Today the British Educational Travel Association (BETA) published the findings of their study into the volume and value of the inbound UK youth, student and educational travel market – showing it is worth a staggering worth £20 billion per annum to the UK economy.
Chairman Dick Porter said “the UK government needs to recognise the youth market and unlock the barriers to growth, ensuring that the economic wealth creation from this sector is at its full potential for all UK stakeholders.”
Until now the attributes of the educational traveller in Britain have been poorly understood, other than by those in the industry.
This study draws together the relevant material to better understand and present the travellers’ behaviour and attributes to a wider audience.
“Investment in the international education of the young, whether for formal education or experiential travel, is felt over a lifetime – through inward investment, global trade, employment, tourism and in the overall competitiveness of Britain in the world.” said Chairman Dick Porter
Mr Porter went on to say “It’s time that we together identified the significance and characteristics of this dynamic market and planned accordingly”.
Youth travel is still the fastest growing and one of the most dynamic travel sectors. Youth travellers are knowledgeable, fun, eager, educated, focussed, ambitious and demanding. We must continue to engage these travellers, to encourage the growth of their knowledge of the world and Britain’s unique strengths.
The UK as a destination must target this type of traveller, without simply relying on our heritage and culture, we must ensure that these early adopters learn, earn and return here for many years to come.
“Britain’s inbound youth travellers of today are our global lifeline for tomorrow” said Mr Porter. By 2020, it is estimated that there will be almost 300 million international youth trips per year according to UNWTO forecasts.
Indeed, the youth travel market feeds many travel and tourism sectors as the traveller grows, for example, at the lower age limit, youth travel makes a significant contribution to the VFR segment (visiting friends and relatives) contributing 32% of all spend in this area.
Positive travel experiences from a young age ensure that these travellers will become the next business travellers, family market travellers and golden gappers.
But this is not just about numbers, and we must recognise that the social and cultural benefits youth travel are far reaching, long-term and more sustainable that other forms of tourism.
The youth market is a vital source for innovation and change and BETA and its members strongly urge our tourist boards and regions in the UK to recognise the value of youth, student and educational travel:
- Young travellers spend more with the funds staying in the local community and stay for longer
- Young travellers will become brand loyal and return to a destination over their lifetime to trade or invest or visit and spend
- Young travellers are less likely to be put off by political unrest or natural disasters
- Young travellers are leading the way on technology – make them your brand advocate by giving them an experience that they will want to share with their peers through social media
A full copy of the executive summary document is available and can be downloaded via the BETA Website: www.betauk.com