Shaik Shibli: Defining a Unique Perspective by Coupling Education with Travel
Shaik Shibli
Shaik Shibl | Head of Marketing, EduVoyage

With the motto enriching education with travel, Shaik Shibli, Head of Marketing of EduVoyage (an ITL World Company) strives to curate immersive travelers opportunities for young travelers and students. The firm itself feels pride on instilling a sense of wonder into the world of learners by means of a voyage and experience.

Let’s see how Mr. Shaik and the firm does that.

Please introduce yourself and your journey in the education sector, to our readers, and also tell us your views about the educational tourism industry?

I’m Shaik Shibli, Head of Marketing at ITL World, a tr a vel conglomerate based in the Middle East.

Since inception, our expertise has spread across Corporate, Leisure, VIP, MICE and Education T r a vel. Subsequently, the company has branched out into five sub-brands, all forces reckoned with in their respective areas – ‘ITL World Elite’ ( exclusive bespoke tr a vel), ‘MICEminds’ (catering to the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events/Exhibitions), ‘Arabian Experience’ (a fully-fledged Destination Management Company), ‘Tripmakers’ (a state of the art B2B portal & destination management company in UK and the FarEast) and ‘EduVoyage’ (enriching Education with Travel), making it a comprehensive portfolio of travel related products and services to diverse realms/industries.

The education tourism industry is particularly exciting, the student traveler currently representing one-fifth of all international arrivals in the travel industry. This demographic is willing to spend, to create experiences that go far be yond the backpack-and-party model that once characterized educational journeys abroad.

In the Middle East region, students in several private & public schools and universities enjoy an average of 1 or 2 school trips per annum and the momentum being seen on this front is particularly gratifying for us at EduVoyage.

Tell us more about EduVoyage, its offerings and about its distinction in the global market.

EduVoyage introduces students to the world be yond just the amazing sights and immerse them in knowledge, culture, and inspiration. Where possible, students are given opportunities to engage in community services or interact with other students and teachers from a local institution, making their trip a responsible one and giving them e ye-opening experiences.

Meeting the needs of multinational students, parents, and teachers, EduVoyage follows stringent measures to ensure quality, safety, and security. Every aspect of the trip is thoroughly inspected to ensure suitability and compliance with safety measures. In addition to faculties from the institutions and local guides, all trips are accompanied by an experienced member of EduVoyage for 24/7 on the ground assistance. Moreover, all our student travel is mandatorily protected with Travel Insurance. EduVoyage is also a full-time member of WYSE (World Youth & Student Education) Travel Confederation.

At EduVoyage, we specialize in a variety of student trips from nature-based e xcursions to cultural & scientific immersion programs. We understand that educational tr a vel provides a special way to pursue specialized interests while also gaining a unique perspective of the world. In the Middle East region, we are witnessing interest in Space Camp certification, aviation-related and student exchange programs. Volunteering programs are also gaining momentum, and this includes Teaching Aid, Healthcare and Construction.

Brief us about EduVoyage’s partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai and what can the audience expect from your company?

The upcoming Expo 2020 Dubai (first-e ver World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region) will take place from October 2021 for a period of 6 months, promises to have an immersive visitor experience & will drive in a global student & youth audience to showcase the best in sustainable innovation. This is yet another opportunity for educational institutions worldwide to hone in skills and put practicality back in the student’s home country. EduVoyage signed an agreement to this effect with Expo 2020 Dubai. The partnership will promote Expo 2020 Dubai from an educational perspective and is poised to bring a global student and youth audience to the largest e vent e ver held in the Arab World. Youth are the heart of the Expo – they are an important part of the overall visitor group and we would like to reach and inform them about this great event taking place and its benefits. Themed as ‘the greatest show in the world’ and we will manage turnkey logistics required to support all requirements ensuring we enrich education with travel. Designed to bring together nations and international organizations on one platform to share knowledge and to showcase debuting breakthroughs and technology, which will promote collaboration in global education, creative innovation, and social progress.

Be it the 190+ country pavilions with their own innovative and sustainable projects or the hands-on workshops, multi-lingual guides, special events like TEDx, not to mention 60+ Live Acts per day and 200+ F&B outlets to enjoy, you really cannot beat the truly immersive experience of Expo 2020 Dubai.

Apart from everything a world expo offers, the Dubai edition will have seven unique immersive experiences. These include:

• Innovation & Technology

• Science & Sustainability

• Arts, Architecture & Design

• Mega-event planning & operations

• Business & Entrepreneurship

• Construction & Engineering

• International Studies & Media

With these seven subject-themed topics, EduVoyage will curate educational tours for the Expo 2020 student programme offering the youth audience an opportunity to broaden their horizons by making the world their classroom.

As a marketer, what challenges have you faced while building a career in the educational tourism domain?

Each educational setting presents its own challenges and barriers, but with increased awareness of taking the class out of a room, and ample grants and scholarship opportunities, we hope that we are able to make educational travel a reality for more of our students than at present. The good news is today’s generation of young people are more informed, more mobile and more adventurous than ever before, which bodes well for the future of the industry as a whole.

What according to you are the shortcomings of this industry, and what could be the ways to overcome them?

In the Middle East region, there is a scarcity of genuine educational suppliers who can organize educational and vocational trips, such as factory visits, data labs etc. Also, ‘Work & Travel’ programs are a rarity in this region, especially for region in-bound travel. We are working closely with suppliers and educational institutions to change this and bring in global best practices to enhance our regional program offering.

What would be your advice to the aspiring professionals in the education sector?

At root, we are all thinking people, and our individual and collective intellect underpin all societal, economic, and environmental progress. Educational travel that encourages critical observation can coax this innate quality out of us all even further. Teaching professionals and communities are already working hard to bring the world into student classrooms with culturally diverse curricula, but there is no substitute for seeing it for oneself.

What does the future hold for you as well as for EduVoyage, in terms of expansion or introduction of new offerings?

Be it space camps, innovation & architectural tours, or even volunteering programs, EduVoyage is privileged to have served more than 7000+ student and youth movements in the Middle East region to various destinations around the world. With tailor-made Itineraries and an incomparable portfolio of solutions and bespoke arrangements, EduVoyage continues to play an integral role in enriching Education with Travel. We continue to expand aggressively into the Indian Sub-Continent.

But what is really going to take us to the next level is our collaboration with Expo 2020. As specialists in youth and student travel, EduVoyage’s comprehensive and bespoke Expo 2020 program is truly incomparable. From flights to accommodations to visa support services, tours and insurance and everything in between, we are closely working with the Expo 2020 to

put together a wholesome, one-of-a-kind experience that is certain to appeal to students and parents alike.

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