February 2006 issue

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

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UK doing well

Since our last survey of the UK outbound market several years ago, most agencies have experienced business growth, with a higher volume of students overall studying overseas.

Key points
The total number of students placed by 7 of the 8 agencies in our survey was 13,398

Average business growth was 24.6 per cent

The average length of stay for British students was 2.8 weeks

One agency charged a handling fee, with another planning to do so from 2006

Individual agencies placed between 250 and 5,000 students – and overall volume was significant in the UK, compared with other markets

Cuba was the fourth most popular destination for British students

Agencies represented, on average, 24 different study destinations

Top destinations Most popular courses
1. Spain 34%
2. France 25%
3. Other 12%
4. Italy 8%
5. Cuba 7%
6. Germany 4%
6. Costa Rica 4%
8. Mexico 3%
8. Guatemala 3%
1. General 72%
2. Junior progs. 8%
3. Intensive(+25 hrs) 6%
4. Other 4%
5. Summer vacation 3%
5. Academic prep. 3%
7. Lang + work exp. 2%
7. Business lang. 2%
7. Business lang. 2%

Reasons for language travel Top languages
1. Pleasure 36%
2. Studies at home 22%
3. Studies overseas 15.5%
4. Future work 13%
5. Current work 10.5%
6. Other 3%
1. Spanish 54%
2. French 25%
3. Italian 8%
4. German 6%
5. Other 5%
6. Japanese 1%
6. Portugese 1%

How do agencies recruit students?

How do agencies find new schools to represent?
Website 43%
Word of mouth 23%
Mail shots 17%
Other 11%
Advertising in press 3%
Seminars to students 3%
Internet 52%
Fairs/expos 39%
Other press 4%
Workshops 5%

Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
Acpet 0%
English Australia 0%

Capls 16%
CLC 0%

Souffle 50%
L'Office 16%
Unosel 16%
FLE 0%

MEI~Relsa 16%

Asils 33%
Italian in Italy 0%

Feltom 0%

New Zealand
Appel 0%

Education NZ 0%
English NZ 30%

Aeple 0%

Fedele 66%

ABLS 50%
English UK 83%
British Council 100%

Eaquals 66%

Accet 0%
CEA 20%

Ialc 66%

Market growth
Since our last survey of the UK market (see Language Travel Magazine, October 2000, page 18), the UK outbound market appears to have evolved considerably, with the Internet now a crucial business resource, and many agencies sending a significantly higher number of clients overseas to learn a language. When asked how their business had performed in 2005 compared with 2004, most agencies indicated that it had increased year on year, with an average growth of 24.6 per cent. Only one of the agencies that answered the question indicated that business had declined by two per cent, which was attributed to more Internet bookings.

Language and destination trends
The same language and destination trends from our 1999 survey (published in 2000) stay true today, with Spanish being the most requested language, followed by French and then Italian. In terms of destination choice, Spain remains in number-one position, followed by France and Italy, but Cuba is in fourth position, overtaking Costa Rica which was in this spot previously. Our survey respondents mentioned a whole range of languages and destinations, such as Portuguese in Brazil or Portugal, Russian in Russia and Spanish in Peru and Guatemala, as being requested by clients. Just over half of all clients – 54 per cent – wanted to study Spanish, with French language training requested by a further quarter of clients.

Student and course trends
A majority of students – just over one third – took a language travel trip for pleasure only, while the second most likely reason for taking a language course was for studies at home. In our previous survey, studies at home was the main reason for taking a language course, and the increase in clients travelling for pleasure must be linked to the overall increase in volume experienced by most of the agencies in our survey. Low-cost flights may have impacted on the market, as well as a societal trend towards a holiday with a difference. General language courses were chosen by 72 per cent of agency clients, which explains many students'; pleasure motivations for their trip. Junior programmes were the second most popular course, followed by intensive programmes. Fifty-four per cent of clients chose host family accommodation and 29 per cent opted for residential accommodation.

Agency business
Almost half of all UK agency clients (43 per cent) are now recruited via websites, with word-of-mouth recommendation accounting for a further 23 per cent of business. Agencies also use the Internet to find new school partners – 52 per cent of new partners were located initially on the Internet, according to our respondents, with fairs and exhibitions responsible for a further 39 per cent of new business partnerships, far more important than workshops, in fact.

Looking ahead
All of the agencies surveyed were optimistic about business growth in 2006, with growth of up to 35 per cent forecast by various respondents. Three said a renovated website and new brochure or staff were expected to contribute to a growth in bookings.

Economic overview

Analysts predict that economic growth may improve in 2006 when compared with 2005, which was a stagnant year, with an annual growth rate of around 1.7%. A rate of 2.2% has been forecast for this year, still below 2004';s 3.2% figure.

An uncertain employment market and fears over tax increases are reported to be keeping consumers cautious about spending. Nevertheless, there are mixed indicators about the economy';s performance. In September, there was a slight increase in retail spending and house prices, which had previously dipped, picked up slightly.

Sources: Reuters/Bloomberg.

UK agents named a range of language programmes they work with, including, in Cuba: Spanish and Dance in Cuba, Santiago de Cuba; Study Team, various. In France: Accord, Paris; Alpha B, Nice; College International de Cannes, Cannes; France Langue, Paris; LSF, Montpellier. In Germany: GLS Sprachenzentrum, Berlin. In Guatemala: Ixchel Spanish School, Antigua. In Japan: Asahi Nihongo, Fukuoka. In Spain: Clic IH, Seville; Enforex, Barcelona; Don Quijote, various; Escuela de Idiomas Nerja, Nerja; Estudio Sampere, Madrid; Lacunza IH, San Sebastian; Malaca Instituto, Malaga.

Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in our survey:
Cactus Language; Caledonia Languages; CESA Languages Abroad; Euro Academy; Ferryhill Travel; Language Courses Abroad; Spanish Express; STA Travel.

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.




Education New
      Zealand Trust
English Australia

Malta Tourism

Alphe Agent

Language Travel

English Australia

Cultura Wien

Académie des
      langues de Trois
Algonquin and
      Lakeshore Catholic
      District School Board
Bodwell College
Bow Valley College
      Student Services
Cowichan Valley
      School District # 79
Delta School District
Fraser Cascade -
      School District # 78
Ottawa International
      Student Programmes
Richmond School
      District # 38
University of Calgary
West Vancouver
      School District # 45

Aspect (Australia,
      Canada, England,
      France, Germany,
      Ireland, Malta, New
      Zealand, Scotland,
      South Africa, Spain,
Bell International
Eastbourne School
      of English
LAL Language and
      Leisure (England,
      Malta, South Africa,
Langbourne College
Leeds English
      Language School
Malvern House
Oxford Brookes
Queen Ethelburga's
Salisbury School of
St Giles Colleges
      (UK, USA)
St John's Wood
      School of English
Study Group
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, New Zealand,
      South Africa,
      Spain, USA)
University of

Centre d'Etudes des
      Langues de Saint-
Institut Français Riéra
IS Aix-en-Provence
SILC - Séjours
      (England, France,
Université de

F+U Academy
      (Austria, Germany,
Lichtenberg Kolleg
Prolog- International
      House Berlin

High Schools
      International (HSI)
      (England, Australia,
      Canada, Ireland,

Est Ovest
Istituto Linguistico

EC English
      Language Centre
      (England, Malta)
inlingua Malta
Malta Tourism

Education New
      Zealand Trust

Liden & Denz
      Language Centre

Cape Studies -
      Pacific Gateway
      Study Group
Eurocentres Cape
Geos Cape Town
      Language  Centre
Good Hope Studies 
inlingua Language
      Training Centre
      Cape Town
Interlink School of
International House -
Jeffrey's Bay
      Language Centre
LAL Cape Town
LAL Durban
Shane Global
      Language Centres -
      Cape Town

Estudio Sampere
      (Ecuador, Spain)
Kings College
      (England, Spain)

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

American Language
Kaplan Educational
      Centers (Canada,
      England, USA)
Zoni Language

CELTiC (Schools)