ITB Berlin 2010Berlin, Germany — 10-14 March 2010
Welcome to our new member – The Learning Adventure
Tell us your story. How did The Learning Adventure get started?
It happened quite organically. We had been running The Dragon Trip backpacking tours because we were passionate about young people learning from travelling. It made sense to expand into the school trip industry – I used to be an Assistant Headteacher, and my Co-Director, Ramsay, had loved studying abroad. Our two perspectives met in complete harmony: I understood what teachers were looking for, and Ramsay understood what students benefited from. Once our school trips grew in popularity, and we were sending schools to China, Japan and South East Asia, it made sense to have a brand divide. We’re still the same company though, and the quality hasn’t changed – just a new name!
What makes The Learning Adventure different from your competitors?
I think our backgrounds in education and travel naturally pushed us in a different direction from day one. From our background in education, we already understood that teachers are some of the busiest people on the planet. It was obvious that there was a space for a different kind of company, one that bends over backwards to make teachers’ lives easier and their students’ education better. We never wanted to churn out cookie-cutter itineraries – we want each and every trip to be specific to the school we’re taking, their curriculum and their students’ interests. That’s why we have niche subject focuses that other companies don’t offer, like Computer Science and Music, which are made even more specific when we learn about the school’s curriculum.
Since we began as a backpacking company, we’ve always had a different ethos to other school trip providers. We organise every single part of the trips ourselves through our long-standing, trusted contacts around the world. As a close-knit team of people who have all been shaped by their own adventuring around the world, it was important to us that our school trips, like our backpacking trips, showed students the side to a country beyond the tourist hotspots. They are, of course, culturally and historically extraordinary, and no trip would be complete without them, but we like to set ourselves apart with interactive learning experiences where students create relationships with the local community. That sums up why we’re called The Learning Adventure: there’s the Dragon Trip adventure element with a new counterpart, learning.
What is your favourite success story from your organisation?
Without a doubt, I’m proudest when I see a trip executed to perfection, with structure hand-in-hand with adaptability. It’s so rewarding to create personal relationships with schools, too, not least because it confirms that our trips are the best they’ve found. We’ve got a longstanding relationship with the Harris Federation, which is a badge we wear with pride. Harris Federation is the top performing large multi-academy trust, so we’re delighted to have the honour of showing their students the world.
What can we expect to see from The Learning Adventure in the future?
This year, we’ve launched Europe trips – in Italy, France, Spain and the UK – as well as South Korea. We’re definitely going to be adding more locations, and we are also working with groups and schools in more and more countries across the world. The ultimate goal is to work with schools and send students to every country on every continent, whilst maintaining our quality. Whilst we have big plans to grow, we want to stay a small company – if not in terms of size, then in terms of communication and values.
Which trends do you see in educational and youth travel?
We’ve seen a massive jump in popularity for certain locations: the US market has a high interest in school trips in Europe, and everyone seems to want to go to South Korea at the moment. We can see why – it’s a quirky culture, really different to our own.
In terms of selling educational youth travel, thanks to the digital age, we are always being marketed to – and people are pretty good at spotting an advertising ploy. The need for authenticity tends to work in favour of a company like ours.
Another trend we’ve seen is the focus on more holistic learning. People are starting to recognise the benefits of experiential learning and are viewing school trips as a valuable educational experience.
How do you ensure the health and safety of young travellers involved with The Learning Adventure?
Health and Safety comes above everything else for us. We know this is a top priority for teachers, so it’s important that we have audited and risk-assessed every element of the trip. It’s partly because we want to assure teachers, partly because we want to be known as a company that’s trusted, but mostly it’s because we understand the responsibility of looking after a group of students. As we run all parts of our school trips ourselves, we triple test every activity before giving it the go-ahead.
What was your motivation to join the WYSE Travel Confederation community?
Aside from meeting and interacting with like-minded folks in the industry, WYSE Travel Confederation as an organisation has values that completely align with ours. It began as a post-war effort to encourage international spirit and believed youth travel was where it should start: we immerse students in cultures they’ve only ever seen on the internet and show them how people on the other side of the world live.
What is an industry challenge your organisation is facing currently?
A lack of funding means that schools can’t always afford trips overseas. However, we’re always understanding of financial limits, and we work tirelessly to provide incredible trips for schools with strict budgets.
The Learning Adventure offers educational experiences in the real world. The organisation curates high-standard itineraries for teachers and plans & monitors every detail of the adventure; the activities, accommodation, food, transportation, guides and health & safety standards, all according to the students’ specific needs.
The Learning Adventure covers a large number of destinations within China, Japan and Southeast Asia and is expanding its list of destinations each year.
Membership: WYSE Travel Confederation Full Member – Subsidiary
Join WYSE Travel Confederation
If you’d like to join WYSE Travel Confederation and benefit from new connections, free access to industry research, informative webinar sessions, discounts on industry events and brand exposure within the youth and student travel industry, click below to view our membership options and find out more.