Youth travel played an important part in this year’s event, with many talks and stands representing the market. A key theme that emerged was parent-free travel among Generation Z, who are becoming increasingly independent.
Ruf, a supervised travel group for children aged 11 to 23 years, promoted its new programs at ITB Berlin's Youth Travel pavilion. The established German company organises European, long distance and ski packages for teenagers to experience travel without the rules of parents or the structure of school trips. In 2018, Ruf will expand its portfolio to include cruise trips, allowing those of over 16 years to embark on cruises around the Mediterranean, Adria and Cuba. Typically associated with the much-older Baby Boomer generation, the cruise programs will be youth-focused, including pools with water slides, evening entertainment, trips to street food markets and dedicated party tours.
Youth and student travel organisation WYSE also addressed how young people are funding their travel experiences in a panel discussion. While youth travel has long been associated with privilege, in the US 75% of trips among young people are self-funded and parental funding is also on the decline in the UK.