Contents - April 2008

Special Report
Widening the net
Executive courses focused entirely on the business market are becoming increasingly popular in many language travel destinations. And schools are investing in this sector of the business by providing specialist facilities and more tailored courses. Bethan Norris finds out what’s new in the world of executive language learning and also how this sector differs from other language travel provision worldwide.

French and cooking
With so many regional gastronomic specialities to offer, France is an attractive destination for food lovers. And language travellers can combine their love of the French language with their love of the local cuisine by combining a language course with instruction in various cooking skills.

Canada’s real welcome
Language school staff in Canada are proud advocates of their city/town and country as the perfect place to study English. Jane Vernon Smith finds out why.


An eye to growth

Consolidation in the industry is an interesting area to report on and I was slightly surprised by how upbeat many agencies were when giving their opinions on takeovers and acquisitions. Despite this being a very loyal industry, many agents said they had no qualms at all about continuing a business relationship with a school, even if key staff members left, because they believed staff changes, and ownership overhaul, could result in a better service. Clearly, our readers have faith in a school’s decision to sell, to whom to sell, and they have good expectations of what takeovers can mean for them in the long-run (pages 20-22).

With the news that Navitas (previously IBT) has further expanded its empire, with the purchase of Hawthorn English Language Centre in Melbourne and Muscat, Oman (page 6), this article was timely in its assessment of a trend towards takeovers and acquisitions. With some of the larger groups in our industry keeping their schools branded as separate institutions rather than as part of a chain, knowing the ownership status of a school is also becoming harder to decipher.

On the agency side, less consolidation is apparent, with the business of selling study programmes overseas seeming to be a national rather than an international business in the main. But one company bucking that trend is iAE Group (iAEG), which began in Korea but, aside from Korea-wide offices, now has branches or partner offices in China, Taiwan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Mexico, Malaysia and Myanmar.

The group has designed its own computer system for use in all of its offices (page 8) and hints at further link-ups soon to be announced in Japan and Brazil.

Aside from linking up with other agency businesses, a further way for agencies to grow their potential, of course, is to expand their portfolio and look at new sectors that tap into demand for experiential travel and learning. And as we report in this issue, many study abroad agencies are looking at work placements overseas as an obvious next step (page 56). Revenue-earning potential is not as good as in the language travel sector, say agents already working in the sector, but they acknowledge that the interest and volume potential is there, as, certainly with paid work programmes, the opportunity to recoup the cost of travel overseas means many more students can consider it.

For agencies to grow and flourish, they might want to consider diversification if not covert consolidation.

An eye to growth

Navitas expands reach in Canada, Australia and UK
Study Group to open new study centre in the USA
Italian agency shuns Malta
Internet embraced for language study
New look for BAC
Korea to introduce English medium classes
QE’s membership is growing

Agency News
Agents get BC qualified in India
First iAE Global directors conference held in Seoul
STA Travel links with GoLearnTo

Agency Survey
Italy feels the pinch
Economic and political troubles had a negative effect on the study abroad industry in Italy last year, although agents hope that new programmes and increased marketing will bring in new business over the next 12 months.

New Zealand
Asia was well represented in this year’s Feedback survey on New Zealand. Meanwhile, a majority of respondents were learning the language for current or future work purposes.

Open to offers
Recent industry acquisitions include Kaplan Aspect and Navitas buying schools in Canada and/or Australia. Are takeovers to continue to pepper the industry landscape and what does this mean for agents? Amy Baker investigates.

Course Guide
UK exam preparation
Exam preparation courses are a big part of industry business and many UK schools offer either Ielts or Toefl preparation lessons to those intending to go on to to further education in an English speaking country. These intensive preparation classes are a great way of equipping students with the skills and techniques required to sit an examination. However, schools also offer other exam models like Cambridge or Toeic.

Ireland 2007
The Status survey is a venture by Language Travel Magazine that aims to gather specific market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world. Through our initiative, it is now possible to compare world market statistics.