Youth travellers are seeking to experience new cultures, customs and opportunities to live like a local, however this pursuit comes with its own risks. How do providers and we as an industry achieve quality through a sensible balance of risk mitigation, certification and regulation? What is the role of regulation vs certification, do either address traveller safety or ensure the quality of the products that are available?  A host of views were raised throughout the panel.  

Christina Thomas of World Learning, a member of Federation EIL commented ‘Exchange providers need to come together to elevate the conversation around standards, quality and accountability’.   

Andrew Proctor, Managing Director of African Impact emphasised the importance of cultural education and responsibility of travellers to understand their own safety standards to ensure they are safe ‘education rather than regulation’.

The requirements for a holistic view between continents sharing knowledge and standard practices was also explored ‘Regulation and exemplary standards are two sides of one coin… European government defines safety standard, other government want areas to selfregulate, relying on the local communities to find a solution to local safety issues’ Joël Marier, Vice President, EBI Consulting Group 

With a variety of views and stakeholders who can potentially work towards ensuring the safety of travellers across the globe the conversation continues; who is the right entity to evaluate and confirm quality programmes, the providers, the independent travel bodies or government regulation mechanisms? What role do associations representing industry have in bringing together organisations and bodies for setting standards or certifying quality?

Thank you to our panel of speakers for opening an interesting and very relevant discussion during #WYSTC.