First Global Student Travel Data Report Released

The Student & Youth Travel Association (SYTA) along with BONARD released the first-ever report on the student group travel market, “Student Travel Business Barometer 2019 Annual Report” this week.

“Our 2019 Business Barometer shows that the student and youth group travel industry is a significant industry segment that was on course to achieve its greatest year ever, prior to the outbreak of COVID-19,” said Carlyann Assante, CEO of SYTA. “The pandemic brought that growth to a screeching halt, but the great value in our Business Barometer is that we now have a benchmark of real data that we can use to measure growth as we hopefully move into recovery phase in late 2020, 2021 and beyond.”

Assante noted that the student group travel market did not previously have enough data to measure things like growth and market trends.

The report gathered data from 149 student tour operators from 26 different countries across the globe, and it represented more than 1.8 million student travelers. The report is split up by quarter, and the data indicates that the desire for international travel among students was on the rise.

The report also analyzes data surrounding health and safety, sustainability and the role of technology. Safety, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is expected to rise as the main concern for both student travelers and student tour operators (STOs).

Cost also remains a large issue. Most student travelers would not pay the higher costs to go on a sustainable travel experience; they opt for more affordable options.

Technology is also used by all STOs to keep in contact with student travelers and their parents. However, many of the STOs did not use GPS technology to track students during their trips in 2019.

“We anticipate that we may find some striking differences in the attitudes of operators and their customers to all of these issues in 2020 and beyond,” said Assante. “Health and safety will be #1 on each operator’s list of priorities for certain, and we expect both technology and sustainability to play a far greater role as trip planning transforms in a post-COVID student travel industry.”

The report also goes into detail about the most popular months to travel, which quarters saw the largest groups traveling as well as the most popular times to go on different types of tours, such as educational, volunteer and college tours.

To see the full report and learn more about SYTA, please visit

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