A new Australian peak body, the Student Educational Travel Organisation (SETO), has been established under the umbrella of the Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO). The newly established not for profit company will lead the educational travel sector in areas of governance, advocacy, and education with a vision to accelerate education outside of the classroom, ensuring every student can access and benefit from experiential learning opportunities achieved through travel.
SETO has been set up to function as a conduit between the travel and education sectors incorporating specialist educational travel tour operators, suppliers, teachers, schools, and universities.
Brett Jardine, CATO and SETO Managing Director said, “The formation of SETO was something that CATO had been planning over the past two years. We acknowledged there was a need in the market for specialisation in the growing educational travel sector. COVID has allowed us the time to appoint a SETO board of directors that reflects the niche market of educational travel and they have worked tirelessly on bringing the idea to fruition. We are delighted to unveil the new Australian peak body to provide an important voice to this market at this crucial time as borders begin to open.”
There are 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. Education and exploration outside the classroom, covers such programs as study tours, sports tours, ski trips, music and performance tours, language immersion trips, expeditions, and service trips, all forming an essential part of student life.
Jardine noted, “SETO was the inspiration of CATO board member David Walker who has been appointed as the inaugural Chairman. SETO will fill a gap in the industry, with the idea gaining momentum through the collaboration of existing CATO members specialising in the field of education travel. Anne-Marie Mitchell of GET Education Tours, Jamie Wansey of Student Horizons, Liz Anderson of Sundowners Overland and Pete Fletcher of World Challenge, all providing extensive input in the initial stages with each of their respective businesses recognised as founding members.
Walker who is also Managing Director of Educational Adventures said, “Learning outside the classroom is an essential part of student development as they move towards their future career in the real world. SETO is committed to ensuring these student opportunities continue to grow, in a safe and sustainable travel environment supported by an elevated level of quality assurance.
“For teachers who organise student school trips, the happiness and wellbeing of the student provides the teacher with their greatest reward and knowledge that the student is broadening their horizons, becoming more culturally aware and experiencing a positive impact on their personal development,” he said.
Membership of SETO is a hallmark of competence and integrity for student travel tour operators and suppliers of products and/or services for the Australian travel education sector. SETO certified members are specialists who work in conjunction with education departments and schools to make the student's journey a more meaningful and safer experience.
Membership applications are now open for Tour Operator/Wholesaler Membership, Dual SETO/CATO Membership and Associate Membership at www.seto.net.au