UK: Youth Group Travel survey launched

Published 09/05/2023

UK study travel organisations are building evidence to take to the government in a bid to create a Youth Group Travel Scheme for young learners.

The groups, including British Educational Travel Association, the Tourism Alliance, English UK and other associated networks, are appealing to businesses to explain how they have been impacted by the removal of ID cards on the under-18 group travel market in a survey.

Organisers hope the campaign will help with negotiations with the government to allow groups of young people under 18’s to visit the UK on a single travel document.

The two-minute survey will help to measure the impact and size of the problem, in addition to supporting negotiations between industry and the UK government, they added.

BETA has previously warned that the current rules – introduced since the UK left the EU – risks deterring students from the continent who now need their own passports to enter the country. Prospective learners are opting for competitor countries as a result, stakeholders say.

A Youth Group Travel Scheme is one of nine points that English UK is pressing the government to introduce in order to help the UK ELT industry regain its top position. Additionally, according to the Tourism Alliance, prior to October 2021 the EU was the biggest market for educational travel to the UK.

“We will continue to lose our market share”

Labour MP Rupa Huq has been one of a number of MPs in opposition supporting calls for a scheme to be introduced for young learners from the EU.

“We will continue to lose our market share and, as a lot of business owners, I hear these students are not travelling [to the UK but] travelling to Malta and Israel in particular, and [those countries] really benefit from our own policies,” BETA chair Steve Lowy said at an event in December 2022.

“The UK needs to act now to reverse the movement of youth groups to either to other English-speaking countries as we have risk of links to the UK being irrevocably broken.”

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