According to a recent global survey done by Contiki, including South African youth travellers between the ages of 18 and 35, travel definitely makes you a better citizen – locally and abroad.
The South African statistics revealed that 70% of travellers indicated that travelling has shaped their perspective on global politics and 41% said that they would run for public office. 49% of travellers voted in the last national election, compared to the 39% non-travellers and 55% of travellers voted in local elections, compared to the 36% non-travellers. 51% of travellers also indicated that they were patriotic.
Globally, 40% of travellers versus 31% non-travellers indicated that they participate in community activities. 21% of travellers, compared to 5% of non-travellers indicated that they have communicated with or written to their national government and finally 63% travellers versus 36% non-travellers said that travelling has shaped their perspective on global politics.
“While it might seem like a paradox, there are plenty of reasons for travel to have these kinds of effects on one’s sense of citizenship. The friendships you make over a 3am Gyros in Mykonos will be friendships that will stay with you for a lifetime, and the people you interact with and cultures you’re exposed to have a profound impact on your tolerance and understanding. Contiki’s unique social travel experience sets millennial travellers up to have better relationships with their friends, family and with their wider communities at home, through the skills they learn through their travel experiences.” – Kelly Jackson, General Manager for Contiki.
The survey results give strong evidence that experiencing new cultures and viewpoints through travel in turn enhances character attributes which prove a positive impact on citizenship, such as perspective, empathy and appreciation. Despite young people spending a greater amount of time away from their native countries when travelling, young people who travel do in fact gain a greater sense of citizenship than those who have not travelled internationally.
Also check out The Power of Travel
Contiki commissioned Story and Verse and Fan Data Analytics – two third party professional research and insight organisations – to conduct this research.
Story and Verse enlisted the expertise of Adam Ganlinsky, PhD, Columbia Business School, to advise in the form of an interview about the character attributes that change as a result of travel, as indicated by his own academic research. These include empathetic concern, perspective-taking, generalised trust, interracial connection, open-minded thinking, learning goal orientation and general self-efficacy.
Fan Data Analytics, using this insight, conducted a survey of a pool of 2,980 18-35 year olds from the United Kingdom (824), United States (514), Canada (513), Australia (520), South Africa (305) and New Zealand (303). The response pool was broken into equal groups of travellers and non-travellers, as defined below:
- Travellers: someone who has travelled outside of their home country
- Non-travellers: someone who has not travelled outside of their home country
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Fan Data Analytics.