Services Projects 30 Insights 49 Podcasts 17
Careers About
Services Projects 30 Insights 49 Podcasts 17 Careers About
UNWTO: The Impact of COVID-19 on Global Youth
Research & Intelligence
Trends analysis
strategic benchmarking
situation analysis
focus groups
Dramatic shifts in the climate, the economy, global politics and technology have made for a dramatic context for young people grow up in, even before the emergence of a once-in-a-century global pandemic. While the health effects of COVID-19 are less severe for young people, in the interests of tackling the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it has become absolutely vital to understand how the pandemic has affected young people’s lives in other ways from those in early childhood up to early adulthood.
The Challenge

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the UN’s leading agency for tourism development shares this concern, and during the past year, has turned to TOPOSOPHY for support in exploring these impacts, and the possible policy responses from a tourism standpoint.

Objective 01

Create a platform to share knowledge among institutions

Objective 02

Understand the impact of the COVID-19 on youth from a wide range of perspectives

Objective 03

Source actionable takeaways from successful international cases

Objective 04

Explore wider issues and concerns that young people face around the world, as well as their priorities and ambitions

Objective 05

Facilitate the engagement with young people and the mobilisation of inspiring young leaders

Objective 06

Provide actionable recommendations and set priorities to support young people more efficiently

Objective 07

Examine how to support young people throughout the recovery and beyond


The impact of COVID-19 on younger generations and how it shaped the outlook of young people, particularly in relation to their  personal and professional aspirations has critical implications for the global economy and society the years to come - and by extension the future development of global travel. After all, as Napoléon Bonaparte famously said “To understand the man, you have to know what was happening in the world when he was twenty.”

At TOPOSOPHY, we have always taken a close interest in the younger generations, with works of ours including a comprehensive Study on Generation Z Travellers for the European Travel Commission in 2020 and several blog posts and webinars exploring the differences between these generations.

While the pandemic’s impact on youth travel was of interest to our audience, we also felt it essential to build a more detailed picture of the ways in which it had affected young peoples’ lives beyond travel. For this reason, using diverse desk research resources from multiple sectors, we took a deep dive to explore its effects on young people’s education, career prospects, health and wellbeing, home life and consumer behaviour (in addition to taking a snapshot of the pandemic’s impacts on the leading youth travel products).


The first report involved thorough research and focused on Asia and Italy, aiming to highlight common practices from both parts of the world and provide guidelines to support young people. The second report followed a global perspective. Therefore, in addition to desk research, we used relevant primary research methods. In particular, we conducted an online survey of young people aged 10 to 26 covering a range of topics such as the impact of COVID-19 on respondents’ daily life, the global issues that are important to them, their perceptions of sustainability and tourism, and their future travel ambitions. Further research was conducted through two focus groups (totalling 20 participants from 17 countries), which allowed us to gather further insights about issues that matter to Gen Z, and key characteristics of their travel behaviour.

The primary research was complemented with an analysis of best practices in engaging with young people in effecting meaningful change in their local communities. Last but not least, we used these new insights and the guidelines of the first report to provide effective recommendations that will meet the needs of young people for a quick recovery.

Key element 01

Analysis of trends on five aspects of young people’s lives (education, career prospects, consumer behaviour, home life, health and well-being)

Key element 02

Exploratory survey on young people aged 10 to 26 which gathered more than 2,000 responses (for the second report)

Key element 03

Presentation and analysis of five, easily-replicated case studies about young people engagement (for the second report)

Key element 04

Two youth focus groups with a total of 20 people participating, from 17 countries (for the second report)

Key element 05

Actionable recommendations for policy interventions and initiatives launch on how to best support young people (both reports)

Key element 06

Training workshops to facilitate the first steps of the island’s new approach to destination management


After meticulous effort and collaboration, we are proud to present the key outcomes of our project:


The first report “The Impact of COVID-19 on Global Youth: Focus on Asia and Italy” has already been published by UNWTO and you can download at the end of this page.


In June 2022, TOPOSOPHY was invited to deliver a presentation with the main results of the research at the Global Youth Tourism Summit 2022, in Sorrento, Italy.

Want to know more?
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