December 2010 issue

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Italy improves

On the back of Italy’s improving economy, Italian language travel agencies have enjoyed some success, but they remain cautious of what the coming year may hold for them.

Key points
• The total number of students placed by the 10 agencies in our survey was 2,504

• Individual agencies placed between 39 and 600 students on courses each year

• Average business growth was 17 per cent

• The average length of stay for Italian students was 2.3 weeks

• Overall, 60 per cent of Italian students stayed with host families when studying overseas

37 per cent of Italian students took a language travel programme for their future work

44 per cent of the agencies in our survey charged a handling fee, of between e40 (US$55) and e98 (US$135)

Top destinations Most popular courses
1. UK 58.5%
2. USA 14%
3. Ireland 6%
4. Spain 3.5%
5. Malta 2%
5. Australia 2%
6. Canada 1.5%
6. France 1.5%a
6. New Zealand 1.5%
Other 9.5%
1. General 47.5%
2. Junior 19%
3. Intensive 12%
4. Language plus work experience 9%
5. Summer vacation 6.5%
6. Academic/exam prep. 3%
7. Business 2%
Other 1%

Reasons for language travel Average percentage agency business
1. Current work 33%
2. Future work 31%
3. Studies at home 16%
4. Studies overseas 15%
5. Pleasure 3%
Unknown 2%
1. Language programmes 82%
2. Work & travel 8%
3. Internships 5%
4. Higher education 3%
Other 2%

How do agencies recruit students?
How do agencies find new business partners?
1. Word-of-mouth 34%
2. Website 24.5%
3. Mail shots 16.5%
4. E/online marketing 6%
5. Seminars to students 4%
6. Press 1%
Other 14%
1. Workshops 43%
2. Fairs and expos 28%
3. Internet 15%
4. LTM/ETM 7%
Other 7%

Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
Acpet 50%
English Australia 50%

Languages Canada 50%

Souffle 60%
Groupement FLE 60%
L'Office 10%
Unosel 20%

MEI 80%

Asils 50%
Italian in Italy 70%

Feltom 90%

New Zealand
English NZ 50%
Aeple 10%

South Africa
EduSa 40%

Fedele 70%

ABLS 40%
English UK 100%
British Council 100%

Accet 70%
CEA 10%

Eaquals 70%
Ialc 90%
IHWO 30%
Quality English 100%
Tandem 40%

Market growth
2010 was an altogether more positive year for the Italian language travel industry than it was in 2009 when, across all the agencies that took part in last year’s survey, business grew by just two per cent (see LTM, December 2009, pages 28-29). In contrast, this year overall business growth was 17 per cent. Closer analyses reveals that 70 per cent of the agencies that took part in this issue’s Agency Survey reported an increase in client bookings of between 10 and 70 per cent, while a further 20 per cent of respondents said business remained the same as last year. Only one agency reported a drop in enrolments – although no reason was given for this performance – of 30 per cent. Of those who had experienced a good business year in 2010 one reported that this was because of an increase in repeat bookings and personal endorsements, while another noted that those groups that had cancelled their bookings in 2009 because of swine flu concerns, had rebooked this year. Another two agencies cited better marketing and programmes as the reason behind their business growth this year.

Language and destination trends
English remains the most popular language choice in the Italian language travel market, although its share dropped from 91 per cent of the market last year to 81 per cent this year. Spanish and German both secured four per cent each of bookings in 2010 and French two per cent, with other language choices mentioned by the agencies that took part in this survey including Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Arabic. Although the UK remained the top destination for Italian students its share slipped by 12.5 percentage points to 58.5 per cent, and while the USA remained in second place, its share was up by 4.5 points to 14 per cent in 2010.

Student and course trends
Among the agencies that took part in this year’s survey, a majority of their clients (37 per cent) were motivated to learn a language overseas for their future career prospects, with only 26 per cent taking a language travel programme overseas because of their studies at home. This contrasts with last year’s survey where 54 per cent were taking an overseas course for this reason and only 27 per cent were taking a language course for their future work. Learning a language for pleasure accounted for a slightly higher percentage of student motivation – 6.5 per cent in 2009 up to nine per cent in this year’s survey.

Agency business
Compared with last year, personal endorsement played a less important role in the recruitment of students: word-of-mouth recommendations accounted for 34 per cent of agency clients this year in comparison to 53 per cent last year. Websites were also slightly less important this year accounting for 24.5 per cent of clients, down from 31 per cent in 2009, while mailshots played a greater role this year generating around 17 per cent of clients compared with only three per cent last year.

Looking ahead
Forecasts for business in 2011 remain rather subdued with agencies cautious of the economic situation putting a squeeze on spending, and hampering the language travel market. Two agencies mentioned the launch of their new websites, which they hoped would generate interest in 2011.

Economic overview

• Italy showed promising signs of recovery from its worst recession since World War II, with a GDP rise of 0.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2010 and 1.3 per cent from a year earlier.

• Despite the favourable economic indicators, there have been signs that the recovery is slowing. Industrial output rose 0.1 per cent in July on a monthly basis and 4.8 per cent in comparison to a year ago, both of which were lower than initial forecasts. Consumer confidence fell in August to a 15-month low.

• On a more positive note, the European Commission’s statistics agency, Eurostat, revised its projections for Italy’s GDP growth for 2010, from 0.8 per cent earlier in the year to 1.1 per cent.

Source: Bloomberg.com, BBC.com

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.






IALC International  
NEAS Australia  

Alphe Conferences  
IALC International  

Pearson Education  

Dr. Walter GmbH  

LTM Digital  
Student Marketing  

Malta Tourism

Twin Group  

NEAS Australia  

College Platon  

Academia de
      Español Surpacífico

Cambridge Education
International House
Kaplan Aspect  
King's Colleges  
LAL Central
      Marketing Office  
Queen Ethelburga's
Sedbergh School  
Study Group  
Twin Group  
University of Essex -
      International Academy

International House
      Berlin - Prolog  


Genki Japanese
      and Culture School  
Kai Japanese
      Language School  
      Education Academy

Alpha School of
      Language School  
Malta Tourism

Malaga Si  

Cape English
      Language School  

EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  

California State
      University Chico  
Califorinia State
California State
      University Long
ELS Language
IH New York  
San Diego
      State University  
Zoni Language

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