Are millennials transforming global tourism? Challenges for destinations and companies.
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to identify the characteristics of the millennials segment that is most likely to cause a significant disruption in the way the tourism sector is currently structured. A profile of this segment has been developed along with an analysis of the marketing implications for destinations and tourism providers. Design/methodology/approach: The research involved examining academic, institutional and trade literature to provide an overview of the millennials profile and the related developments causing disruptive changes in the tourism sector. Findings: The characteristics of the millennials with the greatest potential to disrupt the tourism sector are their strong digital skills, high degree of permanent connectivity, search for outstanding experiences and altruistic behaviours. The results already present from these characteristics - with a high probability of intensifying in the future - are the practice of volunteer tourism, search for places not connected with tourism and adoption of new, disruptive technologies. Even though volunteer tourism is an act of altruism, it can have harmful implications for tourist destinations in which it occurs. In addition, tourist invasions of places traditionally occupied only by residents can lead to the removal of locals from these places, manifestations of "tourismphobia" and ultimately degradation of these tourists' experiences. Finally, the adoption of disruptive technologies by tourism agents to fulfil the millennials' demands for immediate responses reduces human interactions highly valued by millennials and, therefore, requires close monitoring. Originality/value: This study's value arises from its systematic identification of the millennials characteristics that are most likely to disrupt the tourism sector's functioning, allowing the relevant stakeholders to adopt proactive strategies, minimise potential negative impacts and maximise opportunities.