||The German economy experienced an upturn in 2006, resulting in a more confident language travel market, according to the results of this year's Agency Survey on Germany.
|The total number of students placed by the 11 agencies in our survey was 34,573
Individual agencies placed between 150 and 24,103 students on language courses each year
Average business growth was 10.2 per cent
The average length of stay for German students was 3.5 weeks
Overall, 52 per cent of German students stayed with host families when studying overseas
Spain was the second-most popular destination, after the UK, for German students
In the last 12 months, agencies worked with an average of 37 language schools each
Source: CESifo Group
||Most popular courses
|1. UK 35%
2. Spain 14%
3. Malta 13%
4. USA 6%
5. Canada 3%
5. France 3%
5. Ireland 3%
5. New Zealand 3%
||1. General 32%
2. Intensive 21%
2. Junior 21%
4. Summer vacation 6%
5. Lang. + work. 5%
5. Business lang. 5%
7. Foundation 3%
8. Academic prep. 2%
|Reasons for language travel
|1. Studies at home 43%
2. Current work 20%
3. Future work 20%
4. Pleasure 10%
5. Studies overseas 7%
||1. English 67%
2. Spanish 21%
3. French 4%
4. Italian 2%
|How do agencies recruit students?
||How do agencies find new schools to represent?
|1. Website 33%
2. Word of mouth 25%
3. Mail shots 17%
4. Adv. in press 5%
5. Seminars to students 3%
||1. Fairs/expos 36%
2. Internet 34%
3. Workshops 27%
|Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
English Australia 36%
Italian in Italy 2%
Ed. NZ 27%
English NZ 27%
English UK 82%
British Council 100%
Quality English 64%
Last year was a relatively good year for the language travel industry in Germany. Among the 11 German agencies that took part in our survey, six reported an increase in student numbers of between five and 60 per cent. Reasons given for the growth were mainly down to individual agency activities, such as expansion of product range, growing number of agency personnel and increased investment in advertising. According to one agency that specialised in bookings for the UK, 2006 had been “dreadful” for them, as many school groups were deterred by the terrorist bombings in 2005. However, average growth across all agencies topped 10.2 per cent, compared with 7.5 per cent last year (see Language Travel Magazine, July 2005, pages 14-15).
Language and destination trends
English remains the top language choice among German language travellers. However, its share has fallen from 78 per cent in last year’s survey to 67 per cent this year. Spanish, meanwhile, has grown in popularity, accounting for an average of 21 per cent of bookings this year, compared with only 12 per cent last year. Looking at destinations, Spain secured second place behind the UK, with a 14 per cent market share, relegating Malta to third place. Other destinations that did not make the rankings but were still popular in the German market included South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Peru and Guatemala.
Student and course trends
The German language travel market is characterised by short course durations, with the average length of stay for German agency clients reaching only 3.3 weeks. Most students enrolled on general language courses, with the other top choices being intensive programmes and junior courses. The main reasons for learning a language overseas were for current or future work, each accounting for around 33 per cent of clients’ reasons for taking a language travel package, while learning a language overseas for their studies at home was the motivating factor for around 29 per cent of clients.
The bulk of German agency bookings are for language courses overseas. Across all the agencies that took part in our survey, this accounted for 75 per cent of business, while high school education contributed a further seven per cent of bookings, and internships, six per cent. Client recruitment was mainly done through agency websites, with an estimated 33 per cent of clients coming from this source, while word-of-mouth recommendations contributed a further 25 per cent of clients. Agencies represented between 20 and 120 schools in between four and 19 countries.
Barring any major global security problems, the outlook for the German language travel market is relatively positive, with most sources forecasting growth of between five and 20 per cent in 2007. Some agencies attribute a positive performance next year to their agency’s growing recognition in the market place, while another mentioned that business would receive a welcome boost from Germany’s economic recovery.
Since spring 2006, the German economy experienced a strong upswing, with second quarter GDP at 0.9%. GDP was expected to grow by 2.2% by the end of this year. GDP growth of 1.4% is forecast for 2007.
Consumers have been more optimistic this year, with retail sales increasing since January 2006.
The rate of inflation is expected to decline to 2% by the end of 2006 because of a slower rise in energy prices. In 2007 it is expected to rise slightly to 2.2% owing to an increase in VAT.
The unemployment rate was down from 11.2% in 2005 to 10.6% in 2006.
Source: CESifo Group
German agents named a range of language programmes they work with, including, in Canada: ILSC, Montreal, QB. In Guatemala: Appeschool, Antigua. In Ireland: Atlantic Language School, Galway. In Malta: European Centre, Sliema; Global Village English Centre, St Paul’s Bay; Sprachcaffe Malta, Pembroke. In New Zealand: Worldwide School of Languages, Auckland. In Peru: Machu Picchu, Cusco. In South Africa: Good Hope Studies, Cape Town. In Spain: Barcelona Plus, Barcelona; Costa de Valencia, Valencia; Lexis Instituto del Idioma, Malaga; Mediterraneo, Malaga; Sprachcaffe Malaga, Malaga. In Cuba: Sprachcaffe, Havana. In the UK: Devon School of English, Paignton; King’s School, Beckenham; LSI, Portsmouth; Severnvale Academy, Shrewsbury; Sidmouth International School, Sidmouth; Sprachcaffe Brighton, Brighton; Torbay Language Centre, Torbay; Winchester School of English, Winchester. International: Study Group.
Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in our survey: Camps International, Carl Duisberg Centren, Easy Sprachreisen, English in Britain, GLS Sprachenzentrum, Herbst London Tours & Sprachreisen, IST Sprach- und Studienreisen, Kultur Life, Language Travel Carambuco, Sprachcaffe Languages Plus, StudyGlobal.