Educational Tourism Market To Hit USD 1667 Billion by 2033

Tajammul Pangarkar
Tajammul Pangarkar

Updated · Jun 13, 2024

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Introduction

The global educational tourism market is expected to grow significantly, from USD 450 billion in 2023 to USD 1,667 billion by 2033, with a CAGR of 14% from 2024 to 2033. This growth is driven by rising disposable incomes, advancements in travel technology, increased interest in cultural immersion, and government policies promoting educational exchange programs and partnerships.

One of the main factors driving this market is the increasing financial capacity of individuals, especially in emerging economies, enabling more people to pursue educational travel for personal and professional development. Technological advancements, such as affordable air travel and improved transportation infrastructure, have also made distant educational destinations more accessible. Moreover, there is a growing emphasis on sustainability and cultural preservation, which aligns with the goals of many educational tourism programs.

However, the market faces challenges such as travel restrictions due to geopolitical tensions or health crises, high costs associated with international travel, and cultural and language barriers that can hinder engagement in educational experiences abroad. Safety concerns, including political instability and natural disasters, also pose risks to the growth of educational tourism.

Recent developments in the educational tourism sector have included significant mergers, acquisitions, and funding activities, indicating a strong and evolving market landscape. In July 2020, Permira made a strategic investment in EF Education First to strengthen its educational travel and language learning capabilities.

In addition, Holged Group’s acquisition of Al Massalik School in June 2023 expanded its educational portfolio in the Middle East. A noteworthy merger was the University of Idaho’s acquisition of the University of Phoenix, signaling a shift towards non-traditional education models by integrating extensive online learning platforms.

Another key development was the launch of Astrotrek by Atlantis Erudition & Travel Services in August 2019, which combined adventure sports with educational activities. The sector has also seen substantial funding initiatives, such as Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, announced in November 2023, aiming to invest heavily in tourism talent and create one million jobs by 2030. These moves underscore the sector’s dynamic nature, with ongoing investments and strategic partnerships driving growth and innovation.

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Key Takeaways

  • The global educational tourism market is projected to achieve a substantial growth trajectory, with an estimated worth of USD 1,667 billion by 2033, representing a notable increase from its value of USD 450 billion in 2023.
  • This growth trajectory is underpinned by a robust Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14% from 2024 to 2033.
  • Educational tourism encompasses a broad spectrum of offerings, including specialized programs tailored for different age groups and interests, such as STEM education, language immersion, and eco-tourism.
  • Before the onset of the global viral outbreak, Canada was a favored destination for Indian students pursuing higher education, with 132,620 students opting for Canadian institutions. However, in 2020, this number plummeted to 43,624 due to travel restrictions.
  • In the educational tourism market, the 18-25 years age group held a dominant position in 2023, capturing over 39.1% of the market share, driven by a surge in university students seeking global educational experiences.
  • Likewise, higher education emerged as the leading education level segment, commanding more than 64% of the market share in 2023, fueled by the growing popularity of study abroad programs and international internships among university students.
  • Geographically, the Asia-Pacific region led the educational tourism market in 2023, with a market share exceeding 40.2%, attributed to its robust educational infrastructure and diverse cultural offerings.
  • Specifically, countries like China, Japan, South Korea, and Australia emerged as prominent destinations, attracting international students with their blend of quality education and cultural enrichment opportunities.
  • The Asia-Pacific region witnessed a surge in demand, with the educational tourism market valued at USD 343.9 billion in 2023, fueled by favorable government policies, simplified visa processes, and scholarships.
  • The educational tourism market is characterized by intense competition, with key players like EF Education First, WorldStrides, ACIS Educational Tours, and Travel For Teens leading the industry with innovative programs and tailored experiences.

Educational Tourism Statistics

  • India received 13,73,817 educational tourists from the United States in 2024, making up 22.19% of all foreign tourists.
  • Bangladesh sent 12,55,960 educational tourists to India in 2024, accounting for 20.29% of all foreign tourists.
  • The United Kingdom contributed 6,17,768 educational tourists to India, representing 9.98% of the total foreign tourists.
  • Australia had 3,69,023 educational tourists visiting India, making up 5.96% of all foreign tourists.
  • Canada had 2,77,291 educational tourists in India, constituting 4.48% of the total foreign tourists.
  • Sri Lanka sent 1,77,652 educational tourists to India, accounting for 2.87% of all foreign tourists.
  • Nepal had 1,35,347 educational tourists visiting India, making up 2.19% of the total foreign tourists.
  • Germany contributed 1,24,496 educational tourists to India, representing 2.01% of the total foreign tourists.
  • Singapore had 1,17,195 educational tourists visiting India, making up 1.89% of the total foreign tourists.
  • Malaysia sent 1,16,523 educational tourists to India, accounting for 1.88% of all foreign tourists.
  • Over 1.1 million international students were enrolled in the USA in 2024.
  • The majority of these students in the USA come from China and India.
  • The number of international students in the USA is projected to grow by 3-4% in 2024.
  • These students contribute billions of dollars to the US economy annually.
  • The UK is projected to receive approximately 500,000 educational tourists in 2024.
  • China, India, and the United States are the top countries of origin for educational tourists to the UK.
  • Over 60% of educational tourists to the UK are enrolled in higher education programs.
  • Master’s degree programs and language immersion courses are most popular among educational tourists in the UK.
  • Educational tourists are expected to spend over £1 billion in the UK in 2024.
  • The educational tourism sector in the UK has been growing at an annual rate of 8% over the past five years.

Recent Developments

Acquisitions and Mergers

  • Permira’s Investment in EF Education First: In July 2020, global investment firm Permira invested in EF Education First, enhancing its educational travel and language learning capabilities.
  • Holged Group Acquires Al Massalik School: In June 2023, Holged Group expanded its educational portfolio by acquiring Al Massalik School, targeting the Middle Eastern market.
  • University of Idaho Acquires University of Phoenix: This merger signifies a shift towards non-traditional education models by integrating comprehensive online learning platforms.

New Initiatives

  • Astrotrek by Atlantis Erudition & Travel Services: Launched in August 2019, this initiative combines adventure sports such as wall climbing and zip-lining with educational activities like stargazing and astrophotography.
  • Virtual and Online Learning Programs: Many educational tourism providers have expanded their offerings to include virtual tours, online language classes, and digital cultural experiences, adapting to the pandemic-driven demand for remote learning options.

Funding Initiatives

  • Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030: Announced in November 2023, this initiative includes significant investments to establish specialist schools and training programs. It aims to create one million tourism jobs by 2030 and supports the country’s educational tourism growth and economic diversification efforts.

Use Cases

  • Student Exchange Programs: These programs enable students to study abroad and immerse themselves in different cultures while improving their language skills. Typically, partnerships between universities and schools across various countries facilitate these exchanges.
    • Example: Organizations like Global Volunteers and GVI Company manage student exchanges, where participants stay with host families or in university dormitories, fostering cross-cultural understanding and lifelong connections.
  • Language Schools: Language schools offer immersive experiences for students to learn new languages while exploring a different country. These programs often include cultural activities and excursions.
    • Example: EF Tours and ACIS Educational Tours organize trips for various age groups and proficiency levels, combining classroom learning with practical conversation practice with native speakers.
  • Workshops and Seminars: These short-term programs provide focused learning experiences on specific subjects, such as art, cooking, photography, or writing. They often include accommodations, meals, and related excursions.
    • Example: Workshop Travels specializes in arranging these trips, offering unique educational opportunities alongside cultural experiences.
  • Educational Tours: Tailor-made itineraries for school trips and excursions, offering hands-on experiences in subjects like history, science, and art. These tours provide students with practical learning experiences by visiting museums, historical sites, and participating in local customs.
    • Example: Companies like EF Tours, ACIS Educational Tours, and School Excursions provide these customized educational trips, ranging from short one-day outings to multi-week adventures.
  • Cultural Exchange Programs: These programs focus on fostering social interactions and cultural exchanges between educational tourists and local communities. They aim to build better relationships and understanding through shared experiences and activities.
    • Example: In Famagusta, North Cyprus, a study highlighted the benefits of social interactions between international students and local residents, enhancing cultural exchange and community ties.
  • Environmental and Ecological Tours: Designed for students and travelers interested in learning about environmental conservation and wildlife. These tours often involve visits to national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and ecological reserves.
    • Example: Australia is a popular destination for such tours, with attractions like the Great Barrier Reef and the Outback providing rich learning opportunities in biology and ecology.

Key Players Analysis

EF Education First

EF Education First (EF), a leader in international education, offers a diverse range of programs including educational tours, language learning, cultural exchange, and academic degree programs. Founded in 1965, EF has significantly contributed to the educational tourism sector by providing immersive travel experiences that combine learning and exploration. In recent years, EF has expanded its global footprint and offerings.

In 2020, global investment firm Permira invested in EF’s Kids & Teens business, enhancing its presence in China and Indonesia. Additionally, EF opened a new campus in Pasadena, California in 2022 to support the growth of its private boarding school, EF Academy. The company also played a key role as the Official Language Training Services Supplier for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. These developments highlight EF’s commitment to expanding its educational impact and adapting to changing market demands.

WorldStrides

WorldStrides is a prominent player in the educational tourism sector, offering a wide range of educational travel programs that enrich students’ learning experiences through immersive travel. Since its inception in 1967, WorldStrides has facilitated educational travel for over two million students, with 250,000 participants annually exploring destinations across the United States and worldwide. Recent developments include the launch of tailored travel programs in South America, emphasizing cultural immersion, language learning, and service-learning projects in countries like Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador.

Additionally, WorldStrides continues to expand its offerings in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) and performing arts tours, providing hands-on experiences that enhance classroom learning. These initiatives reflect WorldStrides’ commitment to providing comprehensive, safe, and engaging educational travel experiences for students of all ages.

ACIS Educational Tours

ACIS Educational Tours, a key player in the educational tourism sector, is dedicated to providing exceptional travel experiences that combine learning with cultural immersion for students. Since its establishment, ACIS has focused on creating educational tours that allow students to explore global destinations and gain practical knowledge outside the classroom. In recent developments, ACIS celebrated its 60th anniversary alongside its parent company AIFS, which supports 1.8 million travelers annually and awards $2 million in scholarships each year to promote educational travel.

ACIS continues to innovate by enhancing its tour offerings, which now include a range of new destinations and customized programs to meet diverse educational needs. The company remains committed to its mission of changing lives through travel, ensuring that students receive a comprehensive and enriching educational experience.

Travel For Teens

Travel For Teens is a leading organization in the educational tourism sector, specializing in providing culturally immersive travel experiences for teenagers. The company focuses on offering a range of programs that blend travel with educational opportunities, allowing teens to explore new cultures, learn languages, and gain valuable life skills. Recent developments at Travel For Teens include the launch of new programs that cater to diverse interests such as photography, marine biology, and culinary arts.

Additionally, the company has introduced virtual travel experiences to adapt to changing travel dynamics and to provide flexible learning options. These initiatives reflect Travel For Teens’ commitment to enhancing the educational travel experience and meeting the evolving needs of young travelers.

Rustic Pathways

Rustic Pathways is a prominent organization in the educational tourism sector, offering a variety of immersive travel experiences for students. The company focuses on creating programs that combine travel with meaningful service projects, cultural exchange, and personal growth. Recent developments at Rustic Pathways include the launch of new programs such as the Climate Leaders Fellowship Summit in Guatemala, which emphasizes environmental education and community service.

Additionally, Rustic Pathways has continued to expand its scholarship offerings, providing over $800,000 in financial aid to students in 2024 to make educational travel more accessible. These initiatives reflect Rustic Pathways’ commitment to fostering global citizenship and leadership skills among young travelers.

Global Educational Travel

Global Educational Travel, a prominent player in the educational tourism sector, focuses on offering enriching travel experiences that combine education and adventure. The organization designs programs that cater to students and educators, providing opportunities for cultural immersion, language learning, and hands-on educational activities. Recent developments at Global Educational Travel include the introduction of new travel programs to destinations such as Italy, Peru, and South Korea, which emphasize sustainable tourism and community engagement.

Additionally, the company has expanded its scholarship programs, offering financial aid to support more students in accessing these transformative travel experiences. These initiatives highlight Global Educational Travel’s commitment to enhancing educational tourism through innovative and accessible programs.

Road Scholar

Road Scholar, a nonprofit organization dedicated to lifelong learning and educational travel for older adults, continues to innovate and expand its offerings in the educational tourism sector. Recently, Road Scholar announced its new Floating Campus programs for 2024, featuring fully chartered shipboard learning adventures in regions such as Iceland, Scotland, and along the Mississippi River. These programs provide immersive educational experiences both onboard and onshore, with expert-led lectures and field trips.

Additionally, Road Scholar has expanded its popular Grandparent and Family programs, adding new destinations like Germany, Copenhagen, and the Amalfi Coast, catering to the growing demand for multigenerational travel experiences. These developments underscore Road Scholar’s commitment to providing enriching and accessible travel opportunities for lifelong learners.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the educational tourism market is positioned for strong growth, driven by economic empowerment, technological advancements, and increasing cultural curiosity. Despite facing challenges, integrating virtual and augmented reality, diversifying educational offerings, and targeted efforts in emerging markets present significant opportunities for market expansion.

Ongoing efforts to enhance program quality, safety, and cultural immersion will continue to attract learners and travelers, ensuring sustained growth in the market.

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Tajammul Pangarkar

Tajammul Pangarkar

Tajammul Pangarkar is a CMO at Prudour Pvt Ltd. Tajammul longstanding experience in the fields of mobile technology and industry research is often reflected in his insightful body of work. His interest lies in understanding tech trends, dissecting mobile applications, and raising general awareness of technical know-how. He frequently contributes to numerous industry-specific magazines and forums. When he’s not ruminating about various happenings in the tech world, he can usually be found indulging in his next favorite interest - table tennis.

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