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Entering the European Gen Y tourism market

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Takes 34 minutes to read

Generation Y (Gen Y, also known as millennials) always looks for unique and immersive experiences. They care about the environment and will look to minimise their impact on the destinations they visit, meaning they are more likely to choose an operator if it has a sustainability policy. Gen Y is inspired and motivated by word of mouth, social media and new technologies. They are big users of online travel agents (OTAs) to book travel experiences. There are many opportunities for local operators to sell inspirational adventures to this influential market.

1. What are the European requirements for Gen Y tourism products?

European tour operators must comply with various regulations to ensure that their clients are safe and financially protected. To do business with European partners, you must align your business processes with theirs, so you can meet their expectations. They will expect you to meet the conditions set out in their code of conduct and/or terms of business. Sustainability in all areas of tourism provision is essential for all European tourism suppliers, so you must embed sustainability in your business.

What are the mandatory and additional requirements that buyers have?

There are mandatory and additional requirements for Gen Y tourism services across the sector. They include:

  • The European Package Travel Directive
  • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • Liability insurance and insolvency protection

To find out more about these requirements, read the CBI study What are the requirements for tourism services in the European market?. This study will help you understand the legal, non-legal and common requirements that European tour operators must comply with. If you understand these requirements and can adapt your business accordingly, tour operators will be more likely to do business with you. It is important to European buyers that they can trust their suppliers to meet their and their customers’ needs.

What are the requirements for niche markets?

Gen Y likes authentic and unique experiences in exotic destinations. Millennials love adventure, nature and culture. They do most of their travel research and booking online and use social media to look for ideas and reviews. Sustainability is important to them, as they strive to minimise their impact on destinations and communities while making a positive contribution.

Create unique, authentic experiences

Instead of buying things, Gen Y would rather spend money on exciting experiences. Increasingly, they are putting off major purchases, like a new car or a house. This is particularly true now that Europe is in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis. But millennials still want to travel. They have a strong desire for unique and authentic travel experiences and are prepared to pay more for one-of-a-kind experiences in exotic destinations. They will look for adventures that are off the beaten track that can give them a truly immersive cultural experience.

Outdoor adventure activities and immersive guided tours have become more popular amongst Gen Y. This confirms that the adventure travel and fully independent traveller (FIT) segments are closely aligned with the Gen Y consumer group. Millennials looks for adventure, and many like to travel independently, making their own choices and decisions.

The types of experiences millennials enjoy are listed in the table below.

Table 1: Travel experiences enjoyed by Gen Y

Experience types


City breaks

Guided walking/cycling/Segway tours; guided sightseeing tours; lesser visited or unusual attractions; museums/galleries; nightlife; concerts/shows

Culinary experiences

Tasting trails; home hosting food experiences; visits to local markets; visits to wineries/distilleries; food festivals; visits to farms; harvesting/farming experiences; pescatourism (fishing)

Outdoor activities

Adventure activities such as trekking/hiking; mountain biking; 4x4 experiences; camel/horse riding; rafting; abseiling; safaris; surfing; volunteering trips; ziplining; canoeing/kayaking; SUP (stand-up paddleboarding)

Cultural activities

Visiting local villages/tribes; festivals; taking part in sporting events; learning activities (cooking, handicrafts); community-based tourism (CBT); homestays

Bleisure (business and leisure) activities

Wellness and spa; concerts and shows; culinary activities; sports

Source: Acorn Tourism Consulting


  • Create trips that offer physical adventure, culture and authenticity. Make sure you include lots of detail in tour headlines and descriptions to inspire Gen Y.
  • Conduct your tours in small groups or offer private tours. Millennials prefer smaller groups to add to the unique and personalised nature of a tour.
  • Use local guides who are able to communicate with your clients in their own language, and make sure they are paid a fair wage. Gen Y likes to know that they are making a positive impact on a destination.
  • Use a lot of images to give your Gen Y clients a good idea of the experience they can expect to enjoy. Make sure to include images of other young people enjoying themselves – Gen Y thrives on inspiration, and good pictures can help your products look more appealing.
  • Consult the CBI studies on entering the European market for adventure tourism and entering the European market for FIT tourism. Building your knowledge of other niches and markets will help you develop an understanding of the European consumer.

Have a strong online presence

Millennials are tech savvy and spend a lot of time online, usually on a laptop or mobile device (tablet or smartphone). They use the internet for all sorts of everyday needs, like managing their finances, shopping, doing research and buying travel experiences. As heavy users of social media, they can be found across all kinds of platforms, including Instagram, Facebook and X (formerly Twitter). Millennials highly value word of mouth when researching their holidays and trips online, and when it comes to making decisions.

Travel influencers and bloggers are a key research resource, and there are many examples, such as Pommie Travels, World of Wanderlust and Anna Everywhere. Many millennials will book and pay for trips and experiences online, and use social media to give their views and opinions about the services they get, both positive and negative.

To reach Gen Y, it is essential that you have a strong online presence, as they are unlikely to find you otherwise. This is why you should pay attention to your website to ensure that it matches their expectations. If you do not have a website, you should consider building one. There are good online website builders that you can use. Some are even free, but these are more limited. Examples include Wix, GoDaddy and Weebly.

You should also list your business on Google through Google My Business and make sure that it appears on Google Maps. That way, it will be more likely to appear as an option on Google’s Things to do when millennials search for activities in your area.

Assess your website to determine how effective it is:

  • You must have a strong website that features inspirational content and images to sell your trips. Before booking, millennials want to know if the experience will satisfy their need for adventure, authenticity and uniqueness.
  • Your website should be optimised for use on mobile (smartphones and tablets). Millennials often book experiences while they are out and about.
  • In your marketing, use words and phrases like ‘authentic’, ‘inspirational’, ‘off-the-beaten-track’, ‘unique’, ‘bucket-list adventure’ and ‘culturally immersive’ in order to convince millennials that you offer the type of experiences they enjoy.
  • Consider offering online booking. If this is not possible, make sure you have a ‘Contact us’ button so they can book directly with you. If you sell your tours through an OTA, direct bookings will go through their website.
  • Make sure your website links to your social media accounts. Have a social media plan in place that includes making regular posts. Produce content that is informative and relevant, and use a lot of images and videos.
  • Millennials value other people’s opinions, so you should openly encourage your customers to write reviews and post photos and videos on your website, which you can then share through your social media channels. You could consider offering them incentives to do so, such as discounts on future bookings.
  • Millennials live a 24/7 lifestyle and expect service providers to be available to answer questions and deal with issues promptly. You must be honest about what you can deliver so you meet their expectations. Read CBI’s tips for doing business with European tourism buyers to find out more.


Use influencer marketing campaigns to reach more millennials

Millennials value word of mouth very highly. Influencer marketing is a common form of word-of-mouth marketing, used across most social media platforms. Millennials trust personal recommendations far more than traditional advertising and follow influencers in many areas that interest them. More than 80% of millennials trust influencers, and they are 15% more likely to trust influencers than other consumer groups.

Figure 1: Millennials place a lot of trust in influencers

Millennials place a lot of trust in influencers

Source: GWI

Influencer marketing is widely used today by big brands, including travel brands. Businesses spend large portions of their marketing budgets on influencer marketing, and this is only set to increase. As a marketing tactic, influencer marketing can help you reach new markets more cheaply and successfully than traditional methods.

Figure 2: Millennials seek adventure and travel off the beaten track

Millennials seek adventure and travel off the beaten track

Source: Photo by Fabio Fistarol on Unsplash

You can also use influencers to make content for your website to help you create a more appealing online presence. Videos and blogs that can be used for a long time are known as ‘evergreen content’ and will improve your SEO (search engine optimisation).

An influencer marketing campaign can involve many different types of content, including blogs, videos, social media shoutouts and familiarisation (FAM) trips. Businesses can employ a full-service agency like Blogilicious or the Goat Agency to plan, manage and monitor their campaigns. Or you can find influencers and manage the process yourself.


  • Do some initial research on the social media platforms you use to learn more about your own followers. See if you have any influencers following you. You can also look for influencers you like and follow them.
  • To learn more about the different types of influencers, how they work and how to manage a campaign, read the CBI study How to work with influencers.

Operate your business based on sustainable principles

Climate change, reducing carbon emissions and sustainability are at the top of the environmental agenda today. Millennials are very aware of these issues and want to embed sustainability in all areas of their lives. When they travel, they want to make a positive contribution to the places they visit and have a minimal impact on the local environment. As a local tour operator, you should therefore ensure that sustainability plays a central role in your offer.

Millennials often choose to book trips with operators that have a policy in place to reduce their environmental impact and support local communities. If you are certified as a sustainable provider, for instance under the Travelife or TourCert scheme, this will be appealing to Gen Y.

If you cannot afford certification yet, there are still things you can do to make your tours more sustainable:

  • Use sustainable forms of transport, such as electric vehicles, bicycles and/or e-bikes, or public transport. See how Matriarch Africa uses electric vehicles for its game drives in Botswana.
  • Make sure your business supports local communities, either through community-based tourism or other community partnerships like skills development or education. Millennials want to have a positive impact on the places they visit. Loremi Tours in Uganda works closely with local communities – they train locals to be guides and pay them fair wages.
  • If you serve food, offer vegetarian and/or vegan options.
  • Partner with a local sustainable accommodation provider to offer a fully sustainable package.
  • Support a local carbon offsetting scheme to demonstrate your commitment to global net zero.
  • Ask for feedback from your guests and use their suggestions where suitable. To build trust amongst your target group, it is good to show an ongoing commitment to improvement.


2. What channels should you use to reach European millennials?

For solo travellers, small groups and Gen Y family groups, European tour operators and OTAs are the main sales channels (besides direct sales). Millennials’ budgets vary depending on their age and stage of life. Younger Gen Y travellers are more likely to be travelling on a budget, and the same is true for young families. Older millennials who do not have a family yet may have more disposable income to spend on a unique, immersive travel experience. They may also be more flexible about when they travel. This is an opportunity for tour operators to reach this market out of season and sell to clients who can afford to pay more for a unique experience.

How is the end-market segmented?

Millennials are a major consumer group born between 1980 and 1995 (aged 28-43 today). They can be segmented according to their stage of life, which influences the kinds of travel experiences they look for. More than three quarters of millennials have already joined the workforce, and since 2015 the number of millennials who have their own families has doubled. Millennials now have disposable income for travel, but how much they can spend depends on where they are in life. The Gen Y travel market is segmented as follows:

  • Solos, couples and small groups: are in full-time employment and many will be in the early stages of their career. Travel is important to this group and they are looking for unique and immersive experiences. They are prepared to pay more for an experience that is special or different. As an adventurous group, they are eager to try new experiences that they can share with their peers on social media. As they do not have families yet, they have the flexibility to travel at different times of the year. This makes it worthwhile for you to target Gen Y all year round.
  • Millennials with young families: are more likely to have less time and money to spend on holidays and trips, which affects their booking behaviour. Experiences with a learning element will appeal to this group.
  • Digital nomads: are defined as people who live away from home and work online in various locations for long periods, often weeks or months. It is estimated that almost two-thirds (61%) of digital nomads are aged between 20 and 39. Although the US has the largest number of digital nomads, the UK and Germany also have significant digital nomad populations. Digital nomads are keen to absorb local life and have immersive experiences. This is a valuable market for many developing destinations, which is why some countries offer special visas that make it possible to stay for extended periods. Examples include Indonesia, Colombia, Thailand and Mexico. Some countries also offer tax exemptions for digital nomads.

Table 2 below provides an overview of Gen Y’s spending power and flexibility of travel by segment.

Table 2: Travel characteristics of European millennials











Small groups


Young families




Digital nomads



Source: Acorn Tourism Consulting

The European Gen Y travel market encompasses a range of niche markets, including adventure, SAVE (scientific, academic, volunteer, education), FIT, sun and beach, nature tourism and ecotourism, community-based tourism (CBT) and culinary tourism. You can find out more about these European niche markets by consulting CBI’s tourism studies.


  • To find out more about Gen Y and their characteristics and motivations, read the CBI study The European market potential for millennial tourism.
  • Develop a range of experiences that appeal to millennial budget travellers looking for good value immersive experiences.
  • Build your offer to attract millennials who can travel in the low or shoulder seasons (between peak and low seasons). Gen Y are keen on unique experiences off the beaten track and away from other tourists.

Through what channels do Gen Y tourism products reach the end-market?

The way millennials book their trips and experiences is similar to the FIT market. They use a variety of websites and sources, relying heavily on word of mouth from friends, family, travel bloggers and travel influencers to help inform their decisions. Millennials book their travel experiences either directly or indirectly, as shown in the figure below.

Figure 3: How millennials book their trips

How millennials book their trips

Source: Acorn Tourism Consulting

Each of these sales channels is discussed below.

Direct sales: these are sales made through your website, over the phone or, if you have a high street presence, in your office. It is often cheaper to book directly with travel providers and accommodation providers, and millennial budget travellers often choose to do this.

Indirect sales (European tour operators): millennials who travel in small groups or couples may use tour operators to organise their trips, usually choosing those that offer adventure. They will look for a tour operator that offers unique and immersive experiences, as well as opportunities to bond and form friendships.

Many will use well established tour operators like Chamäleon Reisen (Germany), Explore (UK) and Carpe Diem Voyages (France).

There are a number of operators that specialise in Gen Y travel. Flash Pack is a UK-based operator that offers boutique group adventures for solo travellers in their 30s and 40s. WeRoad is a German operator that specialises in small group adventure trips for millennials. Travel Junkies is also based in Germany and specialises in travel for young people. Some operators target young people based on their travel style, like Intrepid 19-28 Adventures and G Adventure 18-to-Thirty Somethings (global). The Scandinavian operator Adventureno categorises its trips by age group: 18-24, 23-30 and 28-39.

Figure 4: How tour operator WeRoad targets Gen Y age groups

How tour operator WeRoad targets Gen Y age groups

Source: WeRoad

Indirect sales – OTAs: OTAs are the fastest growing sales channel for trips and experiences, and they are popular platforms amongst millennials. Booking online is quick and easy, which is very appealing to millennials. OTAs used by millennials to book trips and experiences include Tripadvisor and Viator (global), GetYourGuide (German), Musement (Italian), Withlocals (Dutch) and EatWith (US).


  • Make a longlist of OTAs that would be most suitable for your travel market. Use the Arival guide 45 OTAs for multi-day tours and custom trips and Tourism Tiger’s 95 Places to List Your Tours.
  • Do some internet research to find European tour operators that offer itineraries that are compatible with your tourism product. Develop detailed profiles for each tour operator to build your knowledge as you prepare to do business with the European market. In each profile, include what destinations and travel experiences they offer, markets they target, partnerships and relationships they have with other organisations, relevant contacts and any special requirements they might have. You should also know what their sustainability principles are so you can modify your own sustainability principles if necessary.
  • Contact your tourist board to see if they work directly with any inbound European tour operators. They may be able to help you approach the right person or department.

What is the most interesting channel for you?

All channels described above are interesting channels for you if you want to reach European millennials. To target millennials directly, you must have a great website and use your social media presence to drive traffic. To make indirect sales to millennials, European tour operators and OTAs are both interesting channels for you to focus on.

Figure 5: Flash Pack’s promises to its customers

Flash Pack’s promises to its customers

Source: Flash Pack

There are several CBI studies that can help you develop your business to meet the needs of Gen Y:


  • Include information specifically targeted at Gen Y on your website. Focus on things like immersive adventure, local travel, meeting local people and travelling with small groups of like-minded people. Make sure you include lots of inspirational images and videos too. Millennials want to be reassured that you understand their needs.

3. What competition will you face in the Gen Y market?

Developing countries all over the world have much to offer Gen Y travellers. This means that there are many competing markets, each of which uses careful, targeted marketing to promote immersive and exciting adventures. Read on for examples of some of the best developing destinations for Gen Y.

Which countries are you competing with?

Indonesia (Bali), Costa Rica, Morocco, Peru, Tanzania (including Zanzibar) and Thailand are amongst the world’s most popular destinations for Gen Y. What they all have in common is a wide range of immersive and exciting adventures, strong local cultures, and diverse and interesting landscapes.

Bali, Indonesia

The island of Bali is part of the Indonesian archipelago. It is a top destination for Gen Y, offering good value, cheap accommodation and beautiful, photogenic landscapes. There are plenty of adventure activities in Bali, but visitors can also enjoy wellness and spa retreats and visit historic temples and shrines. In the centre of the island, tranquil Ubud is surrounded by lush, tropical jungles, rice paddies and freshwater pools and waterfalls. It is known as the arts, culture, nature and adventure capital of the island.

Many tourism businesses in Bali have used influencers to attract the Gen Y market. The landscape provides ideal backdrops for great holiday photos, which millennials love to share with their peers. Bali is also a popular destination for Gen Y digital nomads. A special visa allows remote workers to stay in Bali tax-free for up to six months.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica was one of Latin America’s first countries to reopen to international tourism after the pandemic, and it quickly attracted large numbers of Gen Y visitors. Thanks to social media and influencers, the country is at the top of many travel wish lists. It offers a huge range of activities and experiences, including ziplining and canopy tours, kayaking, zodiac tours, cloud forest tours and much more.

Costa Rica is one of the world’s best-known adventure tourism and ecotourism destinations, and tourism is one of its largest exports. Located in one of the world’s biodiversity ‘hotspots’, there are more than 160 national parks and protected natural areas that account for 26% of the country’s landmass. Because of its strong sustainable tourism policies, Costa Rica is well positioned to attract environmentally conscious visitors, offering a range of immersive experiences in a sustainable, natural environment.


Morocco’s diverse culture, rich heritage and great mix of outdoor adventures in an extraordinary landscape featuring dramatic mountains, a long coastline and the world’s largest desert make it a great destination for Gen Y.

The North African country is easy to reach from European target countries, and there are a range of low-cost carriers that fly to several cities, including Marrakesh, Fez, Tangier and Agadir.

Figure 6: Camel safari in the Sahara Desert, Morocco

Camel safari in the Sahara Desert, Morocco

Source: Photo by Savvas Kalimeris on Unsplash

Morocco has recovered well from the pandemic and aims to attract 17.5 million visitors yearly by 2026, up from 11 million in 2022. The country is also becoming more popular amongst digital nomads, and the government has ambitious plans to invest US$580 million in tourism development to encourage growth.


Peru is a top destination for Gen Y. In 2018, the Commission for the Promotion of Peru for Exports and Tourism (PROMPERU) found that almost half of visitors to Peru were millennials. The largest group of visitors was drawn by the country’s adventure tourism – trekking and visiting Peru’s archaeological sites were the most popular activities.

The range of adventure activities in Peru is broad and appealing. Hiking the Inca Trail to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, visiting the cities of Cusco and Lima, trips into the Amazon rainforest and the cloud forest high up in the mountains all add to Peru’s appeal amongst millennials. Lima has a reputation as one of the world’s best culinary destinations, and there are numerous food experiences for all budgets.

Tanzania and Zanzibar

Tanzania and the island of Zanzibar are an excellent destination for millennials in search of adventure, nature and cultural activities. On the mainland, visitors can enjoy some of the best wildlife safaris in East Africa. Tanzania is home to the Great Migration of two million wildebeest from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara in Kenya. The island of Zanzibar has become a favourite destination amongst millennials for its pristine beaches and crystal seas. There is also a wide range of activities, including cycling, scuba diving, sailing, kitesurfing and snorkelling.

The historic capital of Stone Town showcases the island’s rich Islamic cultural heritage, providing a striking contrast to the Tanzanian mainland. Gen Y tourists are also drawn to the nightlife of the coastal resort of Paje. Zanzibar was named as the top African destination for 2023 by Travelers Worldwide Magazine. It is well served by international and domestic flights.


Thailand is a top destination for millennials, and the Thai tourist board actively promotes exciting activities to attract them. The article Why is Thailand considered the best destination for millennials? tells them exactly why they should visit – the climate, the wide range of accommodation options, the country’s rich history and culture, the great food, local markets, unique experiences and more. Chiang Mai is a popular destination for millennials, who are visiting the city in greater numbers than ever before. It is also popular amongst digital nomads. Chiang Mai is a good place from which to explore the north of the country, which is home to temples and hill tribes.

During the pandemic, Thailand targeted high-spending millennials from the Middle East through the ‘Amazing Thailand Millennial Roadmap Survey’. The campaign, which asked them to share their top destinations in Thailand, was designed to develop a targeted travel guide featuring destination hotspots and hidden gems. Other destinations that want to attract the Gen Y market could take inspiration from this.

Key takeaways:

  • Contact your national tourist board to see if it has any ongoing initiatives to attract millennials. If not, encourage them to target this market and find out how you can support them.
  • Write a blog on your website that is aimed specifically at the Gen Y market. Include all the things that will appeal to them, like exciting adventure activities, exotic and pristine landscapes, delicious food, historic culture, nightlife and festivals. Remember that millennials are keen on immersive experiences.

Familiarise yourself with the facilities for digital nomads in your destination. Find out if there are any special visas that have been developed for them. Millennials are enthusiastic digital nomads and you can target your products at them.

Which companies are you competing with?

There are many local tour operators in competing destinations that offer experiences that appeal to the Gen Y market. Their advertising is based around strong messages promising adventure, excitement and culture to their Gen Y clients.

Companies in Bali, Indonesia

Gorgeous Bali Tours offers adventure tours aimed at the adventurous Gen Y market. These include several quad bike tours, into the jungle, on the beach and through tunnels and waterfalls – exciting adventures for this market. The operator also offers whitewater rafting, cycling and trekking, as well as various packages. Besides snorkelling at a top destination, its snorkelling package includes a visit to the Monkey Bar, one of Bali’s most Instagrammable places.

The company’s tour pages also feature YouTube videos to cater for millennials, as they are particularly drawn to videos marketing exciting, interesting things.

Customer testimonials feature prominently on the website. These are supplied by the operator’s Tripadvisor and Facebook pages. Testimonials are important for millennials, as they trust word of mouth recommendations. The website has a comprehensive About Us page that gives travellers all the information they need, and more. Pages like these help create trust between customers and operators. The short list of characteristics in Figure 7 below gives customers a quick overview of useful facts about the company.

Figure 7: About Gorgeous Bali Tours

About Gorgeous Bali Tours

Source: About Gorgeous Bali Tours

ForeverVacation is a family-owned tour operator that wants its guests to be part of its family. It creates memorable and unique tours in Bali and its surrounding islands, tailored to millennials. Its Instagram tours are particularly aimed at the Gen Y market and are tagged as ‘best-selling’ and ‘popular’. Tours are conducted by English-speaking guides and the company also offers some all-inclusive trips. Reviews are featured on the website, which states that ForeverVacation has served more than 20,000 happy customers. If you can include information like this, it will help build your reputation.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica Jade Tours offers a range of tours in the Manuel Antonio National Park Area, a biodiverse region that attracts nature lovers, ecotourists and adventure seekers. Tours are varied and appeal to a wide audience, including Gen Y. There are canopy walks, waterfall tours, mangrove boat trips and night jungle tours. The guides are all fully trained nature guides, who are experts in their fields. The operator is a tourist board-certified nature guide.

Native’s Way Costa Rica has a professional-looking website with a strong slogan: Your Costa Rica Experience. A series of handwritten inspirational words like ‘extraordinary’, ‘adventurous’ and ‘life-changing’ appear above the slogan, against a backdrop of beautiful photos. Visitors are immediately inspired and encouraged to find out more. With the 2022 Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Award featured front and centre, this is an attractive and appealing website for millennials and other travellers.

Tours are grouped by destination and written content is directed at adventurous travellers, like millennials. For instance, ‘Experiences most raved about…’ refers to the most popular tours. The link to special offers and discounts on the homepage is a good call to action. To cater for different markets, the website is available in English, Spanish and French. There is also a video on the homepage, providing instant appeal. The operator could make its website even more effective by adding an About Us page to give users a more personal experience.


Morocco Global Adventures offers a range of day trips and multi-day excursions in Morocco. It aims to share Morocco’s unusual beauty with visitors by showing them the country’s extraordinary desert and mountain landscapes, traditional Berber homes and more. Links to partner organisations like Tripadvisor, Booking.com, Viator and the Moroccan Tourist Board are prominently featured on the website.

Each tour has its own page with a detailed itinerary, a map and information about what is included (and what is not included).

Figure 8: What is included and what is not included

What is included and what is not included

Source: Morocco Global Adventures

Soul Adventure Morocco is a family business, run by three brothers and their brother-in-law, who grew up in traditional Berber families. The operator clearly highlights its unique selling point (USP) on the homepage: Hospitality is in our hearts! This is very effective, as Berbers are well known for their extraordinary hospitality. The operator offers a range of day trips and longer tours from Marrakesh and Fez. It also offers overnight stays at the SaharaSkyCamp, a luxury camp in the desert where guests can enjoy fine dining. This appeals to Gen Y luxury travellers who like to add a bit of extra comfort to their trips.

The operator’s guides all speak several languages, including French, Spanish, English, Arabic and Berber. The website features well-written, up-to-date blogs, which is very good for SEO. Blog posts include reports of recent trips and full itineraries of published trips.


‘Making Unforgettable Trips’ is the sales pitch of the 100% Peruvian operator Willka Travel, which specialises in ‘unconventional’ tourism and adventure travel combined with cultural, educational and natural history. It offers all-terrain vehicle (ATV) tours, horse riding, rafting, flying, mountain biking and trekking. Based in Cusco, its most popular trips are prominently featured on its homepage and can be booked online. This appeals to the Gen Y market.

Wilka Travel’s website features videos and a large number of images, and it offers a lot of useful information for potential customers. Besides its Tripadvisor awards, the operator also spotlights a 2019 award from the OTA GetYourGuide. In addition, it lists websites it has been featured on, such as Lonely Planet, TripHobo and Roaming Nanny. All links open in a new tab, which is good practice as it does not take users away from the main website. The operator works sustainably and supports several projects in Andean communities. It also offers trips for people with disabilities.

Haku Tours is based in Lima and offers a range of personalised tours for travellers who want to explore Peruvian culture, cuisine and traditions. The operator says it is the first and only social and sustainable tour agency in Lima, which is a good thing to highlight. Haku Tours supports its not-for-profit sister organisation, Reciprocity NGO, which helps poor local communities. It is a recognised tour operator, licensed by the Peruvian tourist board.

The tours Haku offers are usually in small groups of six to seven people in order to provide the best quality. Top tours include the Lima’s Colors & Flavors Tour, the Pachacamac Inca Pyramids Tour and Ballestas Islands + Huacachina + Dune Buggy & Sandboarding. The operator uses a chat box feature on its website that encourages users to get in touch through WhatsApp or Messenger. Also note how it uses brightly coloured price tags to draw your eye to the cost of the tours, giving users a quick overview.

Tanzania and Zanzibar

Suricata Safaris offers safaris in various parks throughout Tanzania, including Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Lake Manyara. The operator also provides hiking trips to Mount Kilimanjaro and Oldoinyo Lengai, as well as trips to the island of Zanzibar. Its mission is to support local Tanzanians by providing employment opportunities and operating its tours sustainably, without harming the environment. An inspirational video is prominently featured on the company’s homepage, which is a great way to attract Gen Y customers.

Suricata Safaris is locally owned and managed. Its website explains that customers should choose Suricata Safaris if they want to learn about life in Tanzania, experience adventure and travel in the best quality safari vehicles. The operator lists its tours with Safaribookings and Tripadvisor, and it uses customer testimonials. Contact details are provided at the bottom of the homepage, including a WhatsApp number. WhatsApp is a good way to contact businesses overseas as internet calls are free.

Figure 9: Why choose Suricata Safaris?

Why choose Suricata Safaris?

Source: Suricata Safaris

Dusty Roads Adventures & Tours is a family-owned business that offers tailor-made outdoor and wildlife adventures in Tanzania. The company’s website offers lots of information for travellers, about tour guides and safari vehicles. It also provides detailed tips about travelling in Tanzania. Dusty Roads’ terms and conditions – which explain the company’s payment terms and cancellation policies – are available on its website as well. Wherever possible, you should include this type of information on your website.

Dusty Roads also sells its trips through Tripadvisor and Safaribookings. Its many favourable customer testimonials can be viewed on the website, which links to its Tripadvisor and Safaribookings pages as well. There are also links to the websites of Tanzania’s tourist board and Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.


Amazing Canoeing offers many boat trips around the islands of Koh Phi Phi, which is the famous island where the James Bond movie ‘Live and Let Die’ was filmed. The company uses this to advertise many of its trips. To appeal to Gen Y, there are lots of good images and videos on the website, which advertises adventure-based experiences in beautiful surroundings. The moving carousel of breathtaking photos of Koh Phi Phi is very effective and tempting.

Chiang Mai Local Tours provides both scheduled and private tours in northern Thailand. Themes include trekking, adventure, elephant tours, scooter and bike tours, and cultural tours. All guides are fully trained and certified by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). The operator’s About Us page offers a friendly, personal account of how the business owner became involved in the tourism industry and settled in Chiang Mai. Personal messages are important for European millennials, who seek immersive experiences.

Key takeaways:

  • Create an About Us page with lots of interesting information about yourself, your business and your guides. Millennials are very keen on immersive experiences and like to learn more about the people they will interact with, the history of your business, the communities they will be supporting and so on.
  • If you can, put videos that showcase the adventure in your tours on your website. This is especially appealing to Gen Y as this group often responds better to videos than photos.
  • If your business or your guides have any certificates, put them on your website. This tells your customers that you are experts in your field.
  • Include awards and testimonials. This will help you build your reputation.
  • Make sure you have some good calls to action on your website to encourage users to get in touch or make a booking. Consult the CBI study How to be a successful tourism company online? for tips on building or improving your website.
  • You should be very clear about what is included in your tours, and about what is not included.
  • Put your terms and conditions on your website. Make sure these include your payment terms and your cancellation policy.
  • Put a link to your Tripadvisor page on your website, and make sure it opens in a new tab. Ask your web developer or online website builder to help you do this properly. If you are listed with other OTAs, such as Safaribookings, TravelStride or Tourradar, include links to them as well.

What products are you competing with?

As millennials travel to enjoy lots of different experiences, most of your competitors will be in the adventure tourism market. Nature tourism, ecotourism, sun and beach tourism, and SAVE tourism are other competing markets. You should also consider CBT experiences as competing products, as they are often included with adventure tourism travel products.

There is so much choice for European travellers, and sustainability is a key feature of many adventure trips. This means that you will have to work hard to create USPs to differentiate your travel product from others in the market. To find out more about creating USPs, you can read CBI’s 10 tips for doing business with European tourism buyers.


  • Do a SWOT analysis to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that are relevant to your business. Once you have a clear idea of how your business is perceived, you will be able to apply what you have learned to improve your offer and attract more customers. Read What is a SWOT Analysis and How to Do It Right for more tips.
  • Do research to find out what other operators and providers offer in your area so you know what your competitors are doing. This will ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the market in your area.

4. What are the prices for Gen Y tourism products?

Prices for experiences and holidays aimed at the Gen Y market are varied. They depend on many factors, including time of year, duration, what is included and type of transportation. The table below provides an indication of the huge variation in prices (per person) in each of the competing destinations.

Table 3: Examples of experiences suitable for Gen Y, 2023




Price pp (€)

Camel Ride in Atlas Mountains and Three Valleys and Waterfalls


7 hours


Trip to Doi Inthanon National Park


9-10 hours


Rainbow Mountain Trek


12 hours


Lima’s Colours and Flavours


Half day


Night Jungle Tour in Rainmaker Park

Costa Rica

3 hours


Cultural Tour to the ‘Blue City’ of Chefchaouen


8 hours


Marlin del Rey Catamaran Cruise

Costa Rica

5 hours


Tree Top Canopy and Whitewater Rafting


10 hours


Secret Waterfall Tour


10 hours


Sea Cave Canoeing around James Bond Island with Buffet Lunch


9-10 hours


Desert Tour from Marrakech to Merzouga Dunes


3 days


Bali Instagram Tour: The Most Famous Spots


13 hours


Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park

Costa Rica

10 hours


Ballestas Islands, Huachacina and Dune Buggying and Sandboarding


Full day


Day Trip to Sinda Island with Snorkelling


Full day


Quad Bike Adventure and Elephant Mud Fun


7-8 hours


Zanzibar Spice Tour


6 hours


Guided Day Tour to Tarangire National Park


24 hours


Source: Acorn Tourism Consulting

Acorn Tourism Consulting Limited carried out this study on behalf of CBI.

Please review our market information disclaimer.

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Millennials are the largest group of travellers now, and they are currently at a very interesting stage as many of them have young families. This is driving a significant change in their travel needs. While they are retaining their established travel characteristics, like high attraction to activities and experiential travel, they now have to take the family dynamic into account. In this respect, millennial travel needs are seeing some convergence with those of Gen X and the Baby Boom generation.

Mike Ball

Mike Ball, Mike Ball Tourism Consultants