English Language Travel – A Maturing Market?
Patrik Pavlacic, Chief Researcher at market analysts Bonard, reveals the 2018 student statistics. After its peak in 2014, confirmation comes that the global English language travel sector has entered maturity. From a destination perspective, the times of double-digit year-on-year increases are long gone and the international arena effectively constitutes a zero-sum game – destinations are growing at each other’s expense.
As an independent market research specialist, at Bonard we align global data collection and reporting for eight traditional English Language destinations: Australia, Canada, Ireland, Malta, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK and the USA.
We estimate that in 2018 there were approximately 1.38 million international students pursuing English language courses abroad for a total of 10,496,000 student weeks, the traditional measurement of length of stay. The figures mark a 0.5 per cent decrease in terms of student numbers and a decrease of 3.2 per cent in terms of student weeks compared to 2017.
Gradual declines in the average length of stay in destinations such as the UK, the USA, Australia and Canada have contributed to the fall in the number of overall student weeks. The only exceptions to this trend in 2018 were Ireland and South Africa, which, despite decreases in student numbers, posted growth in student weeks.