February 21st marks the annual UNESCO observance of International Mother Language Day (IMLD). Dedicated to promoting linguistic heritage and international languages, IMLD was first established in Bangladesh to mark the fight for recognition of the Bangla language. To celebrate the occasion, we’re putting language learning holidays under the microscope to uncover the benefits they can offer to guests and tour operators alike.

Activity-related holidays have been gaining popularity in recent years. With travel becoming more affordable and commonplace, it is estimated that 280 million households globally will make at least one international trip per year by 2025. With more frequent and longer distance trips, travellers are increasingly turning their backs on sun and sand in favour of activity- and skill-based holidays. From mindfulness retreats to adventure activities, there is demand for vacations with a difference. Language learning holidays are no exception — in place of stuffy classrooms, people are opting to immerse themselves in the culture of a country. Imagine studying in Germany and hitting the slopes in the afternoons, or navigating Spanish in Peru while hiking Machu Picchu — slightly different to how I remember my school days. No matter your country of residence, all tour operators can offer a language learning experience. With qualified teachers, an interesting location, and plenty of extracurricular or skill-building activities, adding a language learning option to your portfolio can be of great benefit to your company.

Benefits of Language Learning Abroad:

  • Develop a deeper understanding of the culture of a country.
  • Build relationships with the locals (while practicing, of course).
  • Expand on career opportunities by adding a language to your portfolio.
  • Acquire an oftentimes essential skill in a global world.
  • Achieve the personal goal of learning another language.
  • Understand and appreciate the literature, music, art, and folklore of other cultures.

Benefits for Tour Operators:

Of the benefits to tour operators, adding another revenue stream is by far the greatest. If your tour company specialises in a separate venture such as food tours, you automatically increase the chances of increasing your bookings. Madonie Holidays, a sail and food tour company in Cefalù, Sicily, have honed in on the demand for cultural and linguistic immersion in the Italian language. Offering their guests the opportunity to embark on a language learning holiday, Madonie Holidays provides quality teachers, modern classrooms, and the opportunity to get up close and personal to the people and culture of their beautiful island. While customers of the course are primarily seeking a quality learning experience, students can also opt to stay in one of their centrally located apartments or choose one of their sailing or gastronomic tours.

While it may not be feasible for your company now (it requires teachers, a classroom set-up, and curriculum), tour operators offering language courses certainly target tourists looking for a purposeful holiday with a difference, and often succeed in landing sales through additional tours and activities. You can take a look at Madonie Holidays’ site for inspiration, or get in touch with any questions you may have at emma.russell@tourismtiger.com.


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