April 2009 issue

Agency News
Agency Survey
Market Report
Special Report
Course Guide
City Focus

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Mexico slips

Economic uncertainty is having an impact on the outbound market in Mexico. However, rather than not travel, it seems language students are opting for short-term study programmes instead. Meanwhile, since 2007, high school programmes have become a bigger business sector.

Key points
• The total number of students placed by the 10 agencies in our survey was 2,267

• Individual agencies placed between 12 and 1,335 students on courses per year

• Average business growth was 2.3 per cent in the last 12 months

• The average length of stay for Mexican students was five weeks

• Overall, 82 per cent of Mexican students stayed in host family accommodation

• Language learning overseas accounted for 53 per cent of overall agency business

Canada remains the most popular destination for English study, with 54 per cent market share

Top destinations Most popular courses
1. Canada 54%
2. UK 19%
3. Australia 12%
4. France 5.5%
5. USA 3%
6. Germany 1.5%
7. New Zealand 1%
7. Ireland 1%
9. Italy 0.5%
9. China 0.5%
Other 4%
1. General 41%
2. Intensive 26%
3. Summer vacation 16%
4. Junior 8%
5. Lang. & work experience 3%
6. Academic/exam prep. 2%
7. Business 1%
8. University foundation 0.5%
Other 2.5%

Reasons for language travel Average percentage agency business
1. Studies at home 33%
2. Future work 28%
3. Studies overseas 18%
4. Pleasure 8%
5. Current work 8%
Other 5%
1. Language programmes 53%
2. Higher education 11%
3. Work & travel 11%
4. Internships 4%
Other 21%

How do agencies recruit students?
How do agencies find new business partners?
1. Word-of-mouth 44%
2. Advertising in press 14%
3. E/ online marketing 12%
4. Website 11%
5. Seminars to students 7%
6. Mail shots 2%
7. Advertising on tv/radio 1%
Other 9%
1. Fairs & expos 33%
2. LTM/ETM 21.5%
3. Internet 11%
4. Workshops 10%
5. Other press 0.5
Other 24%

Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
Acpet 20%
English Australia 60%

Languages Canada 60%

Souffle 20%
FLE.fr 10%
L'Office 20%
Unosel 10%

MEI~Relsa 30%

Asils 20%
Italian in Italy 10%

Feltom 20%

New Zealand
English NZ 40%

Aeple 0%

South Africa
Eltasa 0%
English SA 0%

Fedele 10%

ABLS 20%
English UK 50%
British Council 80%

Accet 40%
CEA 10%

Eaquals 40%
Ialc 40%
Quality English 20%
Tandem 20%

Market growth
2008 looks to have been a restless year for Mexican agents with some differing opinion over business growth. Out of the 10 agencies surveyed, three reported a decline in business, two recorded an increase in bookings and three agents reported that growth had remained static. Consequently, average business growth came in at a low 2.3 per cent, a massive 36.7 per cent less than the figure recorded in our last survey on Mexico (see LTM, February 2007, pages 14-15). Two agencies declined to give growth figures. Meanwhile, budgetary restraints have led Mexican students to show a preference for short-term study programmes; average length of stay plummeted from 11 weeks to just five in 2008. One agent indicated that shorter courses would be an emerging trend in 2009.

Language and destination trends
Despite losing market share, Canada remains the number-one language destination for Mexican students, with 54 per cent of agency clientele opting to study there last year (down 11 percentage points on our previous result). The UK has started to close in on Canada, jumping five percentage points to achieve a 19 per cent share of the student market. Australia, chosen by just three per cent of students in 2006, became the third most popular place to study English with a 12 per cent share of agency business. Language trends remain largely the same as in previous years. French was the second most requested language (11 per cent) behind English with 77 per cent.

Student and course trends
Further education, whether at home or abroad, proved a big motivational factor for Mexican students. Fifty-one per cent cited this as their main reason for studying overseas, compared with 36 per cent who said they were learning a language for current or future work purposes. The largest group of students (44 per cent) found their agency through word-of-mouth recommendation, 11 percentage points more than previously. Online marketing strategies certainly helped agents achieve their recruitment quota with 12 per cent of agency bookings stemming from this source. Intensive language courses were the most popular programme to be undertaken by Mexican students in our last survey, however, general language programmes (up 17 percentage points to 41 per cent) were the preferred choice this year. One agent noted that hybrid courses – where students combine several different course types – were popular.

Agency business
Language programmes made up the greatest proportion of agency business this year, namely 53 per cent. However, this figure has deteriorated considerably since we last evaluated the Mexican study abroad market in February 2007. Several agents pointed out that the popularity of high school programmes had been rising. When it came to finding new schools to partner 33 per cent of agents looked to source them at fairs and expos (up from 24 per cent previously) and a further 21.5 per cent relied on B2B publications such as Language Travel Magazine (LTM).

Looking ahead
With the country sliding towards a recession, Mexican agents predict a challenging year ahead. One agent estimates that smaller businesses will certainly feel the pinch while another anticipates a total market slowdown.

Economic overview

• There has been a slowdown in Mexico’s economic activity over the past year and experts predict this will intensify in 2009. The country looks set to experience a 0.2 per cent reduction in GDP growth but a gradual recovery in 2010 is forecast.

• Economic activity has been slowing faster than expected. Exports to the US, the buyer of 80 per cent of the country’s goods sold abroad, fell 21 per cent in November 2008 from the previous year.

• Meanwhile, the Mexican peso hit a record low in February, weakening 1.68 per cent to 14.44 per US dollar. Analysts are concerned that the decline of the U.S. economy is dragging the Mexican economy down with it.

Source: The Economist, Reuters

Mexican agents named a range of language programmes they work with, including, in Australia: Cambridge International College, Melbourne, VIC; University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW; Shafston International College, Brisbane, QLD; University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC. In Canada: Academie Ste. Cecile International School, Windsor, ON; Calgary Roman Catholic School District, Calgary, AB; Global Village, various; ILAC - International Language Academy of Canada, various; ILSC, various; Ottawa Carleton School District, Ottawa, ON; Pacific Language Institute, various; Pembina Trails School Division, Winnipeg, MB; Study English in Canada, various. In France: Nacel International, various; Perl Ecole des Roches, Paris. In Germany: GLS, Munich. In the UK: Kings School, London. Worldwide: Language Studies International; Embassy CES; Sprachcaffe International Language Plus.

Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in this survey: Latino Australia Education, Viajes Servi-Tour, Estudiantes Embajadores de Mexico (EM), Viajes Bojorquez / Ceilidh Tours, Viajes Interlag; Hoteles & Servicios Carlson Wagonlit, Nacel Mexico, Universo Educativo, Edulynks/iAE Mexico, Kino Travel.

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.





Britannia Student

English Australia  
Feltom Malta  
MEI-Relsa Ireland  
Perth Education City
Quality English  

LTM Star Awards  

Internet Advantage
Your World On
In Touch  

Malta Tourism

English Australia  
MEI-Relsa Ireland  
Quality English  

English Australia  
Gold Coast Institute
      of TAFE  
Perth Education City

CERAN Lingua
      (Belgium, France,
      Spain, UK) 

Canadian &
      Student Services
National School
      of Languages  
Richmond School
      District #38  
Vancouver English
      (Canada, Mexico)

Bell International 
      (Malta, UK)
Berlitz UK Ltd  
Bournemouth One
       to One English
      Language School  
English Studio  
InTuition Languages
      (Australia, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, South America,
      Spain, UK, USA)
IP International
      Projects GmbH  
      (England, France,
      Germany, Spain)
Kaplan Aspect 
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta, New
      Zealand, South
      Africa, UK, USA)
Living Learning
Oxford Brookes
Oxford International
      Study Centre  
Queen Ethelburga's
RLI Language
St Clare's Oxford  
St Giles Colleges 
      (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group  
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Italy, New
      Zealand, South
      Africa,Spain, USA)
Twin Group 
      (Ireland, UK)
University of Essex -
University of Sussex
Wimbledon School
      of English  

Alliance Française
      Paris Ile de France
Home Language
      (Australia, Brazil,
      Canada, China,
      Czech Republic,
      Denmark, England,
      Egypt, Finland,
      France, Greece,
      the Netherlands,
      Hungary, Ireland,
      Italy, Japan,
      Scotland, South
      Africa, Spain, Malta,
      New Zealand,
      Norway, Poland,
      Arab Emirates,
      USA, Wales)
IH Nice  
Universite de Paris

Carl Duisberg
      Medien GmbH  
      (England, Germany)
International House
      Berlin - Prolog  

Active English  
Alpha College of
English in Dublin  
Galway Language
Irish College of
Swan Training
MEI-Relsa Ireland  

Kai Japanese
      Language School  

      Language School  
Feltom Malta  
IELS - Institute of
      English Language
Malta Tourism


Colegio Maravillas  
ESADE - Executive
Español ¡Si!
Malaca Instituto -
      Club Hispanico SL

EAC Language
      Centres and
      Activity Camps.  
University of
      (England, Ireland,
      Scotland, Wales)
EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Ecuador,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, Malta, New
      Zealand, Russia,
      Scotland, Spain,

ELS Language
Zoni Language
      (Canada, USA)