By Brett Jardine, Managing Director, Council of Australian Tour Operators
LAST month we were thrilled to announce a new Australian peak body, the Student Educational Travel Organisation (SETO), established under the umbrella of CATO. The not-for-profit company will lead the educational travel sector in areas of governance, advocacy, and education with a vision to accelerate education outside the classroom. SETO members strive to ensure every student can access and benefit from experiential learning opportunities through travel.
SETO has been in planning for over two years and will act as a conduit between the travel and education sectors incorporating specialist educational travel tour operators, suppliers, teachers, schools, and universities. We had identified the need for specialisation in the growing education travel sector and as it turns out the timing was ideal with borders opening this month.
Many don’t realise there are approximately 10,600 schools and universities in Australia, with over five million students, 89% of these students are under 18 years of age and excited to learn through travel exploration. This includes programs like study and sports tours, ski trips, music and performance tours, language immersion trips, expeditions, and service trips.
SETO was the inspiration of CATO board member David Walker who has been appointed as the inaugural Chairman and he was supported by Anne-Marie Mitchell of GET Education Tours, Jamie Wansey of Student Horizons, Liz Anderson of Sundowners Overland and Pete Fletcher of World Challenge who all provided extensive input and expertise in the initial stages with each of their respective businesses recognised as founding members.
Lockton Australia has also formally become SETO’s major corporate sponsor with a significant financial contribution that will assist the roll-out of the association and the development of specific student-related travel insurance products. Lockton is currently working on tailored insurance programs and risk management services, including innovative risk transfer solutions that will be exclusive to SETO members. Membership applications are open at www.seto.net.au.