Tomas Haupt - Jun 24, 2024
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Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, significantly impacts our world. As digital natives, they are known for their creativity, adaptability, and constant pursuit of new experiences. Traveling is not just a leisure activity for them; it's an essential part of life.

According to Hilton's 2024 Trends Report, 72% of Gen Z are prepared to allocate more funds for travel this year. Their travel preferences encompass seeking unique photo opportunities, culinary adventures, and vibrant social scenes while being mindful of environmental and social issues. Gen Z's commitment to environmental and social issues is commendable. They are proud to be responsible travelers, making conscious choices that positively impact the places they visit.

City trips are the preferred form of vacation for approximately 44% of Gen Z travelers. These trips offer a blend of cultural exploration and lively entertainment, making them a popular choice. As a result, it's worthwhile to explore the most sought-after destinations for city trips.

Gen Z Travelers: Facts & Figures

A closer look at Gen Z's favorite leisure activities can provide insight into the critical components of a successful vacation. Experts compared over 70 destinations based on ten Gen Z-relevant categories, including the availability of shopping malls, vegetarian and vegan restaurants, TikTok hashtags, LGBTQIA+ friendliness, and public transport prices. The ranking lists the top 10 travel destinations in Europe for Gen Z travelers.

The TUI Gen Z City Index: Top 10 destinations in Europe

City                 Score

Amsterdam     77
Porto              76
Barcelona       74
Lisbon            73
Zurich            73
Athens           72
Basel             70
Lyon              69
Milan             69
Frankfurt       69

Gen Z Relies on Instagram and TikTok & Co.

As digital natives, Gen Z travelers naturally gravitate towards social networks. They use platforms like Instagram and TikTok for vacation inspiration, travel planning, and sharing photos and videos. A 2023 TUI survey found that 45% of Gen Zers use social media for trip ideas, with Instagram being the most popular (97%), followed by TikTok (48%). In comparison, only 19% of Gen Y (1981–1996) use TikTok for travel inspiration. This reliance on social media keeps Gen Z connected and informed about the latest travel trends and destinations, enriching their travel experiences.

TikTok is becoming a popular platform for showcasing travel destinations. London currently leads with 9.8 million hashtags, followed by Barcelona (8.5 million) and Paris (8.1 million).

The Most Popular Cities by Hashtag Popularity

(TikTok's top cities)

Veggie-to-Vegan Cuisine Is Trendy among Gen Z Travelers

For many young holidaymakers, discovering the country's cuisine is a top priority, and meat-free food is especially popular. Therefore, it's essential to have various plant-based options when planning a trip.

Some European cities are known for their vegetarian and vegan food scenes. The Swiss cities of Bern and Zurich have 106 and 101 restaurants, respectively, making them the top cities for vegetarian options. In third place is the Portuguese city of Porto, with 77 vegetarian and vegan food spots.

Europe's Top 10 Cities for Vegan & Vegetarian Travelers
(number of vegan & vegetarian restaurants per 100,000 inhabitants)

The Most LGBTQIA+-friendly Destinations in Europe

Gen Z represents variety and diversity. According to a 2023 Statista survey, 11% of this age group identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, placing them at the forefront compared to other generations in Germany. This is why many young people consider the openness and tolerance of their travel destination when planning their vacation.

For this reason, experts also assess whether LGBTQIA+ individuals can feel free and safe while staying in a particular city. The Spartacus Gay Travel Index serves as the basis for this assessment, taking into account not only the safety and legal situation for the LGBTQIA+ community on-site but also the needs of queer holidaymakers.

Good news for queer travelers: Several European countries share the top spot, including Lisbon, Valletta, and Madrid.

Where Are the Biggest Party Hotspots?

In 2023, a survey by IfD Allensbach found that around 69% of Gen Z individuals frequently or occasionally visited clubs and discos. This was about 42% for Generation Y and 23% for those aged 43 to 57.

Techno music is trendy among Gen Z, with over half liking techno and house music.

Top party destinations with vibrant nightlife include Porto and Lisbon, which have 126 and 97 techno clubs, respectively. Some popular techno clubs in Porto include Club Gare, Industria Club, and Plano B. In Lisbon, you can check out Lux Frágil, Ministerium Club, and Musicbox Lisboa. The Maltese capital, Valletta, also offers a lively nightlife scene with 85 discos, including Havana 808, Sky Club, and Club 22.

The 10 Techno Strongholds of Europe
(number of techno clubs)

Conclusion: Gen Z Is Full of Wanderlust

Generation Z loves traveling, especially city trips. Young people are passionate about discovering the world. They focus on culinary highlights, shopping trips, and parties. This cosmopolitan and digitally connected generation relies on social networks while on vacation for inspiration and to share their adventure experiences with their loved ones.

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