Change as a travel benefit: Exploring the impact of travel experiences on Italian youth
This paper aims, firstly, at identifying the main dimensions of perceived change induced in young people by a travel experience and, secondly, at understanding which dimensions of the tourism experience have the greatest influence on this change. A survey was designed based on the contemporary literature and validated through a series of in-depth, semi-structured interviews with experts. Data were collected from a representative sample of 400 young Italian travellers. Principal Components Analysis (PCA) identified two dimensions of perceived personal change. The first dimension is linked to cultural knowledge and openness to other cultures, while the second relates to the introspective benefits that allow young travellers to enhance their self-understanding. By using logistic regression models, the influence of sociodemographic variables and the tourism experience on the two change dimensions were identified. This study confirms the potentiality of tourism to promote change in the young traveller. Moreover, in answering its first aim, it shows that change is a two-dimensional construct involving personal and interpersonal change. Regarding the second research aim, this study has contributed to a more solid distinction between meaning and motivation to travel. Results moreover show that meaning, motivation and satisfaction are the components of the travel experience that exercise a significant influence on the perceived change.
Keywords: youth tourism, millennial travel experience, personal and interpersonal change