Defination Youth Tourism in Malaysia

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YOUTH TOURISM CONFERENCE:
“Perspectives and Prospects”
Palm Garden Hotel, Putrajaya, MALAYSIA
Wednesday, 3 May 2005
KEYNOTE ADDRESS

“THE ROLE AND IMPORTANCE OF YOUTH TOURISM IN THE MALAYSIAN TOURISM INDUSTRY”

MR. MIRZA MOHAMMAD TAIYAB
Deputy Director General I, Tourism Malaysia

Distinguished Participants,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am indeed honoured and privileged to be present here this morning amongst so many distinguished delegates of the Youth Tourism Conference: Perspectives and Prospects. First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Tourism Malaysia (KL, Putrajaya and Selangor), the Tourism Planning Research Group, UTM and the Tourism Research Circle, USM for hosting and organising this conference, and for having graciously invited me to present a keynote paper entitled “The Role and Importance of Youth Tourism in the Malaysian Tourism Industry”. I would also like to thank the International Youth Hostel Federation and the Malaysian Tourist Guides’ Council for their contribution towards organising this important conference.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Youth tourism is not a new phenomenon given that young people have always travelled around the world with their families, friends, in groups, or on their own for centuries. However, the notion of modern youth travel originated after the Second World War, which was strongly influenced by the creation of youth movements to campaign for peaceful ideals and cultural exchanges. According to the World Tourism Organisation (WTO), international trips taken by young travellers grew from 14.6% in 1980 to 20% in 2001, and had been projected to reach 25% by 2005. As a matter of fact, youth travel is believed to be the fastest growing travel market segment, surpassing even ecotourism and cultural tourism.

THE ROLE AND IMPORTANCE OF YOUTH TOURISM IN THE MALAYSIAN TOURISM INDUSTRY

MR. MIRZA MOHAMMAD TAIYAB
Despite its long history, there is no widely accepted definition of the youth travel market segment. The WTO defines the ‘young’ tourism market as travellers between 16 to 25 years old, who take a trip involving at least one night’s stay. However, countries such as Canada have expanded this definition to include young adults of between 26 to 30 years old. Meanwhile, the Student and Youth Travel Association of North America (SYTA) has also expanded WTO’s definition of youths to include those under 16 years of age. The youth travel market segment can be divided into two categories; namely group travel and independent travel, and it is important for us

to understand the characteristics, motivations and

expectations of both groups.

Group travel is commonly defined as a group of six (6) or more people that are travelling together. This category can be further subdivided into school-based youth travel and nonschool-based youth group travel. School-based youth travel is driven by curriculum-related activities or co-curricular activities such as school societies or team sports. Essentially, the travel activities are generally undertaken as a group, and accompanied by teachers or other adults. In Malaysia, The Ministry of Education has been handling school-based youth travel for the past 15 years, in the form of educational tours/cultural exchange trips, mainly involving schools from Japan. Between 2001 to 2004, close to 10, 000 Japanese school children and teachers have visited Malaysia on such trips (Table 1).

Table 1: Japanese School Children Participating in
Educational Tours to Malaysia
Year
Number of visitor
2001
1527
2002
3723
2003
2241
2004
1720
Total
9211
Source: Ministry of Education Malaysia, 2005

Percent (%)
16.6
40.4
24.3
18.7
100.00

Increase (%)
+143
- 39.8
-23.2

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The homestay programme is another tourism product that is becoming more and more appealing to youth travellers. In 1997, there were only 286 houses participating officially in this programme throughout...
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