The popularity of education tourism in China has been steadily increasing, with more than 6 million people participating in study tours last year, according to a report released by the China Tourism Academy on Monday. This number surpasses the pre-pandemic figure of 4.8 million in 2019, as reported by the Education, Science, Culture and Public Health Committee of the National People’s Congress.
During a forum on Monday, Luo Shugang, director of the committee, highlighted the key difference between study travel and other tourism products. He emphasized that study travel focuses on learning while traveling, making it an ideal option for individuals seeking to gain knowledge while experiencing new cultures.
According to historical records, study travel can be traced back to the Song and Ming dynasties. During this time, many poets wrote about their experiences on study travels. This indicates that the concept of education tourism has been present in China for centuries.
Education tourism offers a unique and enriching experience for people of all ages. It allows individuals to broaden their horizons by exploring new destinations while also learning about their history, culture, and society. Additionally, study travel provides an opportunity for individuals to enhance their language skills, gain a deeper understanding of different perspectives, and foster cross-cultural communication.
The rise in popularity of education tourism in China is a testament to the country’s rich history and culture. As more people seek to gain knowledge and broaden their horizons through travel, study tours are becoming an increasingly popular option. Whether it is exploring historical sites or learning a new language, education tourism offers a unique opportunity to experience the world in a meaningful way.
“The nation formed an industry for study travel during the period of reform and opening-up, which has seen rapid development in the past decade,” he said, adding that students in primary and middle schools are so far the main participants in education tourism.
Dai Bin, president of the Chinese Tourism Academy, said at the forum that the development of education tourism has promoted the social education of primary and middle school students, which has also played an important role in blending culture and tourism.
He suggested that China establish national campsites for study travel at places with beautiful natural views and rich cultural heritage.
However, according to Luo, the committee director, the nation’s education tourism still faces problems in its development, such as having a weak connection with the national curriculum, and fewer practice opportunities during trips.
The development of education tourism has outpaced the market supervision, which is hindered by the absence of State-level market entry requirements. As a result, the domestic education tourism market is still in its nascent stage, with many entities such as travel agencies and consultancies entering the market. This has necessitated the formation and implementation of requirements or standards by the government bodies to strengthen market supervision while maintaining the industry’s positive momentum.
According to a spokesperson, the government’s primary task should be to support the development of education tourism while also tightening market supervision by creating and enforcing entry requirements and standards. This is essential to ensure that the industry remains robust and that consumers’ interests are protected.
Xu Huayu, president of Anhui Global Culture Tourism Group, believes that a shortage of talent is also impeding the growth of education tourism. He observed that many people involved in education tourism are former travel agency employees or people seeking to make a quick profit. To address this challenge, the industry needs to produce more professional study travel guides and recruit talented individuals to develop curriculums that will be used during study travels.
Moreover, a State-level standard is required to help the industry better establish recruiting requirements and training for employees. This will ensure that the personnel involved in education tourism possess the necessary qualifications and experience to provide high-quality services to consumers. The absence of such standards also creates uncertainty and confusion for consumers seeking educational travel experiences.
In conclusion, education tourism is a rapidly growing industry in need of robust market supervision and skilled personnel. The government must take a proactive approach in creating State-level market entry requirements and standards, while the industry must prioritize the recruitment and training of professional study travel guides to provide high-quality services. With the right steps taken, education tourism will continue to grow and provide enriching experiences to travelers while protecting their interests.