Guided tours are making a comeback thanks to GenZ, survey says

Guided tours are making a major comeback, and younger travellers are driving this trend.

According to new data from leading travel booking platform GetYourGuide, nearly all (94%) leisure travellers who booked a guided tour in 2023 plan to do so again this year.

The demand for local expertise is also clear, with 89% of travellers believing that a local guide is the best way to explore a new destination.

Younger generations are at the forefront of this revival. Two in five of Millennial (42%) and Gen Z (40%) leisure travellers booked a guided tour in the past year, far outpacing Gen X and Boomers. This shift highlights a growing trend: today’s younger travellers value authentic experiences curated by knowledgeable locals.

“Each year, our research shows us how experiences have become more valuable for consumers. Younger generations are driving this trend and discovering that the best way to connect with and learn about the world is through authentic guided experiences,” said Madison Pietrowski, director of Brand US at GetYourGuide. “Our mission is to offer these one-of-a-kind experiences, from exclusive access to legendary landmarks to intimate cooking classes, in a way that is easy to discover and book online, helping forward a new era of guided experiences worth traveling for.”

Why are guided tours popular?

Guided tours offer an authentic and immersive way to explore new destinations. For more than two-thirds (69%) of leisure travelers, these tours provide a deep-dive into the history of a city or landmark. Other top reasons include the chance to explore local cuisine (40%), and the opportunity to meet locals (28%).

When it comes to visiting a new city, a third of travellers are into walking (34%) or bus or boat (27%) tours, and guided tours of a famous landmark (31%) or a museum (22%) are also on their must-do list.

International travelers who find themselves in unfamiliar lands are especially keen on guided tours. A majority (58%) of those who traveled internationally in the past year have booked a guided tour. They are also more likely to trust locals, as most (82%) want a local to show them around, compared to less than two-thirds (58%) of domestic travellers.

Younger travellers are not just expanding their horizons but looking to broaden their palates as well. Over half (53%) of leisure travellers are likely to schedule a food-focused guided tour, with numbers soaring among Gen Z (65%) and Millennials (63%).

When spending time with a stranger in a strange land, personality matters. Travellers want a tour guide who is knowledgeable (74%), trustworthy (64%), and friendly (52%). A sense of humour also ranks high, with close to a third (31%) hoping for a guide who can make them laugh.