Currency fluctuations and visa trouble putting young travellers off UK, study finds

The UK is seen as a less attractive holiday destination due to visa controls and currency fluctuation, a survey by British Educational Travel Association (BETA) has found.

The traditional markets for the UK such as Europe – which accounts for 77% of all youth travel to the UK – have either peaked or are shrinking.

The publication, ‘Unlocking the Value of Youth Student & Educational Travel’, found that 21% of respondents initially wanting to visit to the UK changed their minds mostly due to lower costs of living. Some 1.5 million youth and student travellers from 60 countries worldwide took part in the study.

Other English speaking countries such as Canada, America and Australia have seen their amount of inbound youth travel grow at a faster rate than the UK.

With average annual growth of 4.7% over the last five years, youth travel is not keeping pace with overall tourism growth to the UK.

Enrolment into higher education by foreign students was flat while demand for courses in the United States increased by 44%, 51% in Canada and 27% in Australia.

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

In 2016, youth and student travel to the UK accounted for 14.9 million arrivals, with expenditure by those travellers amounting to £22.3 billion.

International visits by young people represent 38% of all travel to the UK.

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