Recent years have seen much emphasis placed on the millennial generation and their impact on travel. But the era for millennials has come and gone if the 2017 Virtuoso Luxe Report is to be believed. The Virtuoso study suggests instead that focus should now be placed on the iGeneration or Generation Z, as they are also known. Currently, in their teens, the iGeneration or Generation Z, is expected to comprise 40% of the consumer market by 2020.
Here’s a closer look at what can be expected from this generation and why Africa will be a top travel destination of choice for them:
Ahead of technology
For this generation, the focus will not be in developing travel technology to cater for their needs. Rather, this generation has it ready and on hand, and very much in a visual format. Statistics show that this generation watches twice as many videos on mobile than other generations. Travel companies should, therefore, start thinking of generating a lot of inspiring videos about exotic destinations.
But forget about posting just pretty pictures. For this generation, it is about the story behind the look. To grab their attention, make sure you have a story to tell and the pictures to prove it.
Gen Zs are well-travelled from an early age and are very much globally minded. For this reason, they are interested in offbeat destinations with exhilarating adventures. Their desire for personalised travel experiences, deeper cultural immersion, and Instagram-worthy design continues to drive popularity.
In South Africa alone, travellers can look forward the heading into Big Five territory or do the leap off the highest commercial bridge bungee jump in the world at Bloukrans Bungee. A truly unique experience is to snorkel with the endangered sea horses in Knysna. A bit bigger than the palm of your hand, these little brown creatures have survived for 40-million years, which makes for a truly unforgettable diving experience.
Keep in mind that this generation ultimately wants to be involved in planning their trips. They will be conservative spenders putting an emphasis on the value they get out of their travel experience.
The eight-second rule
Eight seconds is all you have to ‘capture this generation’. One experience will just not cut it for this generation, once they have processed one, they will immediately want to move on to the next. Zambia’s Lower Zambezi River is reached via a short drive south from the capital city Lusaka and a great place ‘iGenerationers’ to kick up and out.
There are several lodges near the towns of Chirindu and Chiawa and the area is great for bush camp excursions, hunting, fishing, and boat cruises, and very popular with visitors who want to try their hand at fishing for tiger fish or camp “in the bush”. Simply put, there’s a lot to experience within a short area and space of time.
Zambia is also a great destination in which travellers can immerse themselves. The iGeneration will love Zambia’s largest open-air market in the Kabulonga area of Lusaka on the last Sunday of every month. Here artisans from Zambia and neighbouring countries bring their arts and crafts to visitors. It is also one of the few places where you can find Zimbabwean soap stone sold next to Zambian copper plates. You can also taste a variety of ethnic dishes and buy produce.
When considering the needs of the iGeneration, think family. This generation will be seasoned travellers and will seek unique destinations. This can be attributed to the culture of multigenerational travel they have been exposed to growing up. Family-focused itineraries will be non-negotiable for them. They will look for a combination of action and adventure, but also an element of luxury.
Namibia has long been a favourite family holiday destination for many families. With its well-established and professional tourism industry, travellers to Namibia can be sure all the main hotspots will be covered hosting lots of family-friendly activities and an interactive approach to conservation.
Families interested in wildlife need look no further than the grass plains and woodlands of Etosha, Great game viewing is almost a guarantee. Adventurous families will also want to check out the attractions of rugged, remote Damaraland and see if they can track down the legendary desert elephants and endangered black rhino.
Alternatively, a Rovos Rail trip will hit the sweet spot for this generation. Being one of the world’s most luxurious trains its Pretoria to Victoria Falls route takes in gorgeous scenery from the elegance and grandeur of its spacious carriages.
While each generation has offered up some forward thinkers and those that want to create a better world for all. However, we are in for a treat as the iGeneration will all be about making a difference. For this generation, it will be about travel that makes an impact and influences the lives of others. Gap years, volunteering will be on their travel resume.
At Zavora Marine Lab in Mozambique will give travellers the opportunity to venture out into the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and engage in real-world research. Travellers will follow practical and theoretical training including basic marine biology, manta ray identification and photo identification, as well as several techniques of nudibranch surveys. With a minimum one-month stay there is also the opportunity to take Portuguese language courses and dive courses from open water to technical/rebreather CCR dive courses.
If the bush is where your heart lies, then Wildlife ACT in South Africa Zululand is just for you. The organisation runs endangered and priority species conservation projects focusing on Cheetah, African Wild Dog, Rhino, Lion, Elephant, Leopard and Vulture protection. Travellers can assist in a multitude of activities such as spotting target species, conduct radio telemetry tracking, data recording and counting animals amongst others.