tourism; destination strategy; young tourists; youth attitudes; youth behaviors; tourist profile; sustainability
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Buffa, F. Young Tourists and Sustainability. Profiles, Attitudes, and Implications for Destination Strategies. Sustainability 2015, 7, 14042-14062.

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