Prof. Nashwa Fouad Attallah

Tourism Studies Department, Faculty of Tourism and Tourism, Alexandria University, Egypt


Ghadeer El-Mawardy

Tourism Studies Department, Faculty of Tourism and Tourism, Alexandria University, Egypt



Creativity has become a strategy to be pursued by many countries in a search for tourism growth and product innovation. This has coincided with the emergence of generation y (millennials) as a new generation of tourists that improves tourism potential in destinations. Therefore, understanding the needs and desires to ensure that they are attractive to each new generation of travellers, as well as, identifying the creative content and activities that meet the needs of visitors has become of paramount importance.

This paper is a first contribution towards exploring the reciprocal relationship between generation y and creative tourism to improve the tourism potential to Egypt. On the academic level, it attempts to shed light on the dimensions of creative tourism and the characteristics and preferences of generation y to provide insight concerning the two concepts. At the practical level, it explores the relationship between both and provides implications for tourism decision makers and travel agencies’ managers. This is in order to innovate their decisions and products to match the characteristics of generation y and the scope of creative tourism as a new strategy to increase the tourism demand to Egypt so that it can compete internationally and face the worldwide challenges. The results indicated that that there is a relation between the millennials characteristics and preferences and creative tourism activities, meaning they can constitute a substantial segment of tourism demand on creative tourism activities especially in Egypt. Finally, the paper provides suggestions to stimulate further research and management action on this specific topic.

Key Words: Generation y (Millennials), Creative tourism, Relationship, Egypt.




          Nowadays, tourists are searching for more interactive and fulfilling experiences rather than just being served by the travel industry. In recent years, a growing interest in generations and their behavioural characteristics has emerged and an increasing number of studies have started to explore the younger generations, especially generation y (Glover, 2009).

      Generation y is a distinctive and dominant consumer group whose behavior, habits and consumers’ psychology is often discussed but not fully understood yet. Strictly influenced by the technology revolution, the digital media development and the Internet, this market segment has developed differently as regards attitudes, needs and characteristics from previous generations, making it the largest market segment and mean of improving economic and tourism potential. Accordingly, understanding the needs and desires provides opportunities to anticipate changing demand patterns and to put actions in place that address these medium to long-term changes (Hamed, 2017; Naumovska, 2017), thus increasing the probability of providing competitive tourism experiences and destinations, as well as, ensuring destinations are attractive to each new generation of travellers (Glover, 2009).  

       Especially that coincides with the emerging creativity, as a new strategy and approach linked to tourism. Creativity has become a strategy to be followed by cities and regions in a search for growth, as well as, a strategy for promoting innovation and individual skill development (Ray, 1998). Furthermore, it has been employed to transform traditional cultural tourism, shifting from tangible heritage towards more intangible culture and greater involvement with the everyday life of the destination (Richards, 2011).

            Although several studies have focused on creative tourism, few studies have considered what tourists actually want in this context. According to Raymond (2009), it is easier to establish a supply of creative tourism experiences than to create demand for it. Therefore, there is a need for more detailed analysis of creative tourism based on the tourist’s perspective.

As regards Egypt, it mainly concentrates on traditional cultural tourism and often new policies and innovation in the tourism products are neglected. That’s why, this research is important at both academic and practical levels. Academically, this paper attempts to shed light, in more details, on the dimensions of creative tourism and provide deeper understanding for the characteristics of generation y, their buying habits and preferences and most importantly their media preferences as a basis for deeper and qualitative consideration of this marketing segment.

At the practical level, it explores the relationship between generation y and creative tourism to provide insight and implications for tourism decision makers and managers of travel agencies to innovate their decisions and products to match the characteristics and preferences of generation y, as well as, the scope of creative tourism, as a new approach to increase the tourism demand to Egypt, diversify the tourism supply and compete with the worldwide challenges.

This raises the following questions for the research:

1-    What are the main characteristics and preferences of generation y (millennials)?

2-    Does a reciprocal relationship exists between the characteristics and preferences of generation y (millennials) and creative tourism?

3-    Can generation y be attracted to a destination, especially Egypt, by promoting creative tourism experiences?



2    Literature Review


2.1     Creative Tourism

     Creative tourism has evolved from the integration between creative industries and tourism in order to develop creative thinking and explore tourists’ potential. Generally, creative industries can be defined as knowledge-based creative activities that link producers, consumers and places by using technology, ability or skill to generate significant intangible cultural products, creative content and experiences (OECD, 2014; Yi Wu et al., 2017).

      The concept of creative tourism has been developed for a number of years in many countries, including New Zealand, Austria, Spain, Canada, the United States and Taiwan. Although different places have their own definitions of creative tourism, they agree on some concepts, such as ‘active participation’, ‘authentic experiences’, ‘creative potential development’, and ‘skills development’ (Richards, 2011). These experiences are mostly related to everyday life, and the ‘creativity-base’ of creative tourism includes traditional crafts/ handicrafts-making, gastronomy, perfume-making, porcelain painting and dancing (Richards & Wilson, 2006).

           Creative tourism has emerged as an approach from a traditional cultural tourism, as a reaction to mass tourism, as well as,  in response to the shift towards values and needs of new tourists who become excited to acquire knowledge or explore different skills resulted in a cross cultural learning. This approach is based on deepening the contact with the local culture by directly participating in creative activities which integrate different creative contents and lifestyles rather than merely displaying creative products. By time, creative tourism activities have been expanded to include taster experiences, shopping and less tangible culture like media (films or music concerts) and lifestyle. In other words, this new concept of tourism helps tourists to understand the values of the community (OECD, 2014; Tiyapiphat, 2017; Yi Wu et al., 2017). More specifically, it is “travel directed toward an engaged and authentic experience, with participative learning in the arts, heritage, or special character of a place, and it provides a connection with those who reside in this place and create this living culture” (UNESCO, 2006, p.3). In addition, it “offers visitors the opportunity to develop their creative potential through active participation in courses and learning experiences which are characteristic of the holiday destination where they are undertaken” (Richards and Raymond, 2000, p.4).

          Moreover, it should be mentioned that creative tourism differs from cultural tourism in terms of (a) tourist interaction in which the tourists are active rather than passive; (b) sources which are basically knowledge instead of built heritage; (c) information which is gained through collaboration and co-creation instead of broadcasting; (d) value gained which is very less restrictive; (e) the final principle is innovation rather than conservation and (f) supportive channels are more commercial compared to cultural tourism which is supported by the public sector (OECD, 2014; Sziva & Zoltay, 2016; Tiyapiphat, 2017; Yi Wu et al., 2017).

       Richards and Wilson (2006) acknowledge that creative tourism has arguably more potential than traditional cultural tourism, because creativity can add value more easily, enhances destinations to innovate new products, and thus creative resources are more sustainable and mobile than tangible cultural products. This is further indicated by OECD (2014); Sziva & Zoltay (2016) and Yi Wu et al. (2017), who argue that the linkage between creativity and tourism could help the destination to gain a competitive advantage through

·      Adding value and exploiting creative potentials,

·      Increasing tourism demand and generating new tourist profile,

·      Diversifying tourism supply and building destination image,

·      Creating unique atmosphere and driving new creative trends and intermediaries (sharing economy platforms),

·      Developing small-scale creative businesses, courses, experiences as creative networks, allowing interaction between tourists and local community, and

·      Using creative technology to develop and enhance the tourism experience.

              Table 1 displays some examples of creative tourism activities in some destinations (OECD, 2014; Sziva & Zoltay, 2016; Tiyapiphat, 2017; Yi Wu et al., 2017):


Table1 Creative tourism activities in different tourist destinations

The destination

Creative tourism activities



Developed “Cool Britannia” campaign to promote the UK as an innovative destination based on creative elements such as music (opera/concerts/fistival), film (film locations), theatre, ballet and fashion.



The Japanese tourism board encouraged creative tourism activities under the “cool Japan” strategy in purpose of engaging different stakeholders. This strategy promotes; (a) Japanese food in Korea by creating venues for exchange between agricultural and fishing Korean villages; (b) Japanese crafts by inviting creators, artists, overseas fashion leaders and journalists to the artistic exhibitions; enhancing the destination through gamification applications.

New Zealand

Namely in Wellington, there is a major creative destination for local film industry, “Weta Studios” that organizes the Weta Cave interactive tour with cruise ships.


The creative community of Croatia revolves around enhancing creative thinking, imagination, musical performances and many creative workshops.




Launched “Discover the Other You” campaign in 2012 to engage creative activities such as; Thai cookery, Thai massage, Thai boxing and performing arts




Paris integrated creative tourism approach in the tourism policy, encouraging tourists to practice their passion through a course or a creative workshop offered via  The website contains more than 400 arts’ centres and 1000 courses in photography, digital arts, fashion, design, jewellery, and gastronomy. Moreover, the website, offers unique authentic cuisine by sharing meals of hosts with tourists which resulted in cultural exchange through cooking via an authentic gastronomic experience.




The Zhengxing Street in Tainan City of Taiwan was developed to be the most well-known creative tourism destination. Initially, the street was unknown until the creative class reorganized under the name of “street gang” that consists of twenty owners. Generally, they do not compete with each other, depending on teamwork (restaurants, handicraft, clothing, food shops) and organize activities together (such as the music market of “Singing on Zhengxing Street”) to maintain the atmosphere of the community,  Moreover, they publish the Zhengxing News magazine. However, the street gang is responsible for funding the activities of the street.




There are two main creative tourism destinations in Hungary. The first is Tokaj wine region that delivers an authentic experience to millennials through living tradition of wine production and providing interactive tours and dining restaurants. The second destination is Ferto lake that provides cultural attractions and local gastronomy. Moreover, both regions have their own websites, facebook pages and mobile applications.

Source: Adopted from many studies (OECD, 2014; Sziva & Zoltay, 2016; Tiyapiphat, 2017; Yi Wu et al., 2017).


2.2     Generation Y (Millennials)

The different segments of tourists have a lot of classifications; one of these classifications is based on generation theory. Basically, most of the studies have agreed that there are three main generations; (a) Silent Generation – born 1945 or before; (b) Baby Boomer – born between 1946-1964; (c) Generation X – born between 1965-1979; (d) Generation Y/ Millennials – born between 1980-early 2000; (e) Generation Z – born between 2001-later (Rivera et al., 2015; Sziva & Zoltay, 2016; Bonadonna et al., 2017; Hamed, 2017; Harti & Munandar, 2017; Sziva, 2017; VisitScotland, 2017). However, some studies have classified generation y into three subcategories as follows; (a) Generation Y (1982–1985), (b) Millenials (1985–1999); (c) I Generation (1999–2002) (Hamed, 2017; Sziva, 2017). Meanwhile, others have divided this generation into younger cohort (16- 24) and older cohort (25-36). This classification is adopted by this research (VisitScotland, 2017).

Moreover, millennial generation is the upcoming dominating generation and will be the core focus of the marketers in the future. They are well-educated and the most demanding generation who always search for new things; which is considered a big challenge. Accordingly, there are an increased interest in attracting this generation from policy makers, DMOs and employers (Rivera et al., 2015; Bonadonna et al., 2017; Hamed, 2017; Harti & Munandar, 2017; Sziva, 2017).

 On the other hand, millennial generation is called the foodie generation. Gastronomy has a critical value for them along with the social side in terms of sharing their experiences with friends (Rivera et al., 2015; Sziva, 2017). Furthermore, they give very strong interest towards the good value, worthy price and quality of online communication (Rivera et al., 2015; Sziva & Zoltay, 2016; Sziva, 2017). Besides, millennials are price sensitive, smart spender and selective segment. They often spend money on travelling instead of possessions with the aim of gaining a worthy value from unique experiences (Bonadonna et al., 2017; Hamed, 2017; Harti & Munandar, 2017; VisitScotland, 2017).

       In terms of brand and product preferences, millennials are attracted to authentic, handmade, locally produced goods – and they’re willing to pay more for products from companies with active socially responsible programs. In terms of interactions, technology greatly defines millennials consumer behavior. Namely, modern consumers belonging to generation y are demanding personal connections with brands that appeal to their emotions, principles, standards, and feelings. (Howell, 2012).

        Namely, technology plays a very effective role in millennials generation’s life generally and in different stages of their trip. They are tech-savvy and economical regarding travel decisions, therefore, they frequently use diverse media especially digital media (Hershatter and Epstein, 2010). In general, they are considered as last minute decision-makers. In addition, they are mostly attached to wearable technology devices, which makes mobile phones and lap tops an efficient way to locate, follow or target them. Moreover, bloggers, influencers and review websites, such as trip advisor, are very critical sources for trustful information about different issues related to travel experiences. On the other hand, this generation depends on online websites and mobile applications (Google Maps, Expedia, and airline apps) in booking their trips. During trip, millennials tend to share their experiences on different channels of social media and expect to find free WI-FI as they are connected all the time via smart phones. Further, they generate very strong word-of-mouth strengthening with real pictures since they keen to share their feedback about the whole experience (VisitScotland, 2017; Hamed, 2017; Harti & Munandar, 2017; Sziva, 2017).

       Usually, millennials prefer unique experiences rather than ordinary ones, aiming to understand the local traditions. That’s why their activities preferences differ from their parents’. They tend to have meaningful memorable interactive experiences whether these experiences include adventure, local activities, special events such as music concerts, wine and food festivals. Furthermore, this generation is very curious to learn something new. Moreover, the importance of sharing economy platforms (specially airbnb) have become very popular with this generation, facilitating connection with local community and ensuring authentic local experiences and value of money  (Bonadonna et al., 2017; Hamed, 2017; VisitScotland, 2017).

Additionally, millennials are very sociable; since they enjoy travelling in groups and tend to deal with other members of group, the local people or even with the other older generations through participating in activities. However, there is a strong debate about the extent of their involvement with local community; some studies discussed that they are very attached to devices and show less interest in direct interaction, while others claimed that they are very keen to explore the value of community through the direct interaction. Concerning their length of stay, the older generation tends to travel more frequently compared to the younger generation. Regarding accommodation, millennials are no longer spending many times in their rooms; they prefer ‘grab-and-go’ option anywhere in hotel and to work and socialize in the hotel lobby (Hamed,  2017; VisitScotland, 2017; Sziva, 2017).

Hence, it could be concluded that millennials need high quality, affordable price, local experience, technology (mainly free Wi-Fi) and unique design of their trip.


3    Research  Methodology

          This research uses a qualitative exploratory approach in order to gain some insights into tourist’s characteristics and preferences with regard to creative tourism. Exploratory research is ideal for uncovering important meanings that participants have in their minds (Babbie, 1998) and is specially suitable for examining new areas where little is known about the phenomenon under study (Sekaran, 2003). Then descriptive analysis was adopted to uncover the profile of generation y tourists and explore their possible attraction to a destination, especially Egypt, by providing creative tourism experiences and thus increasing the demand and diversifying the tourism product. Maitland (2008) states that there has been very limited research that explores what tourists want, although the tourists themselves, their perceptions and what they enjoy, should be at the heart of any related activities.

        For the purpose of this paper and to answer its questions an online questionnaire was launched on the various facebook groups’ sites targeting generation y who are between 16 and 36 years old.

        The questionnaire developed depended on previous studies; however, it was reviewed from a panel of experts in the field before launching.

        Basically, the questionnaire is classified into four main sections (a) demographic characteristics; (b) spending and travelling patterns; (c) using technology before, during and after trip and (d) creative tourism activities identified by previous studies including attending local traditional celebrations and concerts, buying local handicrafts, attending workshops to get knowledge on how to make local crafts, food or language learning, participating in creating local handicrafts or preparing local food with local people, talking and interacting with local people, participating as volunteers to solve problems facing local people and having innovative experiences such as; fashion shopping or film location visits.



The researcher obtained 219 completed and valid questionnaires for analysis.


Dimension 1: Demographic Characteristics

       The younger generation of the millennials represented (54.4%) of the respondents while the older one represented (45.6%).

The females accounted for (67.6%), while the males  accounted for (32.6%).The majority of respondents were Egyptians (86.2%), while the foreigners represented only (13.7%) including Japanese; Italian; French; Vietnamese; Argentine; Belgian; Canadian; American; Spanish; Finnish; Polish; German; Slovakian and Austrian.

More than half of the respondents’ monthly income is under 1500 LE/US (56.4%), while the monthly income of (33.6%) of them is between 1500-4000 LE/US, only (10%) earn more than 4000 LE/US. Almost half of the respondents have a bachelor degree (52.3%), while (31.8%) of respondents are high school graduates. Only (15.9%) of them respondents have Master or PhD degrees.

The majority are students (43%), while (23.8%) of the respondents are private employees and only (15%) of respondents are governmental employees. However, only (12.6%) of the respondents have not worked yet.

The majority of the respondents are single (70.7%). meanwhile, (20.5%) are married and (8.8%) of the respondents are engaged.


Dimension 2: Spending and Travelling Patterns

The majority of the respondents (88.4%) prefer to travel rather than to save money and (78 %) prefer to spend money on travelling rather than purchasing precious items.

Work duties prevent the majority of respondents (67.3%) from travelling. It was obvious, that (41.9%) of them prefer to travel in group, while (28.6%) prefer to travel with the family and only (17.5%) prefer to travel individually. Moreover, other respondents stated that their mood and feelings determine to an extent their decision to travel alone, with family or in group.

The low price of the trip is very important for the majority of respondents (85.2%). However, as regards the place of stay, (36%) of them prefer to stay at luxurious hotels, while (29.9%) of them prefer to stay at low-cost ones, whereas only (17.2%) prefer to stay at local houses and (16.3%) prefer camping.

More than half of the respondents (54.4%) prefer to travel by low-cost airlines, while (22.6%) prefer to travel by traditional airlines, while (13.4%) prefer travelling by car and (9.7%) by bus.


Dimension 3: Using technology before, during and after trip

The majority of the respondents (86.5%) use social media and smart phone applications when arranging their trips. They think that social media and travel apps are trustful sources to get trip information. Furthermore, (90.7%) of them prefer to check review websites before making a travel decision and (60.8%) prefer to check the destination via an online game before travelling.

Besides, more than half of the respondents (58.8%) prefer to book trip online rather than by a travel agency. Moreover, free Wi-Fi is an important service within the trip for the majority of respondents (86.2%).


Dimension 4: Creative tourism activities

The majority of the respondents (89.4%) prefer discovering new places rather than authentic ones (10.6%) and most of them (91%) like to make a local trip and to try the local food.

The most preferred creative tourism activities for the respondents are attending local traditional celebrations and concerts (69%); buying local handicrafts (62.3%); talking and interacting with local people (59.8%); having innovative experiences such as; fashion shopping or film location visits (50.5%).

On the other hand, only (37%) of respondents prefer attending workshops to get knowledge on how to make local crafts, food or language learning; (31.4%) of them prefer participating in creating local handicrafts or preparing local food with local people. Meanwhile, participating as volunteers to solve problems facing local people was the less interesting activity for respondents (21.1%). However, (43.8%) of the respondents mentioned that they like to have adventurous experiences rather than recreational or traditional cultural trips.



5    Dicussion and conclusion

The results of the questionnaire revealed that the sample is approximately balanced between the two sub-segments of millennials: the younger generation (54.4%) and the older generation (45.6%). Females were the majority, mainly from Egypt with a less percentage of foreigners, which implies that there is a room for attracting this generation of foreigners to Egypt while retaining the Egyptians. Moreover, most of the respondents were students, single and not employed yet. This can be due their young age. Meanwhile, the common level of education is university degree with a less percentage of highly educated respondents, which is justified by Harti & Munandar (2017) that they are well-educated.

         Concerning spending and travelling patterns of millennials, it was obvious that they prefer to travel rather than to save money and to spend money on travelling rather than purchasing precious items, which is in line with the study of the World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation (WYSETC) (Richards, 2007). The majority of the respondents prefer to travel in group, as they are very sociable as previous studies indicated. At the same time, they are selective travelers; unlike the results of the study of Sziva & Zoltay (2016). In addition, it was revealed that this generation prefers to stay at luxurious hotels and tend to spend more money for obtaining a higher quality. Furthermore, the most interested experiences for them are the adventurous, then the cultural ones, confirming the study results of Sziva & Zoltay (2016).

          Additionally, this generation depends on social media and smart phone applications to a great extent when arranging their trips as trustful sources of information with growing interests in travel blogs and review websites – especially before making a travel decision, confirming the study results of Sziva & Zoltay (2016). Also, they tend to book their trip online rather than by a travel agency, which is in line with the study of the World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation (WYSETC) (Richards, 2007). This implies further that they should be attracted by innovative means of media.

On the other hand, unlike the results of Sziva (2017) study, sharing economy platforms are very important to millennials as booking channels. The questionnaire also indicated that adventurous experiences will be more considered by millennials than authenticity in the future.

Regarding local gastronomy, this generation prefers to try the local food with some concerns regarding cleanliness and uncertainty of food ingredients. This implies shat more care should be given to the quality of local food offered to tourists.

According to the respondents’ preferences, the most interesting creative activities are (a) attending local traditional celebrations and concerts – confirming the study of Rivera et al. (2015); (b) buying local handicrafts; (c) talking and interacting with local people and (d) having innovative experiences such as; fashion shopping or film location visits. Whereas, they are less interested in acquiring skills such as attending workshops to get the knowledge on how to make local crafts, food or language learning, the same as to volunteerism and problem solving.

          Based on literature review and survey, millennials are a very growing generation and will be the most important segment in future. Furthermore, it can be noted that they are sociable, keen to interact with local people and prefer to undertake innovative and adventurous experiences which are the main pillars of creative tourism. Thus, they can form a potential demand on creative tourism activities which was also justified by the research of Harti and  Munandar (2017).

In this regard, management organizations of tourist destinations, especially Egypt, should focus on attracting this segment through developing a variety of creative tourist experiences in rural  areas, as well as, the various cities, such as Siwa, El-Fayum, Nubia, Luxor, Aswan, Old Cairo, El-Arish etc. gathering between authentic and innovative experiences with more focus on adventurous trips, for example, presenting authentic oriental shows, songs of previous famous singers like Um Kalthum, Abdelwahab, Sayed Darwish, etc. , in addition to, folkloric shows and events. Sessions of how to prepare Egyptian, Bedouin or Nubian food, local crafts, and utilizing the Egyptian Media Production City for film location visits. Moreover, the power of social media and travel influencers should be used correctly with the aim to influence the biggest number of this generation, along with developing the official websites to be more interactive through posting more adventurous and authentic photos and integrating interactive maps.



For further research, it is recommended to develop innovative programs that apply to the characteristics and preferences of generation y with the aim of attracting this generation to Egypt. Second, it is suggested to put a strategy and a plan to implement the suggestions of the present research. Furthermore, a survey of all authentic places in Egypt can be conducted where creative activities and experiences can be undertaken which can add to the Egyptian tourism supply.





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