February 2005 issue

Travel News
Agency News
Agency Survey
Special Report
Market Report
Course Guide
City Focus

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Russia's buoyant mood

Strong growth in the Russian language travel market was largely fuelled by a stable economy and a desire by students to improve their prospects, according to this year's Agency Survey.

Key points
The total number of students placed by the 15 agencies in our survey was 1,818

Individual agencies placed between six and 400 students on language courses per year

Average business growth was 63 per cent in 2004

The average student spend on tuition and accommodation per week was US$479

Eighty per cent of agencies charged their clients a handling fee of between US$50 and US$1,000

Agency business was concentrated around the summer months, with 62 per cent of bookings for July and August

The average length of stay for Russian students was five weeks

On average, our agent respondents represented 85 schools in 11 countries

Top destinations Most popular courses
1. UK 51%
2. France 13%
3. Ireland 8%
4. Malta 7%
5. New Zealand 5%
6. USA 3%
7. Germany 3%
8. Canada 2%
9. Other 8%
1. Junior programmes 27%
2. General 25%
3. Other 14%
4. Intensive 13%
5. Summer vac. 13%
6. Lang. + work 4%
7. Business 4%

Reasons for language travel Age range of clients
1. Studies overseas 32%
2. Studies at home 21%
3. Pleasure 21%
4. Current work 18%
5. Other 8%
1. 12-15, 33%
2. 19-24, 29%
3. 16-18, 21%
4. 31-50, 7%
5. 8-11, 5%
6. 25-30, 4%
7. 51+, 1%

How do agencies recruit students? How do agencies find new schools to represent?
1. Word of mouth 49%
2. Website 20%
3. Press 15%
4. Seminars 6%
5. Mail shots 3%
6. Other 7%
1. Workshops 48%
2. Fairs and expos 22%
3. Internet 16%
4. LTM/ETM 9%
5. Other press 1%
6. Other 4%

Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
Acpet 20%
English Australia 40%

Capls 20%
CLC 40%

Souffle 40%
L'Office 7%
Unosel 7%
FLE 20%

MEI~Relsa 73%

Asils 13%
Italian in Italy 0%

Feltom 67%

New Zealand
Appel 13%
Crels NZ 13%
Education NZ 47%
Fiels (Now English New Zealand) 47%

Aeple 0%

Fedele 53%

ABLS 40%
English UK 66%
British Council 60%

Eaquals 27%

Accet 47%
CEA 40%

Ialc 60%

Market growth
The Russian language travel market experienced rapid growth in 2004, according to our survey respondents, who reported individual growth rates of between five and 300 per cent, which averaged out at 63 per cent. Eighty-three per cent of respondents recorded at least some growth in their business last year while the others reported that enrolments had remained stable. This is in contrast to the previous year's survey, when the language travel market registered growth of just 8.9 per cent (see Language Travel Magazine, October 2003, pages 12-13). The majority of agents pointed to the stability of the Russian economy, combined with increased marketing efforts on their part, for the overall rise in business.

Destination trends
The UK dominated the list of most popular student destinations this year, in keeping with the results from last year. However, a noticeable change since our previous survey was the lack of students opting to study in Australia and New Zealand in 2004. In 2003, New Zealand was the second most popular destination for Russian students, making up 15 per cent of bookings, and Australia was chosen by five per cent of students. However, this time only five per cent of students chose to study in New Zealand, while Australia did not even appear in the league table of preferred destinations and only one agency mentioned that a very small proportion of their clients chose to study there. English was the most popular language among Russian students, making up 75 per cent of agency business. This was followed by French, which represented 13 per cent of business - although one agency only dealt with French bookings - and German, which made up six per cent.

Student trends
The Russian market has always consisted of a high proportion of young learners and this year was no exception, with 38 per cent of students under the age of 15. When asked to identify the age groups that had shown the most growth recently, agents were largely divided with some pointing to very young learners between the ages of eight and 11 and others indicating that the most growth had been in the over-30 year old age range. However, the mid-teens to early 20s appeared to be the most well represented age range as agents explained that students were keen to gain new language skills for future job and education opportunities.

Agency business
When it came to Russian students knowing where they wanted to study, the majority - 83 per cent - already knew which country they wanted to go to, but were more undecided about the city or the school. Compared with our previous survey, the Internet was a more important tool for agents to attract new business, with websites attracting 20 per cent of students.

Looking ahead
Most agencies were positive about the future, although they did acknowledge that business growth would depend largely on the Russian economy. High school programmes were identified as a likely growth area.

Economic overview

The Russian economic situation between January and August 2004 was characterised by the slowing of inflation, growth in the output of goods and services, and increase in real money income.

The ruble lost 0.4 per cent on the dollar on the domestic foreign exchange market month on month in nominal terms in 2004 but gained 0.8 per cent compared with December 2003.

Exports expanded 27.3 per cent from January to August 2004 compared with the same period in 2003. Growth was partly due to a growth in export volumes.

Source: The Central Bank of the Russian Federation

Russian agents named a range of language programmes they work with, including, in Austria: Cultura Wien, Vienna. In Canada: Malaspina University College, Nanaimo, BC. In France: France Langue, Nice. In Germany: Eurasia Institute, Berlin; Humboldt-Institut, various. In Ireland: ATC Language and Travel, Wicklow; International House, Dublin; Swan Training Institute, Dublin. In Malta: English Language Academy, Sliema; European Centre of English Language Studies, St Julians; Institute of English Language Studies, Sliema; Inlingua, Sliema. In New Zealand: Languages International, Auckland. In Switzerland: IHTTI, Basel. In Spain: Enforex, Madrid; Malaca Instituto, Malaga. In the UK: Cambridge Academy of English, Cambridge; EAC Language Centres, Edinburgh; Hampstead School of English, London; Harrow House International College, Swanage; Hawthorn, Edinburgh; International House, London; King's School of English, London; London Metropolitan University, London; LTC International College, Eastbourne; OISE, various; Our World English Schools, London; Regent Language Training, various; Select, various; Superstudy, London; Thames Valley Cultural Centres, Windsor; Torbay Language Centre, Paignton. In the USA: UCLA, Los Angeles, CA. Worldwide: Embassy CES, Sprachcaffe.

Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in our survey: Association des Enseignants de Français; Euroforum Reisen; Educational Agency Litera Scripta Manet; Educational Centre Vera; Firm Efes; Greenwich Meridian Tours; Hartford Partners; Langford Travel; Open World Education Group; Socratus Co.; Sputnik; Universal Council; Uros; Vernad; Youth Student Center Class.

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