|The Mexican outbound market slowed down in the last year, but there is a bullish mood that 2011 will bring growth with it.
|• The total number of student weeks placed by the 12 companies in our survey was 17,411
• Average business growth was -10 per cent
• The average length of stay for Mexican students was 17 weeks
• Mexican advisors found 27 per cent of new business partners online
• Canada was overwhelmingly the most popular destination for Mexicans
• In the last 12 months, agencies had worked with an average of 22 language schools each
• French was the second-most popular language with 7.5 per cent of students requesting this language
• Higher education and secondary school placements accounted for 25 per cent of all advisory business
||Most popular courses
|1. Canada 74%
2. UK 8%
3. Australia 6%
4. USA 3%
4. Ireland 3%
6. NZ 2%
6. France 2%
8. Malta 1%
||1. General 47%
2. Intensive 17%
3. Language plus work 14%
4. Summer 7%
5. Junior 5%
6. Business 3%
7. Academic / exam prep 2%
8. Foundation 1%
|Reasons for language travel
||Average percentage agency business
|1. Future work 40%
2. Studies at home 25.5%
3. Studies overseas 17.5%
4. Pleasure 11%
5. Current work 6%
||1. Language programmes 58%
2. Secondary 15%
3. Higher education 10%
4. Volunteer 7.5%
5. Internships 4%
6. Work & travel 3%
|How do agencies recruit students?
||How do agencies find new business partners?
|1. Word-of-mouth 36%
2. E/online marketing 22%
3. Website 21%
4. Mail shots 3%
4. Seminars to students 3%
4. Advertising in press 3%
||1. Internet 27%
2. Workshops 25%
3. LTM/ETM 23%
4. Fairs or exhibitions 18%
5. Other press 4%
|Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
English Australia 58%
Languages Canada 83%
Groupement FLE 8%
Italian in Italy 0%
English NZ 33%
English UK 58%
British Council 75%
Quality English 25%
There was no market growth to speak of last year in Mexico, with half of the advisors surveyed reporting a negative growth rate and another two businesses reporting that business had stayed the same compared with the previous year. Of those companies that reported growth in business, one small agency reported a 100 per cent growth rate barring this figure from the overall results, the overall figure was actually minus 21 per cent growth; which means that the market contracted by almost a quarter last year. Visa and economic issues were cited as reasons for this, as well as organisational issues at one specific organisation.
Language and destination trends
Canada was the most popular destination among Mexican study travel clients last year reflecting the trend we uncovered a number of years ago when we surveyed the Mexican market (see LTM, May 2003). In fact, an astonishing 74 per cent of clients were reported to choose Canada as a destination across the 12 companies that took part in our survey; up from 45 per cent all those years ago. The UK was second in the league table, but not with a particularly significant ranking; eight per cent next to the Australia’s six per cent in third position. English was the most requested language, studied by 88 per cent of students, with French the second-most typical request (7.5 per cent).
Student and course trends
In terms of the types of language programme selected by advisors’ clientele, Mexicans seem to be quite traditional, with general courses dominating the market, accounting for 47 per cent of placements, and another 17 per cent of students requesting intensive programmes, with more study hours but following a similar general structure. Work did feature next, with 14 per cent of clients asking for language plus work programmes.
Mexican study travel advisors seem to be a loyal and selective breed of counsellors, given that across all respondents, an average of 46 schools were partners across 22 countries (notably, some of those companies profiled were very small-scale and some only dealt with one country). The Internet was the most typical way of finding new business partners for agencies (27 per cent), although sourcing partners via Language Travel Magazine or Education Travel Magazine accounted for 23 per cent of new partnerships.
All of the advisors that took part in our survey were upbeat about the year ahead, with one agency signalling that they were opening new office locations; another highlighting their intent to “improve our sales force and grow as an important local agency” and another pointing to an easing off of the economic situation and clients getting used to new visa requirements for Canada. Two other businesses noted that violence in the country is leading more parents to consider encouraging their children to study overseas. One advisor noted, “We are leaner and meaner and should increase our student numbers by 40 per cent in 2011.”
• Consumer confidence rose more than expected in January this year, and economic growth of four-to-five per cent in Mexico is being predicted for 2011.
• Mexico experienced a deep recession in 2009 with GDP declining by 6.1 per cent but rising by five per cent last year, with strong investment into Mexico noted in the second half of 2010, contributing to a strengthening peso.
• In February, the peso reached its highest value against the US dollar in two-and-a-half years and unemployment at nine per cent fell for a second-straight month in January to be at its lowest level since April 2009.
Source: Wall Street Journal/Reuters
Mexican agents named a range of language programmes they work with, including, in Australia: Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD; La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC; LSI, Brisbane, QLD. In Austria: Actilingua, Austria. In Canada: ALI, Montreal, QC; Banff Education Centre, Canmore, AB; Canadian College of English Language, Vancouver, BC; Cornerstone Academic College, Toronto, ON; English School of Canada, Toronto, ON; Global Village, various; Ilac, various; ILSC, various; KGIC, various; Upper Madison College, Toronto, ON. In Ireland: Grafton College of Management, Dublin. In Italy: Linguaviva, various. In the USA: FLS International, various; NESE, Boston, MA. In the UK: King Street College, London; Language Teaching Centre, Eastbourne; Malvern House, London; Rose of York School, London; St Giles, various. In Germany: did deutsch-institut, various; Open Doors International, Cologne. Worldwide: Embassy CES; Kaplan International Colleges; Sprachcaffe.
Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in our survey: Asesoria Cultural Internacional; College Abroad; Destino Australia; Enjoy Languages; Ola Tours; Mega Tu Experiencia Educativa; Class Consulting; VETE Education and Travel; Only Canada; Mexlinks; Universo Educativo.