Climate change is one of the biggest threats to the nature of human society and there is the global necessity to adapt and mitigate to reduce the inevitable anthropogenic impacts. The tourism industry is growing at a rapid pace and it is evident that tourism is not often associated with causing negative environmental impacts, when in fact tourism is a significant contributor. Research concludes that there is a growing awareness and concern towards the environment, however there is a lack of collective action from citizens, governments and companies. The overall aim of this study is to investigate the travel and tourism behaviours of generation Z in response to climate change and find out whether they are willing to change their behaviour and shift towards a more sustainable way of life.
Behaviour is an extremely complex concept and there are multiple factors involved in determining sustainable behavioural actions. This study aims to explore the attitudes of individuals towards climate change and how their attitudes reflect their behaviour. To do this, a theoretical framework called the SHIFT framework was used to develop questions in a questionnaire-based survey, distributed to 168 respondents. A small sample of individuals within generation Z volunteered to take part in short semi-structured interviews which aimed to investigate current travel and tourism behaviours and attitudes towards the future of tourism.
The results conclude that there are correlations between age and behaviour towards the environment, finding generation Z to be less likely to engage in sustainable behaviour than older generations. The reason for this lack of sustainable behaviour from generation Z is due to factors such as the weak economic position of generation Z, the lack of information surrounding sustainable behaviour and the lack of collective action. However, in terms of the research question as to whether generation Z are willing to change their travel and tourism behaviours, the findings suggest that generation Z do show concern and willingness to change and therefore, in the future generation Z will naturally shift towards more sustainable behaviour.
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