Contents - February 2006

Special Report
Beyond language acquisition
Language plus activity programmes, which team language tuition with a specific interest, remain a niche sector of the language travel industry despite having clear benefits for the agents and schools that offer them, as well as the students who take up such programmes. Gillian Evans reports.

Visa lowdown
All countries need to work towards the implementation of a transparent visa application system that doesn't discriminate against genuine students. Some destinations are further down this path than others, Bethan Norris discovers.

Ireland';s charm.
Nature and industry, beaches and mountains, quaint villages and cool cities, and of course, friendly pubs, Amy Baker takes a tour around Ireland.


Shaping the future
Music on vinyl and good old-fashioned soap; two examples of products that are obsolete in Britain, we are told, as more modern options of CDs, downloadable music and shower gel take over. Similarly, travel products evolve, with e-vouchers replacing airline tickets and the Internet replacing the local agent selling and organising flights for the everyman.

As consumers, we evolve, but our needs remain constant, albeit with an increasingly technological bent. The desire to travel and see the world is, if anything, increasing, fuelled by the low-cost Internet-friendly carriers offering to open our eyes to a new culture for the price of a bar of soap (how much again?). The phenomenon of cheap travel is set to reach new world regions, with Saudi Arabia gearing up for the first low-cost carrier in the country, while Air Berlin in Germany goes from strength to strength (page 8).

Reading our UK Agency Survey this month, it is striking that the overall volume in this market, given the similar sample of agencies taking part in the survey five years ago, has grown significantly in that time, and opinion indicates that it will continue to grow (pages 14-15). It is useful to compare decade on decade trends as much as to compare year on year trends sometimes for this reason.

In the USA, serious efforts at national level to encourage study abroad are underway, and, if successful, then thanks to government funding, the USA may be as buoyant a market as the UK, although the USA mainly has its sights on undergraduate exchange (page 6).

How else is the travel industry evolving? As well as overall passenger traffic up (page 8), within our industry, there is a definite shift towards academically-motivated study, particularly into English speaking destinations. Agents relate that language programmes with an intrinsic activity component, while interesting, do not sell so well (pages 26-30), while high schools in Canada are happy to point out that their overseas intake is rising, largely due to students wanting assured entry into further education (page 35). In the UK, Study Group have announced a collaboration with a university to provide a dedicated study centre and foundation programmes, and suggest more agreements of this type are on the agenda (page 7).

The need for education remains integral, but the process of how and where it is delivered is changing radically, and students'; horizons are broadening, as professionals such as yourselves help shape the future.

Shaping the future

Enforex buys Don Quijote
Open Doors reveals static student numbers in the USA
Visa shake-up in Australia
Tellus takeover in Plymouth
Study Group working with University of Sussex in the UK

Travel News
Air Berlin expands network
Tourism figures up
Canada and USA widen agreement

Agency News
Icef in Berlin bigger than ever
First Alphe Russia offers real results

Agency Survey
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.

Growth in the number of American students going to Italy to learn Italian and a declining use of agents by students to book their language course characterised this year's Feedback survey on Italy.

Course Guide
UK exam courses

Canadian high school year
Many high schools in Canada welcome international students and value them as an important part of their student body. We report on this growing education sector in Canada and profile a range of institutions.

City Focus
Madrid's magic
,With a bounty of wonderful art galleries, a non-stop nightlife and a population renowned for being loud and chatty, Madrid promises language travellers a lively experience, as Gillian Evans finds out.

Sauth Africa 2004
The Status survey is a venture by Language Travel Magazine, which gathers specific market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world. For the first time, it is possible to compare world market statistics.