A study published by FELTOM on the impact of COVID-19 on the English Language schools sector estimates that the net loss in economic activity could reach €88 million.

Carried out by Deloitte, the study also finds that Government revenue could decrease by 66 per cent due to the downturn in the industry’s economic activity. This is based on the VAT, income tax and NI generated by the industry.

In the instance of a best-case scenario, where a drop of 30 per cent of student arrivals is registered, that would translate into a drop of €15.2 million in Government-generated revenue.

Commenting on the study, FELTOM CEO James Perry said “The ELT sector is crucial to the tourism sector and to the country’s coffers. Sustained government aid is therefore of utmost importance for the sector. The industry will only start to recover once there are reduced health concerns and a substantial decrease in travel apprehension. This could still be a long way away.”

If the ELT industry is not sustained by wage supplements and cost contribution support through Government, the study found that 1,378 jobs could be on the line.

In 2019, total expenditure by ELT students amounted to approximately €145 million and accounted for 8.6 per cent of total tourist guest nights, with 3 per cent of all tourists being ELT students. The industry indirectly employs hundreds of host families and provides business to accommodation, transport providers, supermarkets and restaurants.

The study also finds that economic shocks caused by the pandemic have resulted in an 80 per cent loss of business for the ELT sector in 2020, where in the span of two weeks, cancellations by students increased from 4,000 to 20,000, with more cancellations in the subsequent weeks.

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