In a positive move for UK ELT, the ban on Chinese tour groups coming to the UK has been lifted.
The Chinese government banned outbound group travel in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, lifting restrictions on 60 countries in January and March this year. The UK, US, South Korea, India and many European countries are among 78 countries named in the latest announcement on 10 August 2023.
Pre-pandemic, China was a significant market for short English language group courses in the UK, often school holiday trips.
Positive news for the UK ELT sector
English UK Chief Executive Jodie Gray says: ‘We’re really pleased about this news which we believe will be very positive for our members. We’ve really missed our Chinese groups as familiar faces in our schools, and their absence was an important factor in our slow recovery from Covid. We hope our members will be welcoming these groups back very soon.’
Mark Henebury, English Language & Teacher Training Specialist – Department for Business and Trade commented on LinkedIn: ‘Will 2024 be a record-breaking year for the UK ELT sector? We have challenges to overcome, but this is really positive news!’
In 2018, the last full pre-pandemic year, China was the second biggest source market for English UK member centres with 204,225 student weeks, 11.3% of the total. In 2022 Chinese students came for 69,168 student weeks, 5.3% of the total number.
In November 2023 English UK’s China Roadshow returns for the first time since the pandemic and will visit Beijing and Shenzhen.