Active Board of Director: Adele Youngs

Adele Youngs

Director, Live Travel and Tours

Please describe your experience as a volunteer within or outside the travel community.

I have worked as a volunteer for SYTA in many ways as I believe it is important that we all share what we can within our community. I was a member of the Board of Directors in the “at large” Associate position for 1 year from 2010-11, and am currently serving as the International “at large” Board Director. I have been a member of SYTA’s International Committee since it was founded in 2008 (when it was still a “Taskforce”), and held the role of Chair of that Committee for three years. I also help out as a regular mentor for new international members coming to Conference for the first time. Here at home I am a member of the European Tour Operator Association’s Advisory Council (a voluntary body) which gives me the opportunity to share experiences among our European family of tourism businesses.

Please describe your professional experience in the student travel industry.

I have worked within student travel all my career. I began whilst still a student myself leading US high school tours in Europe. I decided to make student travel my career when, on one of these trips, a 16-year old boy made me cry. I had taken a small group to the top of the Eiffel Tower and one boy suddenly announced, with tears in his eyes, “I worked for 2 years washing cars to help raise the money for this trip and this moment is worth every one of those cars.” I have worked in student travel ever since, partly in honor of that moment, following my realisation of how important travel, and particularly international travel, is to young people – it can truly change their lives. I have undertaken just about every role professionally, from tour guiding, to operations, to product development and running my business, as well as organising our annual international youth music festival in London.

Please describe other professional or personal experience that would benefit you as a Board member.

In addition to my previous and current roles on the SYTA BOD and International Committee, I have joined other SYTA colleagues over a number of years in sharing international knowledge in various webinars and articles for SYTA members, including topics such as marketing, destination information and safety in Europe. This experience has helped me understand the concerns and questions that members have about traveling internationally. In addition, I, along with the International Committee, have recently worked closely with other SYTA members on the production of the International Safety Resource and the 10 Point Plan – a document co-created with other international travel associations aimed at enhancing the value of student travel within the worldwide travel industry.

Please describe why you would like to serve as a Board of Director (Active) or Vice President (Active).

SYTA was the first association my company joined when we created it in 2008. The value to us of being members has been immense and I have always sought to give back in any way I can. I have very much enjoyed my two one-year tenures on the SYTA Board of Directors and, by standing for a three-year position this year, I would hope to be in a position to be able to offer more to the SYTA Leadership in terms of my experience and commitment.

What do you see as the challenges facing the student travel industry? What can SYTA do to meet those challenges?

I think that safety is clearly a very important matter of concern currently, both for domestic and international travel. I think that sharing experiences on safety issues from as many areas globally as possible can only enhance the knowledge that SYTA can offer its members, whatever destinations they offer. I also believe that the promotion of student travel can be hindered by politics, global events, and even by the actions of some travel companies – challenges which affect us all. SYTA has an incredibly important role to play in this area and works so hard to promote the value of student travel to all, whether domestically or internationally.