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.