I think it is great we celebrate all that is good with British Tourism every year – we have a lot to be proud of and shout about. I look forward to going up to BOBI at the NEC on Wednesday to meet and network with many colleagues in the Industry.
The Objectives of the week are good and noble:
British Tourism Week aims to demonstrate the importance of the tourism industry, and that it deserves Government support because it is delivering jobs and growth to the UK economy:
• to politicians
• to the media
• to the industry itself
• to students in schools, colleges & universities who are considering a career in the industry
• and to consumers
To achieve this, British Tourism Week will aim to:
• increase industry awareness
• promote training and professionalism
• raise awareness of our tourism offering
There is though a glaring absence of almost nothing relevant to the Youth & Student demographics. Fair to say having had 25 years’ experience in this part of the industry and being a Director of BETA (the British Educational Travel Association) www.betauk.com I am quite passionate about this.
I constantly shake my head at the snub of these interesting and income-generating tourists. Okay, they sleep and eat cheap but they will stay longer and let’s face it are the future business travellers and bigger spenders. The backpacker end of the market will continue to travel when others aren’t and the younger end travel in large groups!
It is a specialist market but it is ignored. Have a look at facts on the WYSETC Website which include the fact that the youth travel industry are Global Trend-Setters and are a resilient market, undeterred by economic crisis, terrorism and natural disasters and are a global market worth US$136 billion a year.
Part of the problem is that the industry could be better organised as well so a great deal of the fault lies with us. Many of those who operate in this arena, by the nature of the market, are anti-establishment and so perpetuate the notion that they are ignored because they don’t conform. That is to the most extent rubbish and much can be achieved through dialogue and just taking part. To join them will offer the opportunity to change the things that are deemed to be wrong.
Youth Tourism needs to be accepted by the mainstream and tourism bodes as a valuable part of the industry and those in Youth Tourism need to start taking more of a part in the traditional shows and events available to them. Let’s teach those who need to know about the value of the Youth Travel Industry. Youth, students and backpackers are a vital and worthwhile industry. Ignore us at your peril!