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WYSE Travel Confederation calls on governments to support international travel businesses

Government support for the travel industry is urgently needed as we move into a third year of restricted movement related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses that have managed to stay afloat are still struggling, particularly those that cater to international travellers. Frequently changing regulations, supply chain disruptions, labour shortages and the resulting reduced capacity and service levels are eroding consumer confidence and businesses that rely on tourism. Financial support is needed if businesses are to make it through a new wave of COVID-19 precautions related to virus mutations that have increased the level of risk to public health.

WYSE Travel Confederation is not only concerned about maintaining the capacity of international travel businesses, but also gravely concerned about the future that young people will come to expect as a result of the pandemic. As the global association of travel organisations that facilitate safe, fun and educational international trips for young people across the world, we know that twenty-three percent of the world’s international arrivals were young travellers under the age of 30, pre-COVID-19. These young travellers were studying abroad, au pairing, interning, volunteering, teaching, learning a foreign language, backpacking, and gap-yearing. In other words, life-changing educational travel pursuits.

International travel not only benefits young travellers themselves, but the people and places they visit and the businesses and services they utilise along the way. The under-30 international travel segment generated tourism receipts for destinations worth approximately USD 330 billion in 2019. The absence of travel’s significant economic reach has become clear during the pandemic. Travel and tourism generate economic and cultural livelihood for people and places just as people and places with cultural energy attract visitors.

WYSE Travel Confederation once again calls on governments to support travel and tourism businesses based on our Ten-Point Youth Travel Recovery Plan, originally published in May 2020.


Offer easily accessible short- and medium-term credit facilities to help SMEs in the sector with liquidity.


Implement income protection schemes for both employees and the self-employed within the sector.


Extend furlough schemes for the sector beyond ‘lockdown’ periods.


Agreements should be written in plain and precise language;


Offer business tax deferments to businesses in the sector.


Reduce tourism taxes for the sector.


Re-start the issuing of specialist youth travel visas for future travel.


Coordination between national governments for future travel.


Provide the sector with clarity surrounding the re-opening of travel, both domestically and internationally.

Direct destination marketing spend towards growth in international export of youth travel product.

Progress has been made on action points 7, 8 and 9 to varying degrees in certain regions of the world. These actions have facilitated responsible routes of entry for students and other young visitors with educational and other special-interest visas. However, actions points related to financial assistance for businesses have been phased out – or worse yet, never even offered to SMEs.

WYSE Travel Confederation calls on governments to take the actions outlined in the Ten-Point Plan in order to support youth, student and educational travel and tourism businesses.Young people have been instrumental in fostering international peace through travel and cultural exchange since 1949. WYSE Travel Confederation’s research over the years suggests that young people contribute to the social and economic power of international because they tend to [3]:

  • Stay longer and spend more than average tourist
  • Attract visiting family and friends to a destination
  • Support local businesses by spending with unique and independent providers of accommodation, hospitality, retail goods, and services
  • Book tours and activities that provide ‘local’ experience and knowledge of a destination.

We have said it many times before and will continue to remind: young travellers, and the businesses that facilitate the unique educational experiences they pursue, represent life-time value to destinations and powerful potential for social and economic recovery for international travel and tourism.

To learn more about international youth, student and educational travel, contact us or visit our website for free and tailored resources for your business or destination.

David Chapman,

Director General
WYSE Travel Confederation

NameJob titleOrganisation
Russell HedgePresident and CEOHostelling International USA
Pieter Van der ZeeuwManaging DirectorHans Brinker Hostels
Casey SlaminSenior Vice PresidentInterExchange
Patricia BrunnerInternational Au Pair Association (IAPA)Managing Director
Dave DahlPresidentWISE Foundation
Victoria CunninghamCEOBUNAC & USIT
Andries BonneurCEOStage Global
Guillaume MoussetMarketing DirectorFUAJ / HI France
Beth HamiltonCEOGlobal Secutive
Marco CoppolaCNOYellowSquare
William GertzChairmanAIFS
Matthew BuczekCEOInternational Exchange of North America
Mike HartTechnical DirectorCleversteam
Modesto ReyesPresidentOFIT
Milos MilenkovicBoard MemberGPA
Marijke SchreinerCEOStayokay
William GustafsonPresidentASSE International Student Exchange Programs
Melissa TorresPresident & CEOThe Forum on Education Abroad
Tasha HayesEuropean Operations DirectorContiki
Scott CurryDirectorInternational Exchange of North America
Zydrunas JanusauskasCEORT Tax
Andreas KappelerOwner / ManagerNyon Hostel SA
Doros TheodorouCCOFreehand Hotels
Janet Henniker-TalleSenior Vice President, Camp AmericaCamp America / AIFS
Daniel EbertPresidentGreenheart International
Marcel PleisterManaging PartnerWALDEMAR GmbH
Murray RobertsManaging DirectorSt Christopher's Inns
Louise GarnerCommercial DirectorClink Hostels
Stojan LazicDirectorKaravan Travel Doo
Iza GyuriczaCOOSmaller Earth Group
Marcie SchneiderPresidentIntrax Inc.
Grant MillarMembership ManagerHI Canada
William GustafsonPresident & CEOASSE International
Randy LeGrantPresidentiTEP - Academic Language Solutions
Tom AretonExecutive DirectorCultural Homestay International (CHI)
Carye DuffinVP, External RelationsCIEE
Anne DolanCo-founderClink Hostels
Yaron BurginCo-founderAbraham Hostels & Tours
Pablo Ulises OrtegaPresidentMundo Joven Travel Shop
Didier DestexheCo-founderWEP
Jessica GarciaPAMundo Joven Travel Shop
Audrius MemenasOwnerRT Tax
Joanna BurnetDirectorVisitoz / Australian Working Adventures
Mike LeGaultManaging DirectorMoose Travel
Inese EgleHead of ContractingHEROLÉ Reisen GmbH
Brianda LopezCEOHostelling International
Markus BaddeCEOICEF
Etienne MatichardCommercial DirectorJO&JOE
Gordana StamenicManaging DirectorKaravan Travel
Callum KennedyIndustry ConsultantKMCL Consultants
Philip Cabra NethertonManaging DirectorEuroventure Travel
Claudia ReichsteinHead of International ProgramsDR-WALTER
Carsten HeroldOwnerHEROLE-Reisen GmbH
Saygin OzmanDirectorOzman International Education
Emma EnglishExecutive DirectorBETA
Leonardo ResendeSales UK / BeneluxMEININGER Hotels
Adrienne BarileHuman Resources DirectorHigh Sierra Pools
Darya ModestovaCEOGlobal Friends
Mark MaasdamCEOTravel Active
David BuehlerGeneral ManagerBackpackers Villa Interlaken
Lisa CollenderUSIT
Darryl NewbyCo-founderWelcome to Travel
Ann-Kristin CohrsManaging DirectorAuPairWorld
Enrique León ColladosManaging DirectorAston Herencia
Markus MüllerCOOPraktikawelten GmbH
Uri SharonCommercial DirectorAbraham Hostels & Tours
Jeremy HenryDirectorInformation Planet Belgium
Nick PoundCo-founder & Strategic PartnershipsWorld Nomads
Adam JanawayHead of OperationsBUNAC
Anthony MercerCFOBUNAC & USIT
Sheelagh DalyHead of Operations & PurposeUSIT
James BellCEOAlliance Strategies
Max OrtegaDeputy DirectorMundo Joven
Wolfgang GraserDirectorGood Hope Studies / Volunteers
Jennifer WoodbridgeRegional DirectorAlliance Abroad Group - Australia
Natalia de IsidoroDirectorAlliance Abroad Spain - Yowork
Martin ChurchillHead of Product & CommercialUSIT
Klara VostinakovaKey Account / E-commerce ManagerWombat's City Hostels
Tobias TimmererRevenue ManagerWombat's City Hostels
Sascha DimitriewiczCEOWombat's City Hostels
Carolin PaarmannManaging DirectorWombat's City Hostels
Raphaela BockCFO AssistantWombat's City Hostels
Goran RakonjacSenior Event ManagerCloudbeds
Pranas BruzgaDirectorLithuanian World Center for Work Experience and Studies Abroad
Tim RenzGeneral ManagerWombat's City Hostels
Paula BoancaAccountingWombat's City Hostels
Kristian WebberHead of Business DevelopmentBUNAC & USIT
Valerie LecamusInternational Programs ManagerCICD
Ali Al ShalabiExecutive ManagerCosmopolitan WWE