Recent research by youth travel operator Contiki (www.contiki.com) has revealed that the most desired travel experience for 18-35 year olds in Canada for 2017 is to bathe in Iceland's famous Blue Lagoon. The survey polled over 5,000* young people around the world (over 1,000 in Canada) in the development of 'The No Regrets List' (https://www.contiki.com/ca/en/no-regrets-travel-list/), revealing the top 20 bucket list experiences in 2017.
While creating the list, the brand also wanted to understand the motivators behind why Canadian millennials travel, and what type of experiences they want out of life. To learn about new cultures was far and beyond the strongest motivator, however 75.5% of Canadian respondents indicated that social experiences were the most valuable, ahead of cultural, culinary, intellectual, adrenaline and spiritual. The research also dissected views among the millennial group's two age groups, Gen Y (those born from 1980-1995) and their younger cousins Gen Z (those born after 1995). One of the surprising findings that came from the survey revealed that almost a third of Canadian Gen Z would rather travel after finishing high school than go straight to post secondary education (AKA taking a 'gap year'). This figure differs considerably from that of Gen Y (21<), a fifth of whom claimed the same. This willingness to push back the inevitabilities of adulthood and spend time learning about the world and themselves is indicative of Gen Z's more relaxed approach to progressing through life.
Relating back to destinations, top experiences varied greatly by region, indicating that Gen Y and Gen Z were searching for unique experiences that would create lasting memories, regardless of whether these were in Paris or Peru.
THE TOP 5 TRAVEL EXPERIENCES AS VOTED BY CANADIANS
1 – Bathe in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland
Those landscapes and THAT awe inspiring natural light show – Iceland reigned supreme on Contiki's 'The No Regrets List' and specifically, the dreamy Blue Lagoon. Silica, Algae and Minerals are all active materials in the lagoon making it a killer natural skin regime, whilst the water temperature hovers around a balmy 37-40 degrees. And if you think the idea of bathing with 50 other people at one time is a bit gross, don't – the water is self-cleansing, renewing itself every 40 hours. It's interesting to note that Iceland has a cold oceanic climate, with average year-round temperatures hovering at the freezing mark of 0°C. One would assume that a warmer and sunnier destination would top the list for winter-wary Canadians. However, thanks to word of mouth and the island nation's push in tourism awareness over the past few years, it's no wonder why the land of fire and ice topped the list.
2 – See the Great Pyramids of Giza
One of the most magnificent wonders on the planet, the Great Pyramids of Giza define bucket list goals. Built over 5,000 years ago, the oldest and largest of the pyramids is the Great Pyramid, the only surviving structure of the seven ancient wonders of the world. Nestled on the west bank of the Nile and on the fringes of the expansive Sahara Desert, jump on board a camel and go capture yourself the ULTIMATE selfie…
3 – Walk the Great Wall of China
Move over all other walls of the world because you will NEVER beat the greatest (and longest) of them all – the Great Wall of China. Weighing in at a staggering 21,196 kilometres long and with over 2,300 years under its belt, the Great Wall is the world's most awe inspiring feat of ancient defensive architecture, built by multiple dynasties to protect different territorial borders. The phrase 'they don't make them like they used to' springs to mind…
4 – Chill out on the beach in Byron Bay
Golden expanses of sand, chilled back hippy vibes and hands down some of the best food in Oz – THIS is Byron Bay. All those dreams you've been harbouring of running away and living the surf bum lifestyle? This is the place to do it. Spend your morning kayaking the mangroves and dolphin spotting, cycle on over to Tallows beach for secluded beach hangs, then end the day watching the sun set from the vantage point of the lighthouse. Travel goals? You betcha. It's no surprise why Australia was among the top five regions young Canadians wanted to visit in 2017.
5 – Learn how to make pizza in Italy
Pizza and Italy – two words that have been synonymous with each other since, well, forever. Get to grips with the country's most famous export (sorry pasta, you're a close second) with a hands-on cookery lesson, taught by the experts themselves – the locals. Learn to knead your dough just the right way, dollop on the perfect tomato sauce, and season with all the cheese and basil you can dream of. Margherita mamma mia!
The No Regrets List also revealed the top five regions that young Canadians plan to visit in 2017 when asked, "Where do you want to vacation to in 2017?" – the findings are as follows:
- Great Britain and Ireland
- Western Europe
While the first three regions received similar favourability with Gen Y and Z, it's interesting to note the difference between both groups for the last two. There was a six-percentage point difference for Australia with Gen Z favouring the "down under" more; and an eight-percentage gap for Japan with again, more Gen Z wanting to visit this exotic region. Among the top regions favourited by Gen Y, North America, Great Britainand Ireland and Western Europe topped the list; whereas for Gen Z, North America, Australia and Japan made the cut.
The key takeaway from the The No Regrets List research was that for young people, whether Gen Y or Z: experiences rein supreme and the importance of experiences self-identified as a defining trait of young people today. While Gen Z is set to dwarf Gen Y in terms of size and spending power, it's good news for anyone in the "experience" industry.