Hotels.com revealed the results of a new survey which shows that, in the course of a generation, the number of countries visited by an Irish under-16 year old has doubled. The survey was conducted by Hotels.com through Rollercoaster.ie, Ireland’s leading website for parents.
While a child today will have visited an average of six different countries by the age of 16, their parents had visited an average of three countries by the same age – a 100% increase in travel in just one generation.
While the rise in popularity of European city and beach breaks has contributed to children from Ireland venturing overseas, today’s under-16s are also heading further afield. The Hotels.com research showed that 24% of children have been to America by their sixteenth birthday, whilst 5% have been to destinations in Asia and Australia. According to the research, almost every child in Ireland (98%) has made a trip to a European destination by the time they reach 16.
Alison Couper, Director of Communications at Hotels.com, said: “Irish children today are better travelled than ever with almost every under-16 year old experiencing countries abroad according to our research.
“While a generation ago, one-in-four Irish people hadn’t ventured overseas by 16, now the same percentage of today’s youngsters have been to an average of eight countries by the time they reach their sixteenth birthday, which is a huge turnaround between parents and their own children.”
Parents’ desire for their children to experience a range of countries and cultures early is the driver behind their offspring’s travels. 86% of parents who responded to the Hotels.com survey said that experiencing different countries and cultures is important for their child’s education. Learning another language was cited as a key reason for taking children overseas by over half of the parents surveyed (51%).
Carol Buckley, Editor of Rollercoaster.ie commented: “It comes as no surprise to me that children of this generation are experiencing the world at a much faster pace than their parents ever could by the same age. Access to affordable travel over the last decade in particular has enabled families to reach destinations which would have been a rarity in their parents’ time. It’s also encouraging to see that parents appreciate the cultural benefits to their children of visiting foreign countries.”
The research found that parents consider their children seeing the world as so important that 79% of those surveyed let the decision on where to holiday be influenced by where the youngsters in the family would like to go.
Alison Couper concluded: “This survey shows that Irish parents are very keen for their child to experience travel and open their minds to new cultures and destinations. Our research suggests that despite cut backs in other areas, people see their family holiday as an important way of spending time together.”