Earlier this month we launched our latest free report The State of Student Travel, brought to you in partnership with Student Universe.

Below is an extract. Get the full report here to get ahead of this trend.

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Chart 1

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With 300 million student-travel related arrivals expected by 2020, and those arrivals accounting for an estimated $320 billion dollars in revenue, the student traveler is oncoming, on the grow, and spending to make certain they get what they want.

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Chart 2

Part of the travel industry’s prize, when it comes to curating and cultivating relevant experiences for student travelers, is that of their life-long travel budgets. That is, capturing a portion of it — it can range from $40,000–$120,000 per individual — relies in large part upon the notion that future travel choices emerge in significant ways from experiences and patterns that occur during a consumer’s younger years.

Meanwhile, the student traveler’s budget runs from $1,000–$6,000 on a typical trip. To target the kind of experiences that attract students with these resources, it is important to recognize the significance of the Millennial generation, 18–24 years old. Relevant points surrounding their in-destination behaviors include the following.

  • Millennial travelers are keen to find themselves in relatively remote destinations.
  • Millennials are more inclined to stay in hostels than in traditional hotels.
  • Millennials remain in-journey longer, typically spending more than two months on a trip.

But the student traveler is not only a Millennial. They’re increasingly international, increasingly global, and bringing with them the details of their own cultural demographics.

Chart 1 shows a selection of countries of origin, when it comes to student travelers.

While the U.S. continues to reign supreme among students in terms of study and preferred destinations, China is not only growing in status as a student-travel target, it’s also expected to reach number one on the list for arrivals by 2015.

China’s global share “barely registered”, in 2001, according to ICEF Monitor, but by 2012 its international enrollment measured at some 8% of the market, worldwide. Furthermore, within the context of China’s National Plan for Medium and Long-term Education Reform and Development, the country has set a goal of attracting 500,000 foreign students by 2020.

“China wants to be seen as a major player internationally in terms of education,” Anthony Welch, a professor of international education at the University of Sydney, told ICEF.

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Photo Credit: Students in the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia. Monash University / Flickr