Members of UNOSEL at November's congress in Seville, Spain.
Latest market tendencies for UNOSEL members revealed

French agency association UNOSEL, whose members comprise organisers of educational and language trips for schools, young people and adults, has released its latest member data covering the January to end of October 2017 period.

The survey, which aims to track market tendencies, was completed by 15 organisers of educational trips (VSE); 26 organisers of language courses (SL), and 15 organisers of educational stays (SE), which include holiday camps for native French children.

Members specialising in Voyages Scolaires Educatifs (VSE), or educational group trips, reported that business increased 5.6 per cent up until October 31, 2017, compared with the same period in 2016. The UK was the most requested destination, albeit down 0.87 per cent on 2016 figures, followed by Spain (+9) and Italy (+14.5).

Forecasts for next year look equally as positive for the VSE sector, with confirmed bookings for 2018 up 9.3 per cent, compared to 2017 early bookings at the same point in 2016.

The number of accompanied language stays (or school groups), which mainly comprise junior-aged students, dropped 7.85 per cent up until October 31, 2017, according to SL providers, compared with the same period in 2016. The UK (down nine per cent) was the most requested destination, followed by the USA and Canada.

Individual (unaccompanied) language stays (comprising both junior and adult students) dropped 11 per cent up to October 31, 2017, compared with the same point in 2016. Again, the UK was the top destination choice for students (down 7.7 per cent on previous figures), followed by Ireland.

Déléguée Générale of UNOSEL, Kseniya Yasinska, said that despite recent terror attacks, the French outbound market was beginning to stabilise. "It is interesting to notice that after 2015's sad events in France, which had a considerable impact on all in the industry, particularly organisers of school trips abroad, these are running into a stabilisation period and even into growth."


She continued, "The French education system is now less restrictive for travel permissions for schools. It doesn't mean less rigor, on the contrary. UNOSEL, for example, managed a special insurance policy for its members. They now have better insurance cover, well-tailored to prevent modifications and cancellations in force majeure case for school trips, but also for summer camps and language stays."


However, "We stay concerned by the drop in language programme [requests]. Those of our members who organise different types of educational programmes (school trip + language stay or language stay + summer camps, etc.), may feel a better balance between the different sectors of activity, while working on the improvement of the language stay market."

In November, UNOSEL held its annual congress in Seville, Spain, where it was joined by the Andalucian Association of Spanish Language Schools (AEEA). Spanish agency association Aseproce was also in attendance, with Aseproce's Juan Manuel Elizalde presenting on trends in the outbound Spanish market. Please see our Grapevine section for pictures.


By Nicola Hancox