One sign of the growing interest in student travel both from the tourism industry and academic researchers is the global independent travel survey conducted by the International Student Travel Confederation (ISTC) and the Association for Tourism and Leisure Education (ATLAS). The survey, conducted in 2002, covers the profile and travel behavior of 1630 students booking travel from student travel organizations in eight countries. This article reports the initial results of this research. The survey showed that students are frequent travel consumers with extensive previous experience of relatively long trips outside of their own world region. Most students see their travelstyle as that of ``traveler,'' but a significant proportion of the market characterized their travel as ``backpacking.'' Motivations reflecting a desire for experience are prevalent with student travelers, particularly in terms of exploring other cultures. Motivations tend to be differentiated by destination region and travelstyle and are distinct between students and other young travelers. In spite of these differences in motivation, however, the activities actually engaged in showed little differentiation between students and others. The most frequently mentioned activities were visiting historical sites, walking, sitting in cafés and restaurants, and shopping, which were practiced by over 70% of respondents. In this and other respects, the article argues that comparisons of motivation and actual activities indicate a gap between the ideology and practice of travel.
*Fundació Interarts (Interarts Foundation) and Rovira i Virgili University, Tarragona, Spain 2:
†Department of Geography and History, Rovira i Virgili University, Tarragona, Spain
Publication date: January 1, 2004
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Tourism Review International is a peer-reviewed journal that advances excellence in all fields of tourism research, promotes high-level tourism knowledge, and nourishes cultural awareness in all sectors of the tourism industry by integrating industry and academic perspectives. Its international and interdisciplinary nature ensures that the needs of those interested in tourism are served by documenting industry practices, discussing tourism management and planning issues, providing a forum for primary research and critical examinations of previous research, and by chronicling changing tourism patterns and trends at the local, regional and global scale.