11 Jan

ABTA seeking views and input on new replacement training courses for students seeking a career in travel

ABTA is launching a survey seeking the views and input of its members and the wider travel industry on the content of new training courses for college students seeking a career in travel.

This follows the Government’s decision last year to defund all existing travel and tourism courses at level 3 colleges in England by September 2026. This is part of a larger plan to replace all level 3 qualifications in England. The survey seeks the view of industry experts and has a deadline of 31 January.

This survey is the latest strand in ABTA’s work in this area, following its creation of the Tourism Industry Skills Working Group last year. The working group brought together organisations from across the travel sector, as well as education representatives and travel and tourism course leaders and awarding organisations, to discuss and formulate alternative training options to attract young people to the industry.

ABTA and the working group have identified a route to getting new courses approved and held several meetings and workshops to consult the industry on what the courses should contain. This is an opportunity to ensure students taking these courses are better prepared for starting a career in travel, hospitality, or the events sector. To ensure a successful outcome, the working group need industry experts such as HR and education and training leads, to get involved in the final design of these courses.  Information gathered by the survey will be shared with relevant awarding bodies to enable them to develop the new courses which will start in September 2026, if and when they are approved in June.

The survey can be found here.

Luke Petherbridge, ABTA Director of Public Affairs, said:

“ABTA has worked hard with industry partners and education specialists to find a practical solution to the defunding of travel and tourism courses in England from September 2026. We now have a clear way ahead, and the opportunity to shape future college courses for young people with an interest in making a career within our industries is exciting.

“Our creation of the Tourism Industry Skills Working Group is the clearest possible indication of ABTA commitment to ensuring that the industry can continue to attract young people to the travel industry and of ABTA’s engagement in policy work and our expertise in education producing tangible results that will shape the future of our sector.

“However, the success of the working group’s efforts will depend on securing input from across the wider travel, tourism, and hospitality sectors. Consultation and engagement with a wide range of industry representatives is a vital part of the approvals process for new courses.  I would urge everyone with an interest in this area to take part and share your views. Please also share it widely with any industry colleagues or contacts that might be interested.”

Claire Steiner, Director of the Institute of Travel and Tourism said:

“It was heartening to see how all corners of our industry came together when the news of the defunding was announced a year ago.  This is a great opportunity for us to help shape the new courses for the next generation of travel professionals, show our continued support for these qualifications and ensure that they are fit for purpose.”


Notes to editors
Government reforms in England are defunding all existing travel and tourism courses at level 3 (colleges) by September 2026. Around 7,000 children currently take these courses across the country, but the reforms would potentially have meant no future entry route into the industry.

ABTA is a trade association for UK travel agents, tour operators and the wider travel industry. We’re the largest travel trade body, with over 4,600 travel brands in membership who have a combined pre-pandemic annual UK turnover of £40 billion. We work closely with our members to help raise and maintain standards and build a more sustainable travel industry, and provide travellers with advice, guidance and support.

Our members sign up to a code of conduct and commit to agreed service standards and fair trading. When you need clear travel information, and accurate and impartial advice relating to your trip, we’re here for you. When you book with an ABTA member, reliable advice comes as standard. This means that booking with our members brings peace of mind.

All this together means we help you travel with confidence. www.abta.com