When we say we want sustainable tourism to be the norm in tourism, we are essentially saying we want the youth to tell us and show us how, through creativity and innovation. But ‘we’ are not listening to ourselves. So we often don’t think about youth when we are talking sustainable tourism. Apart from a few lessons in classrooms, mostly delivered in ways that prepare students to pass exams as opposed to stirring critical thinking, youth are locked out of other spaces and platforms where tourism is discussed.
How can we ignore such a largest segment of the traveling population when it comes to defining and designing the future of tourism? Youth need to be empowered with knowledge on tourism trends and challenges so they can contribute to the transformation of tourism through critical thinking. They need safe spaces to innovate.
How do these spaces look like and how would they work? The change makers program by Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda, is designed to create safe spaces for youth to engage and be creative and innovative. Currently the safe spaces are provided through monthly inter-university seminars on which discuss topical issues in tourism while seeking student / youth voices. It has internships and travel opportunities for students to access sustainability and a field course. The program is planning to set up the first tourism innovation hubs in universities to expand the spaces