Write to your MP ahead of this Thursday's debate on support for the tourism industry
7 September 2020

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Write to your MP ahead of this Thursday's debate on support for the tourism industry

The Leader of the House of Commons has announced that there will be a general debate on support for the tourism industry after the Covid-19 lockdown on Thursday 10 September.

We urge members and stakeholder to write to their MP today encouraging them to attend the debate and speak in support of the UK ELT sector as an important part of the tourism industry. They should emphasise that ELT needs to be included in any specific, additional government support measures targeted at the tourism industry.

Along with a personal message on the impact of Covid-19 on your tourism-based ELT organisation, you may wish to draw on the following points.

1. UK ELT straddles education and tourism

Students who travel to the UK to learn English do so for more than just language learning. They travel for an immersive experience, learning about the traditions, history and culture of the UK. They visit our attractions, museums, galleries, monuments, stately homes and historic castles. They shop in our shops and dine in our restaurants.

  • Just over half (54%) of all students are aged under 18
  • Many come to the UK for short language holidays in January, Easter and most of all in the summer
  • The majority of under-18s learn in privately-run ELT centres, where they stay for an average of 1.8 student weeks
  • In 2019, adults in privately-run centres stayed, on average, for 4.9 student weeks, and in the state sector for 10.9 weeks.

2. Ongoing impact of Covid-19

ELT is a seasonal industry and for many centres, missing the important Easter and summer peaks will mean little or no income until spring 2021. Many centres have earned almost nothing this year with an 81.7% reduction in student weeks between January and September 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

  • 80% of English UK member centres anticipate that they will see between zero and 20% market recovery in 2020
  • 75% English UK member centres anticipate that they will see only 40-60% market recovery in 2021.

The impact on market confidence has been catastrophic. Student travellers and their families feel it is safer for them to remain at home. They are uncertain about travelling to the UK and are worried about their language learning experience in the UK during a global pandemic.

3. Impact of changes to the travel corridors list since July 2020

The removal of two of the UK ELT sector's top ten source markets – Spain and France - from the travel corridors list has stymied any nascent recovery with immediate cancellations reported.

  • Between July and September, UK ELT centres would expect to host around 90,000 student weeks from Spain and France
  • Between October and December, this figure would normally be 30,000
  • With the average length of stay at 2.5 weeks, it is highly unlikely that students will travel from these countries while quarantine measures are in place.

4. How the UK Government can help kickstart UK ELT after Covid-19

English UK, the national association for the UK's English language teaching sector, published a position paper on 20 July 2020. Our sector's asks of Government are focused and targeted. They will help UK ELT to weather this storm, kickstart recovery and retain our position as the number one global destination for students to learn English.

Useful references:

The general debate is on Thursday 10 September.

Please write to your MP now and encourage them to attend. Together our voice is louder


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