What's influencing Gen Z when it comes to travel planning? Despite what you may have heard, it's not sustainability.
In fact, according to a new report from StudentUniverse, a Flight Centre Travel Group company, their impact on the environment is the least of their concerns, for both U.S. (17%) and Canadian (15%) student travelers (ages 18 to 25).
(StudentUniverse pulled out statistics specifically for the U.S. and Canada for Travel Market Report. On a global level -- 4,000 students across four countries -- only 15% cited their impact on the environment as a top concern when it comes to travel decisions.)
One 19-year-old respondent put it this way, "I'm big on climate but it gets to a point where every aspect of life involves something that badly affects the climate."
A 22-year-old respondent had this to say," I'm going to the Dominican Republic soon but it'll be the first time I've left Canada since the pandemic, so I'm not feeling any guilt. It's not like I'm a celebrity who takes their private jet everywhere all the time."
At the top of the list? Finances, with 79% of Canadian student respondents and 72% of U.S. student respondents saying their finances is a top concern when it comes to travel planning. Other concerns topping the environment are being a victim of a crime or scam, cancellations, trustworthiness of the booking company, injury or illness, being homesick or lonely, and mental health problems.
The numbers are slightly different when asked to what extent climate change has affected their desire to travel.
For U.S. travelers, 45% of respondents said it has little to no impact, while 53% of Canadian respondents said it has little to no impact.
On the flip side, only 15 of U.S. respondents and 9% of Canadian respondents said it has a large to very large impact.
Neither are Gen Z travelers overwhelmingly eager to pay for carbon offsets for their plane travel, with 25% of U.S. student travelers and 18% of Canadian student travelers saying they are likely or very likely to pay to offset their carbon footprint.