London has beaten New York and Sydney in a survey of preferred city destinations for students and the under-25s.
London was named top destination by 61 per cent of the agents and travel providers surveyed by the World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation, compared with 58 per cent for New York and 38 per cent for Sydney.
And the UK was only narrowly beaten by the US in a country ranking for all types of under-25 travel. It scored 9.3, compared with 9.4 for the US and 9.1 for Canada.
Results were similar for language travel, with the US in a narrow lead at 9.5, the UK on 9.4 and Canada on 9.3. However, the UK was dominant on higher education, ranked first with 9.8, with Canada in second position, Australia/New Zealand in third and the US coming fourth.
Tony Millns, chief executive of English UK, said: "Given the relative size of the US and the UK, these country results are quite astounding. That, and the strong vote for London, demonstrate that despite the bad publicity about student visas, the UK retains a very powerful reputation both for the quality of its international education and as a must-visit destination for young people."
The WYSE survey suggests that visa problems may not be unique to the UK. Almost half of the agents and travel providers surveyed said the US was the worst country for visa problems (48 per cent), followed by Canada on 46 per cent and the UK on 40 per cent. Australia, in fourth place, scored just 21 per cent.