(ECNS) -- Chinese travel website Tuniu Corp said its overseas study tours have become popular among increasingly younger customers eager to experience Western culture.
Statistics from the website showed teenagers are the main participants in these tours, with 49 percent in middle school and 24 percent in high school. Even elementary students have started joining the trips, accounting for 11 percent. Some parents also brought their pre-school children to participate in overseas summer camps and study tours.
Families with an annual income of 200,000 yuan (,400) are most interested in sending their children abroad during the summer holiday, while those with lower incomes also plan to spend on the study tours, it showed.
Some white-collar workers, about 7 percent, also chose tours that combined travel with studying.
Among the tourists, 65 percent said they want to broaden their vision and increase knowledge, while 58 percent said they hope to boost their language competency and 52 percent aim to experience Western culture.
The top elements affecting destination choices were culture, university reputation, weather, visa policies and safety. The United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Australia were the top five countries for these trips. Canada, Japan and Singapore are also expected to see more study tourists in future.
Most tourists (45 percent) choose a 2 to 4-week trip, and 30 percent take a 1 to 2-week trip. About 70 percent made their trips during school summer holidays, mainly to the U.S. and U.K, while the rest travelled in January during the winter holiday, mainly to counties in the southern hemisphere.
It also found that 47 percent of parents could afford spending an average of 20,000 to 30,000 yuan on overseas study trips while 37 percent chose trips that cost less than 20,000 yuan.
Popular choices on the website include a 14-day trip to the east and west coasts of the United States plus a visit to famed universities, a 15-day study trip to San Diego, California, and a 16-day study trip to Canada.