Contents - December 2005

Special Report
Stronger foundations
Visa complications, price awareness and a focus on quality were all issues for most operators in the language travel industry in 2005. While this year was not the best-ever in terms of growth, it was marked out by the cementing of business relationships, updating of marketing strategies and schools trying to get noticed for their targeted, quality education provision. Amy Baker reports.

Put to the test
Internationally recognised language exams are highly important in today's market and exam administrators are constantly developing their products to ensure they meet consumer demand. Gillian Evans reports.

Latin America
Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru and Argentina - all popular destinations for students wanting to learn Spanish in a part of the world like no other. Vast areas of unspoilt nature as well as a culture steeped in ancient traditions provide a unique language learning experience, as Bethan Norris discovers.


Staying on the ball
As the year-end approaches, many agencies and schools can take a well-earned break as the demand for language tuition overseas slackens off somewhat. No doubt, many minds will be turning to 2006, however, and considering ways to ensure success in the coming year.

In Taiwan, which saw an upbeat business climate this year according to agencies there (pages 14-15), agencies attributed some of their expected success next year to their own plans, such as offering a greater range of programmes or even establishing a new office in Australia. This is a good example of the dynamic approach needed in business.

One Korean agent mentions the real shift in business focus in his country towards the Internet this year and explains he had to adapt his business model accordingly. He also highlights the Philippines as a new destination for English language study (page ?).

This underlines a new type of competition for the old guard of the UK, USA, Ireland and Canada. Non-English language speaking countries such as Cyprus and the Philippines are an emerging threat and on top of that, many agents are in agreement that Australia, New Zealand, Malta and in some cases, South Africa, are riding a bigger wave of popularity as word continues to spread about new study destinations with easier visa requirements and, often, lower costs (page ?).

Our review of the year underlines that more than ever, businesses need to stay on the ball and use strong foundations to profit next year. Better technology should be harnessed, agency-school relations should be strengthened and quality language school operators should group together and urge their governments to act in their interests, encouraging smooth and consistent treatment of visa applicants.

Certainly, the overall appetite for study abroad among students does not appear to be on the wane, and many agents are optimistic about 2006. Even London, target of terrorist attacks this year, is not considered to have suffered too badly. Students are thoroughly modern in their approach, technologically-savvy, keen to widen their horizons and, increasingly, combine part-time work with study overseas. There is everything to play for.

Short of a sky-high tax on airlines to address growing concern about the environmental impact of a burgeoning air industry (page 8), there are few factors to worry about as long-term decelerators to business growth, except, that is, the edge that your competitors might have on you.

Staying on the ball

Australia cancels student visas in error
Canada push in Middle East
Europe's language survey
Thailand to encourage Chinese language study
New record for world's longest lesson
More immigrants to be welcomed to Canada
36,000 possible visa violations in USA

Travel News
Aviation growth not good for climate
New airports around world
US - Mexico boost flight links

Agency News
British Council sets up agent group in Bulgaria, EduWow's new approach to marketing

Agency Survey
Taiwan business up
The need for English language skills in the workplace has been fuelling demand for language travel in Taiwan, according to the agencies that took part in this year's Agency Survey. Meanwhile, Australia has become the number-one destination for Taiwanese students.

A higher proportion of Asian students were studying in Canadian language schools this year, while agent use remained high among all our Feedback Survey respondents.

Course Guide
Business German

Home tuition in the UK
Living and learning with a teacher is an intimate experience that can provide a fast track to linguistic ability. Here, we find out more about the sector and profile some one-to-one language training providers in the UK.

City Focus
Long overshadowed by the better known regions of Provence and the Côte d'Azur, Montpellier is now making its mark on the language travel map. Gillian Evans finds out why.

New Zealand 2004
The Status survey is a venture by Language Travel Magazine, which gathers specific market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world. For the first time, it is possible to compare world market statistics.

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