Germany: FDSV members see 15% drop in 2019

Published 06/04/2020

The number of language learners travelling from Germany via Association of German Language Schools and Language-Tour Operators (FDSV) members dropped by 15% in 2019, while the length of programs are continuing to shorten, statistics have revealed.

The language school and travel sector has come to a “complete standstill” due to the coronavirus pandemic, the survey noted. In 2019, the FDSV estimated that around 140,000 language student travelled overseas from Germany.

“We know from countless conversations with disappointed customers…that the need for other forms of teaching is enormous”

“One thing is for sure, the need for language training remains high,” FDSV said.

In 2019, English strengthened its position as most popular language choice for clients booking via FDSV, the choice language for 79% of customers overall. In 2018, it represented 76.5%.

In terms of choice destination, the UK increased in popularity and grew 5% – being selected by half of FDSV bookings in 2019. Other destinations remained stable or dropped slightly.

However, “trends and views are under the current circumstances hardly possible”, the organisation indicated, adding that providers in Germany are trying to bridge the difficult situation with alternative online language courses.

“We know from countless conversations with disappointed customers who had to cancel their language study trip at Easter that the need for other forms of teaching is enormous,” chair of the FDSV Board of Directors Peter Schuto said.

Should the situation be relaxed by May, a portion of the summer business can still be saved, according to FSDV.

However, all school trips are cancelled until the end of the year. Educators will have to hope for this to return next year, the organisation said.

“In the adult sector, bookings will most likely pick up again quickly.” The booking behaviour for young learners will depend more on global travel warnings being rescinded.

Young learners made up around 64% of all clients – “significantly larger” than the adult sector at 36%.

The costs of courses decreased by almost 5% compared with the previous year – with the average price standing at around €1,261 and lasting just under 14 days.

Since 2017, the average price of language trips has dropped by around 17%.

Released in conjunction with Hochschule Heilbronn FDSV’s market survey results have been released in the middle of the corona crisis.

Despite indications of reductions in numbers study travel students from Germany, the organisation noted that direct comparisons with last year’s survey are difficult due to different companies taking part in the survey.

Beyond the coronavirus crisis, providers will also have to wait to see how Brexit and the USA’s political course affects the number of Germans travelling overseas for language training.

FDSV also added that to its knowledge there are around 95 providers of language travel courses in Germany – half of these follow German travel law with the remainder not assuming liability for trips booked.

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