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UK falling out of favor with young travelers

UK falling out of favor with young travelers

The UK is falling out of favor as a must visit English speaking destination for young travelers wanting to study, tour and work, a wide-ranging new report has warned.

Visa controls, currency fluctuations and an unfriendly impression following Brexit are putting one in five young visitors off coming, says the British Educational Travel Association.

Latest visitor statistics show youth travel is no longer growing as it once did. At the same time competitor English speaking countries are thriving.

The inbound youth, student and educational travel sector is worth £22.3 billion a year to Britain and the 14.9m young people who visit represent 38% of all tourists.

Last year saw a fall in spending by young travellers for the first time and numbers coming on holiday dropped to below 2014 levels. Enrolment into higher education by foreign students was flat while demand for courses in the USA soared by 44%, in Canada by 51% and Australia by 27%.

The UK’s global share of those coming to learn the English language has also dropped in the four years from 2011 from 31% to 22% and the number of work visas given to young people was down 12% from 2012.

Called “Unlocking the Value of Youth, Student & Educational Travel”, the report urges the UK Government to review its complicated visa policy and remove international students from net migration figures.

BETA, which represents the youth, student and educational travel industry, analysed data from 336 businesses which deal with 1.5 million young and student travellers from 60 countries.

Chairman, Steve Lowy said: “International travel for the younger generation is not a bucket list wish, it is a high priority, and it provides powerful life experiences, cultural awareness and is an education in itself.

“Travel transcends gender, nationality and age and is proven to provide young people with a better future as a global citizen.

“It is essential that the UK unlocks the barriers to growth to allow this sector to flourish at the rate of our global competitors, to build upon our reputation as a must visit destination and to grow our market share.”