The first international data report for the student group travel industry provides key benchmarks for recovery

Student & Youth Travel Association (SYTA), the international professional trade association promoting student and youth travel, and BONARD, an independent market research company, have just released their Student Travel Business Barometer 2019 Annual Report.

Aug 25, 2020 Travel Daily News

This is the first-ever international report to gather quantitative data for the student group travel market, and provides important benchmarking for measuring growth in the recovery following the outbreak of COVID-19.

Carylann Assante, SYTA CEO, noted that the idea behind this landmark industry study was to establish a data platform for the global student group travel industry. This segment of the tourism industry lacks recognition, particularly at the government level where funding and recovery aid decisions are made, due to absence of reliable measurement. The data gathered from 2019 measured three main performance indicators: number of students traveling, average trip duration and average group size.

The initiative was joined by 149 student tour operators from 26 countries across the world, which included both SYTA members and non-members. Overall, responding businesses represented 1.8 million traveling students. According to Patrik Pavlacic, Head of Research at BONARD, this gave the project a strong voice internationally. The study was conducted quarterly, although the interruption of business due to the coronavirus necessitated a merged survey for Q3 and Q4.

In line with a growing appetite among parents to invest in the education of their children, the majority of student tour operators noted an increase in demand for student travel in 2019. Of all quarters, Q2 recorded the highest number of respondents (65%) reporting a year-on-year increase in the number of students traveling domestically. Q4 and Q1 also performed strongly, with 60% and 54% of business reporting growth in customer volume. Regarding international trips, the biggest number of operators that saw an increase in student numbers was recorded in Q3 (56%), with Q2 (52%) and Q1 (46%) following closely.

The research also mapped the global student tour operator landscape. Businesses catering to no more than 10,000 students travelling domestically constituted two thirds of the market. In contrast, two thirds of STOs involved in international travel sent abroad up to 1,000 students.

The article was originally published on TravelDailyNews International (August 2020).

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