WATCH | SA youth travel and lifestyle trends

Join this free online discussion and a chance to win one of 10 prizes

07 June 2021 - 13:00

People don’t travel the way they used to. This is not just because the Covid-19 pandemic put the brakes on exciting getaways, but when people do start adventuring and globe-trotting again, the way they travel will be very different.

This is especially true for a generation of young people, the Gen Zs, who plan to spread their wings abroad as digital nomads, the new way to see the world.

Tourists often visit a place with a distinct desire for specific experiences: Mona Lisa. Check. Eiffel Tower. Check. Northern lights. Check. Fugu. Check. Black ski slopes. Check. Tourist stays are often short. Tourists travel to see.

Travellers are a hardier bunch. They have a general idea of where they want to be, and for how long. Often they don’t have a set plan or accommodation lined up, they play it by ear. They travel to feel.

Nomads, on the other hand, are a new breed enabled by technology. They have no home to call their own, no roots yet put down. They circle the globe ad hoc, settling for a while where they feel comfortable or inquisitive enough to stay. So long as they have internet access and can hold down remote jobs, they can pack their bags and leave for the next destination without worrying that they’ll need to resign or find new employment. For today’s modern-day nomads, to travel is to live.

Not many people can afford to see the world by taking annual international (never mind local) jaunts. Getting permits and travel visas is taxing, in terms of admin and cost. But with a digital economy, where people can earn salaries from their home country to finance their work/living/travel arrangements — without work permit restrictions — being a nomad is the new version of jet-setting.

One only has to look at the number of opportunities for digital nomads to relocate temporarily to more exciting parts of the world, where lockdown feels less constrictive. The tech-enabled youth generation is primed for this new type of lifestyle as they combine work with the global travel experience before they choose to settle in one place.

Nomads — the longer-stay tourists/travellers — are a market worth competing for. In fact, in the current economic lockdown climate, many countries are starting initiatives to attract these individuals to their shores to spend their foreign currency.

SA is no exception. Lockdown has seen many families, businesspeople and students leave their homes, offices, and places of learning as they make the most of the remote work-from-home opportunity and spend time elsewhere. It's especially enticing when they can hop on a train or a bus for a fun day out in-between.

Join the Sunday Times GenNext and the Gautrain Management Agency in an online discussion about the travel-lifestyle trends of SA’s youth, their expectations about public transport and how public transport usage and travel has adapted since the pandemic. Gautrain is creating a window into the future, from the GenNext platform ... where the youth go to plan theirs. 

Radio and TV presenter Anathi Seyisi will host, and will be joined by:

  • Tshepo Kgobe, COO, Gautrain Management Agency;
  • Siv Ngesi, comedian, TV presenter and actor;
  • Farirai Sanyika, travel blogger, founder and director, Gophari;
  • Elizabeth Sleith, travel editor, Sunday Times; and
  • Siyabonga Mabaso, executive manager: transport planning and integration, Gautrain Management Agency.

Date: June 15

Time: 11.30am-12.30pm

Join this free online discussion and a chance to win one of 10 prizes consisting of data and Gautrain hamper goodies.


Young people regard being a digital nomad as the new way to see the world
Young people regard being a digital nomad as the new way to see the world
Image: Digital