WYSE Youth Research – Good Summer Reading

In May WYSE came out with their Youth Travel Industry Monitor – it makes for good reading if you haven’t seen it already. Some highlights below:

– Although increased marketing efforts continued to be important in influencing business throughout 2009, there was
a marked increase in the importance of new partnerships, which were mentioned by almost 60% of respondents as
an important factor influencing their business in 2009. This demonstrates the importance of efforts made to develop
these links as the business climate began to deteriorate. In many cases, the full benefit of such partnerships may
not have been felt until market conditions began to recover in the later part of 2009.

– The decline in the volume of business reported for 2009 in comparison with 2008 was only -0.3%. This seems to
confirm that the decline in demand that many respondents reported in the first part of 2009 was reversed later in
the year and that many sectors of the industry are now beginning to see some growth again.
– The trend towards renewed growth in some sectors is also clear from the distribution of growth reported by youth
travel organisations. In 2009, almost a quarter of respondents reported growth of 15% or more compared with
– These results indicate that the youth travel industry preformed much more strongly than the global travel industry
as a whole in 2009. The UNWTO reported a decline in international tourism of -4% over the whole of 2009, which means that the youth travel industry’s performance was 3.7% ahead of the rest of the market in 2009.

– Looking at longer-term trends, it seems that demand, product availability and costs are closely related. These three
indicators all fell as demand softened in early 2009. However, as economic recovery set in with the northern
hemisphere’s summer months of 2009, demand, availability and costs all rose. Demand increases stimulated a
significant growth in product availability, with a slightly slower increase in prices.


2 thoughts on “WYSE Youth Research – Good Summer Reading

  1. Thanks for calling attention to the WYSE report. Those of us who are members of WYSTC and WYSE receive the reports way ahead of the general public and so we have this information for altering strategies if necessary. One of many good reasons to join.

    A couple of quick things to note from the quotes you picked out, coming from a “sending” perspective:

    1. Senders use the Internet for marketing. It makes a huge difference to know what is happening in this space globally. Senders who belong to organizations that are not global are missing out on what is going on in reality. For example, if you are a sender or receiver and you aren’t developing new partnerships with others in this space, this study suggests you are falling behind. You can copy other organizations’ programs and you can trot out your programs as a $160 “come on” but in the end, if you’re not partnering up with new organizations to work together…you’re on borrowed time. (More on pricing below.)

    2. If you were flat or up in 2009 against 2008…you are, according to this report, tracking on point. That’s what was going on in the real WORLD, not just the U.S. for example. If you were down substantially in 2009 against 2008 you are bucking the global trend if you trust these numbers.

    3. Demand for programs has increased globally. That has caused increased availability. Demand is being met. What is disturbing, and I’ve written about it here in my comments before, is COSTS are also increasing ahead of prices. This causes organizations to first of all lay off staff. Next is pulling back on programming because after all, that programming is causing the increase in costs. So senders who come out with below cost pricing are putting the industry at risk, overall.

    4. Lastly, Receivers have started marketing for their own volunteers to counteract the lower numbers of volunteers they are receiving. This ironically contributes to the potential of downward spirals because Receivers can certainly (and do) charge far less than a Sender.

    You have to belong to a global organization. In this example, WYSTC or WYSE, (but there are others) and then as you attend global events and meet with hundreds of senders and receivers around the world you gain unique insights into the real world of volunteering abroad and you examine the health of the industry and measure your own organization’s health vs. what you literally see in front of you when you are with hundreds of global organizations for a week.

    Thanks again for posting the report.

  2. Hi Randy (And Alexia) thanks for these interesting insights. I’d just like to chip in from a receivers’ perspective here in Africa, and as one who markets directly as well as values our partnerships with senders, organisations such as WYSE and a global voluntourism industry as a whole. We find it invaluable to be able to receive volunteers through two channels (sending partners and directly), as this hedges our risks and also ensures that a certain percentage of our placements have slightly higher funding available to ensure progressive development and sustainability. This ultimately increases the quality of our projects on the ground and contributes extremely positively to the ‘cycle’ of sustainable voluntourism and higher quality programs for both the participants and stakeholders on the ground.

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