President, Jean-Antoine Texier, explained that after a trial run last summer, the company believes the combination of travel and education (and floating classroom) will appeal to school groups globally that are seeking new twists on education travel and keen to consider options beyond standard language courses abroad.
Echoing comments made by the CEO of STB in Brazil, Texier said the market was looking for innovative products. He believes a week-long trip from the south of France to Spain and then southern and northern Italy will appeal to “schools who have lost interest in language courses abroad and could get back to travel with a cross-curriculum programme like this”.
France-based Horizons du Monde, also trading in the UK as Language World Tours, sells its products direct to school partners around the world rather than direct to consumers.
Cross-curriculum programmes, mixing language with other topics such as history or human sciences, are now dragging more interest from schools and students
Texier noted, “Some of the emerging markets still consider that educational travel starts with university and that it should only be fun and discovery before.” He said China and India fell into this category of consumer.
“We hope this product will bring more under 18 to travel. Our partner organisations in these countries are very enthusiastic about this product,” he added.
Texier noted that there had been a decline in interest in just language courses abroad from various partners in North and South America and offered an explanation as to why:
“Our experience [in the US] with high schools, colleges and universities, has been that cross-curriculum programmes, mixing language with other topics such as history or human sciences, are now dragging more interest from schools and students,” he observed.
“Some schools and universities even give credits in all topics covered by the trip to the students who travel, which is a very valuable argument for the students and their parents as they then feel it is worth investing money on the trip.”
Texier pointed out that the involvement of teachers and “our preparation work hand-in-hand with the teachers” was essential to achieve this outcome.
As for South America in the “most high end schools” which Horizons du Monde works with, Texier said the students in these schools have usually travelled the world with their parents and are quite “jaded” with the standard language trips offered.
“They need something new and refreshing. More than ever before, students now need a strong entertainment aspect to accept the educational part of a programme.”