December 2007 issue

Travel News
Agency News
Agency Survey
Market Report
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Course Guide
Regional Focus

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Wystc wows delegates in Turkey

The annual World Youth and Student Travel Conference (Wystc) took place in Istanbul, Turkey, in October this year and received praise from attendees. Over 820 delegates attended the event and represented language schools, agents, tourism bodies, student travel operators and many others from the student travel world.

From a language travel perspective, attendees commented that the event gave them access to a wide range of agencies in the country. David Niland from Galway Cultural Institute in Ireland said there were “a number of Turkish agents present that we wouldn’t have been exposed to before” and Roberto Russo of UK-based Ardmore Group added, “We’ve had lots of appointments with agents who are difficult to reach.”

As well as trading days, the conference featured a series of seminars on topics such as climate change and sustainable travel, next generation web technology and visa policy. And in recognition of one of the travel industry’s key themes at present, Wystc organisers offered delegates the opportunity to take up a carbon offset travel option.

The networking events were also well received by attendees with a full timetable of social evenings on offer. The opening reception featured a show by a trio of Sufi Dervishes before a speech by the Director of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, who emphasised the importance of Turkey as a developing market in this travel sector.

Wystc Director, Susan Goldstein, announced the venue next year is New York. She said, “Wystc recognises the renewed commitment of the USA to the youth student and educational travel industry. New York has long been a gateway for international travellers and Brooklyn in particular is a wonderfully symbolic venue.”

Korean students getting younger

Increasing numbers of Korean parents are sending their children overseas to study English, according to a new survey released by the Korean Educational Development Institute. A total of 29,511 elementary, middle and high school students went overseas to study between March 2006 and February 2007, an increase of 44.6 per cent on the previous year.

The greatest increase was in the number of elementary (primary) school students travelling overseas, up 69.5 per cent to 13,814. The number of middle school students increased by 38.6 per cent, while high school student numbers grew by 15.5 per cent.

MinJoo Lee from Cony Overseas Educational Center in Korea confirmed that at his study abroad agency, an increasing number of enquiries from younger students are being received. “To get good English ability, there is no choice but to learn abroad with foreign students and people,” he said.

The number of Korean adults studying overseas for academic or language learning purposes also increased in 2007 to 217,959, up from 190,364 the year before.

Value of ELT to UK declines, says British Council

The value of the education export industry in the UK was estimated to be just under UK£28 billion (US$57 billion) in 2003/2004, with the ELT sector accounting for UK£1.1 billion (US$2.2 billion), according to the latest British Council report. While significant, the ELT sector’s share has declined on the previous survey.

The report, Global Value: The Value of UK Education and Training Exports, is an update on a previous report published in 2004, which focused on the value of education and training exports in the UK in the 2001-2002 academic year. The report takes into account the tuition fees and living expenses paid by students as well as the export of consultancy services, training services and sales of educational services. A total of UK£643.2 million (US$1,310 million) was spent on ELT tuition fees in 2003-04 with the remainder spent on student living costs. In the previous research, the ELT sector was estimated to be worth UK£1.3 billion (US$2.6 billion), revealing that the value of the sector has declined by 15 per cent in two years. As student numbers have increased during the same period, the decline is put down to a lower average length of stay per student.

Diana Lowe of ABLS said, “There certainly seems to be a shift in the market towards shorter courses which could be as a result of the cost of living [here].” However, Tony Millns of English UK said that their own statistics did not support the findings, given that student weeks had increased by 42 per cent across member schools from 2001/02 to 2003/04. “Especially since we provided Dr Lenton [report author] with base statistics, it is a pity she did not check her surprising conclusion with us before publishing it,” he said.

Sprachcaffe opens school in Morocco

Acting in response to agent and student demand for tuition in different languages and in more exotic locations, language school chain Sprachcaffe is to open its first Arabic language school in Morocco in January.

Albert Sarno from Sprachcaffe told Language Travel Magazine, “We wouldn’t have decided to open a school if we hadn’t realised a huge demand for Arabic courses,” adding, “As with most of the operators in this industry, we work for a world without linguistic barriers. This mission will be completed if our guests [are able] to understand the Arabic world and make local friends.”

The school is situated in Rabat and will offer standard, intensive, one-to-one and academic courses for students, as well as some language courses for local students. Sarno said it would also be able to meet clients’ special requirements.

So far, agent interest has been good, he added. “Our marketing is mostly agent-oriented, and we can confirm that most of our worldwide partners will include this destination in their annual brochures,” he said.

Schengen visa could cause problems in Malta

Language schools in Malta are worried that students from a number of key markets will find it harder to get a visa after the country’s accession to the Schengen zone.

Malta is one of nine countries that will join the existing 15 members in the Schengen area, which allows free travel between borders, in December. The Schengen agreement requires member countries to impose strict regulations on other nationalities entering the Schengen zone, although once in the area visitors and local people can move freely across borders without passports. Current Schengen states in Western Europe (not the UK or Ireland) are admitting Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lativa, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia as well as Malta.

Students from Russia, and other countries not on a list of approved countries, will now have to apply for a Schengen visa at a Maltese embassy in person and will not be able to have their application processed by an agency or obtain their visa on arrival in Malta, as previously. If no Maltese embassy exists, as in Serbia, applicants must visit an embassy of a country that has an agreement with Malta. Dominic Calleja from Chamber College in Gzira said, “There is a lot of concern and uncertainty at the moment. It is really a matter of ‘wait and see’ because the real effects cannot be seen for the time being.”

New focus on language skills for immigrants

Various countries around the world are moving to ensure English language ability is tested as part of migration regulations. Immigrants moving to Australia will be assessed on their English skills from early in 2008, while Ireland is also considering introducing a compulsory English test for immigrants, and the UK has announced plans to extend current language rules for highly skilled migrants so that all migrants must prove a competence in the language.

The Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Kevin Andrews, announced in a speech earlier this year that, as well as making potential immigrants sit a citizenship test, the government would require applicants to prove their potential to integrate into the wider community.

He said, “Factors taken into account in making an assessment include an applicant’s adaptability and resourcefulness; their knowledge of Australia and their expectations about living in Australia; and their attitude towards learning English and their English language skills.” The new requirements regarding language skills are expected to be introduced in February “as soon as the relevant department officers both in Australia and overseas have received appropriate training”, said Andrews.

The Irish Minister of State, Conor Lenihan, said that he had commissioned a report into the issue of language testing for migrants wanting to live in Ireland, which would be due out next year. “We are looking at going down the road of compulsory tests for migrants who want to become residents here,” he said. The Immigrant Council for Ireland has called on the Irish government to invest in a national programme of English language courses for migrants and set up a special unit within the Department of Education and Science to deal with the issue.

In the UK, Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, revealed in September that language proficiency testing for all migrants from outside of the European Union is on the cards, either through an internationally-recognised test or by proof of a degree taught in the English language. “Those who we welcome into the UK to work and settle here need to understand our traditions and feel that they are part of our shared national culture. They need to integrate into our country, learn English and use our language,” she said.

Government sources were quoted in the national press indicating that 35,000 of the 95,000 skilled migrant workers who arrived in the UK last year would have failed an English test.

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.





English Australia
Perth Education City


Your World on

Malta Tourism
Turismo Valencia

English Australia
Perth Education City

CERAN Lingua
      (Belgium, England,
      France, Ireland,
      Japan, Netherlands,

Open English

Quest Language
Seneca College
Vancouver English

Beijing Easyou
      Chinese Language
Mandarin House

Global Study
      (Karlov College)

ILI International
      House - IH Cairo

Bell International
Kaplan Aspect
      Educational Centers
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta, New
      Zealand, South
      Africa, UK, USA)
LAL Language and
      (England, Malta,
      South Africa, USA)
Malvern House
      College London
Queen Ethelburga’s
Study Group
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,

International House
      Berlin - Prolog
Lichtenberg Kolleg

Centre of English
      (England, Ireland)
Galway Cultural
ISI- International
      Study Institute

Kai Japanese
      Language School

Durbe Ture

EC - English
      Language Centres
     (England, Malta,
      South Africa, USA)
Malta Tourism

Malaca Instituto –
      Club Hispánico SL
Pamplona Learning
      Spanish Institute
Turismo Valencia

EF Language
      Colleges Ltd
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Ecuador,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, Malta,
      New Zealand,
      Russia, Scotland,
      Spain, USA)

ALCC - American
ELS Language
      (Canada, USA)
Kaplan Aspect
      Educational Centers
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta, New
      Zealand, South
      Africa, UK, USA)
University of
      California Riverside
University of
      California Santa Cruz
University of Illinois
      at Urbana-
Zoni Language
      Centers Canada
      (Canada, USA)


Kaplan Aspect
      Opus Programme
Training Partnership
      Ltd. (The)
Twin Group

International House
      Sevilla - CLIC