The Economic and Social Impact of Student Travel

Jul 7, 2020

Have you wondered about the overall impact of travel on students and the world around them? Research consistently backs up the importance and value of students setting out to see the world.

Global Student Travel
A growing and vital market around the world.

The global youth travel market, according to the WYSE Travel Federation, generates $333 billion in tourism receipts and accounts for at least 20% of the global travel market. The United States is the No. 1 destination choice for student and youth travel around the world—thus benefiting from the greatest percentage of that value. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) predicted youth travel would account for 300 million arrivals worldwide by this year—and was showing a 3% average annual growth.

Social Impact of Student Travel
Travel changes young lives for good!

According to the SYTA Student Travel Digest, 74% of schoolteachers surveyed believe travel has a very positive impact on a student’s personal development and 56% of teachers believe travel has a very positive impact on a student’s education and career. The digest also shows that 74% of teachers believe travel positively impacts students’ performance at school.

Teachers perceive travel as a remarkable opportunity for young people to get in touch with different cultures and communities outside of their usual environment: 74% see an increased tolerance of other cultures and ethnicities and 66% believe international travel increases students’ tolerance and respect.

Student Travel Industry
An underestimated economic driver.

The U.S. student travel industry alone supports hundreds of thousands of jobs, including those of tour operators, tour guides, motorcoach operators and drivers, security personnel, et cetera. It also supports the commerce of destination management organizations and suppliers in every aspect of a trip including attractions, restaurants, theaters, special events, concerts, festivals, and more.

The majority of student travel tour operators are small businesses, many of which involve former teachers and educators. While on a trip in the U.S., student travelers visit an average of two or three destinations and spend twice as much money as adults. The peak season for the student travel market is March through July, indicating student tour operators will have lost nearly 100% of their business for the year as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

SYTA Contribution
Professionals with safety as their No. 1 priority.

Student & Youth Travel Association members constitute 140 tour operator companies and more than 900 supplier partners. SYTA tour operators move upward of 3 million students and youth travelers annually, and SYTA travelers generate in excess of $1.5 billion to the U.S. economy each year.

For more, see SYTA’s COVID-19: Educator Resource Guide for Student Travel.

Courtesy of SYTA.