Yes, the headline is correct. People are a product of their upbringing and their environment.
Where we grew up, when we grew up, how we grew up and the unique experiences we had make us different from everyone else. This shapes how we see the world, our attitudes and our values.
In travel and tourism, everyone approaches personal time off and vacations differently. For some, a vacation is a privilege; for others, a birthright. Some people recall happy memories of long family car trips. Others stayed closer to home.
Today’s senior travelers are influenced by the hard times that their World War II parents experienced and place a high value on vacation time. This generation worked hard for a two-week annual vacation and traveled on a tight budget. They are patriotic and find great pride in our national parks and monuments. To them, their vacation is a well-earned reward, and they want to introduce and share the America they remember with their grandchildren.
Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, and their world was shaped by politics, race, conflict and idyllic TV sitcoms like “Leave It To Beaver” and “Happy Days.” Early vacations meant trips to new mega-theme parks like Disneyland and spring breaks in Florida.
As adults, boomers have traveled the world and collected vacation experiences with a hurried “been there done that” attitude. Today, boomers have slowed their pace, and they seek more meaningful vacations that include art and cultural attractions, culinary and wine venues and mild outdoor adventuring.
Vacation entitlement has become vacation enrichment. They too want to see the America they have been flying over for decades.
Ask baby boomers to describe themselves and they’ll tell you what they did to make a living: “I worked in the medical field.” Ask a millennial, and they’ll tell you about their latest recreational pursuit: “I mountain biked in the Weminuche.”
As millennials have been influenced by their baby boomer parents’ lifestyles, they have rejected the idea that vacations happen in-between long periods of career building. With technology that allows one to work from anywhere and a desire for a more balanced approach to life, health and work, millennials can and do blend work with vacation. Their view is that personal time is a necessity for healthy living.
For tourism professionals, the lesson here is to recognize and appreciate that everyone values vacation time differently. Where we were when strongly influences our attitudes and emotions about personal time off. We respect that some travelers seek peace and solitude; others, social and cultural engagement; and others, thrill and adventure.
Enjoy this vacation season whatever your unique perspective.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Bob Kunkel is executive director of the Durango Area Tourism Office.