Interview with Shaik Shibli, Head of Marketing
Tell us your story. How did Eduvoyage get started?
Eduvoyage is an ITL World Company, so perhaps I should start there. ITL World originated during the 1980s in Mumbai, India. Initially the company just comprised a handful of passionate, service-driven individuals who promoted and offered travel products to both corporate and leisure customers.
The brand subsequently grew rapidly and ITL World opened several offices across the Indian subcontinent, but it was really from 1998 onwards when the brand expanded dramatically. Our expertise has always been spread across corporate, leisure, VIP, MICE and educational travel since its inception. These areas of expertise led to the creation of five sub-brands, one of which being Eduvoyage. This branch focuses on enriching education through travel, aiming to immerse students in knowledge, culture and inspiration. students are given opportunities to engage in community services or interact with other students and teachers from a local institution, making their trip valuable to the host community and giving them eye-opening experiences.
What is your favourite success story from your organisation?
Several projects have been well executed under the Eduvoyage banner. Be it space camps, innovation & architectural tours or volunteering programmes, we are humbled to have served more than 7,000+ student and youth movements from the Middle East to various destinations around the world. With tailor-made itineraries and a portfolio of solutions and bespoke arrangements, Eduvoyage continues to play an integral role in broadening youth horizons through education with travel.
What can we expect to see from Eduvoyage in the future?
Eduvoyage specialises in many kinds of educational travel, from nature-based excursions to cultural and scientific immersion programmes. We understand that educational travel provides insight into specialised areas of interests as well as giving students a unique perspective of the world. In the Middle East region, we are witnessing interest in Space Camp certification, aviation-related programmes and and student exchange. Volunteering programs are also gaining momentum, including teaching assistance, healthcare and construction.
Which trends do you see in educational and active youth travel?
The student traveller represents one-fifth of all international arrivals in the travel industry, today, totalling a market value of about $320 billion. This demographic is willing to spend and to create experiences that go far beyond the ‘backpack-and-party’ model that once characterised educational journeys abroad. School and university students enjoy on average one or two trips overseas per annum, and this shows no sign of lessening.
How do you work to ensure the health and safety of young travellers involved with Eduvoyage?
Meeting the needs of multinational students, parents and teachers, Eduvoyage follows stringent measures to ensure quality, safety and security. Every aspect of the trip is thoroughly inspected to ensure suitability and compliance with safety measures. All trips are accompanied by an experienced member of Eduvoyage for 24/7 assistance on the ground. Moreover, all our student travel is mandatorily protected with comprehensive travel insurance.
What was your motivation to join WYSE Travel Confederation?
Today’s generation of young people are more informed, more mobile and more adventurous than ever before. Yet the importance of this market goes far beyond the numbers. Young people have been recognised as a major force for development and social change. This is also true for tourism, with youth travellers leading positive change in the sector by investing in local tourism businesses and championing environmental protection. As such, youth travel is one of the most promising paths towards a more responsible and sustainable tourism sector.
WYSE Travel Confederation not only gives access to like-minded members, but also provides an up-to-date overview of the major characteristics and trends of this exciting market segment, highlighting its importance worldwide. It also draws attention to the issues that need to be addressed to ensure that more and more young people around the world can continue to benefit from the enriching experiences that travel brings, for travellers and the communities they visit.
Bringing together the knowledge of WYSE Travel Confederation and the expertise of Eduvoyage, we can make a significant contribution to understanding youth travel.
Have you attended a WYSE Travel Confederation event?
We attended WYSTC 2018 and 2019 and both were an awesome experience. Every detail was taken into consideration from the event itself to daily highlights. We had the opportunity to meet members who are hungry to take youth and student travel to the next level.
What is an industry challenge your organisation is facing currently?
In this region, there is a scarcity of genuine educational suppliers who can organise educational and vocational trips, such as factory visits, data labs etc. Also, Work & Travel programs are a rarity, especially for in-bound regional travel.