Stats: Brexit Dissuading One in Five Young Travelers From UK

London Eye - ZoltanGabor/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images
Photo by ZoltanGabor/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

The UK is falling out of favor as an English speaking destination for young travelers wanting to study, tour and work, according to a new report from the British Educational Travel Association (BETA).

Visa controls, currency fluctuations and an unfriendly impression following Brexit are putting one in five young visitors off coming, according to the report.

The latest visitor statistics show youth travel is no longer growing as it once did, the study said. At the same time, competitor English speaking countries are thriving.

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The inbound youth, student and educational travel sector is worth £22.3 billion a year to Britain and the 14.9m young people who visit represent 38 percent of all tourists.

Last year saw a fall in spending by young travelers for the first time and numbers coming on holiday dropped to below 2014 levels. Enrollment into higher education by foreign students was flat while demand for courses in the United States soared by 44 percent, in Canada by 51 percent and Australia by 27 percent.

The UK's global share of those coming to learn the English language has also dropped in the four years from 2011 from 31 percent to 22 percent and the number of work visas given to young people was down 12 percent from 2012.

Called "Unlocking the Value of Youth, Student & Educational Travel", the report urges the UK Government to review its visa policy and remove international students from net migration figures.

BETA, which represents the youth, student and educational travel industry, analyzed data from 336 businesses which deal with 1.5 million young and student travelers from 60 countries.

BETA Chairman Steve Lowy said, "International travel for the younger generation is not a bucket list wish, it is a high priority, and it provides powerful life experiences, cultural awareness and is an education in itself. 

"Travel transcends gender, nationality and age and is proven to provide young people with a better future as a global citizen.

"It is essential that the UK unlocks the barriers to growth to allow this sector to flourish at the rate of our global competitors, to build upon our reputation as a must visit destination and to grow our market share."

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