Educational Tourism in Europe - May 2011
Educational tourism, or ‘study tourism’ as it is sometimes called, used to refer only to the student population who travelled overseas to attend college or university. Nowadays, the definition is broader. While educational tourism could fall into a number of other themed categories of the travel industry – special interest holidays, learning holidays, cultural holidays and so on – for the purpose of this report, ‘educational tourism’ will be the umbrella term for a number of diverse activities that have a learning (or teaching) element.
As defined in this report, educational tourism focuses on students pursuing their post-secondary education in Europe (aged roughly between 21-26), as well as adults mastering a new skill. Seniors who take learning holidays are also analysed.
Educational tourism generates revenues for the travel industry, either directly or indirectly, and while hard data are hard to come by – educational tourism is a tiny niche market – it is worth looking at the factors that govern the movement of people around Europe to further their higher education (in the case of students) or to learn something new (adults).
Today, few Europeans remain in the place they grew up. They travel to other cities to complete their post-secondary education (or to find employment) and in so doing, spend money on transport, food and accommodation, thus contributing to the tourism economy (domestic and international). In the case of the student population, they frequently take advantage of the time they spend away from home to travel around Europe, becoming leisure travellers in the process and often, the tourists of tomorrow.
In the past decade, the enlargement of the European Union (EU) and the harmonisation of educational standards across Europe have opened up a world of new destinations. This report, therefore, will look at some of the countries that make up the EU-27 (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia and the UK). Non-EU countries are mentioned in passing.
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