January 2006 issue

Travel News
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Agency Survey
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Course Guide
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WYSTC wins in Toronto

The annual World Youth and Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) hosted jointly by the Federation of International Youth Travel Operations (Fiyto) and International Student Travel Confederation (ISTC) was a hit for the 824 delegates who attended the event, held in Toronto, Canada, in October.

The central city location meant that the "atmosphere was better", according to Jose Luis Ponti of CEI - Clubs des Quatre Vents in France, who added that he saw a lot of new products at the event, which showcases a wide range of companies from language schools and language travel agencies to hostels, backpacker tours, mainstream adventure travel operators and associated products. "I saw a lot of products related to internships and work & travel, presented in a different way," he said, adding that he also appreciated the responsible travel campaign launched by ISTC. "Everybody knows the message but it is still good to remind everyone." ISTC launched a plastic wristband to promote their message during the conference: Travel to explore, live, respect and for peace.

At the week-long event, ISTC and Fiyto also announced their intention to merge, following the efforts of a steering committee convened after the proposal was announced in 2004. "For more than 50 years our two organisations have been side-by-side in establishing, promoting and protecting the unique identity of youth, student and international educational travel," said Susan Goldstein, Acting Director General of Fiyto. "Now, we have joined forces to provide a single voice." At the time of going to press, no further details were available regarding the new name or operations.

Matt Wyatt from Global Village Backpackers in Canada backed the move. "It seems like a logical step and a better way to target the student/travel demograph and a better use of resources," he said. Fiyto, based in Denmark, has over 450 members while ISTC, based in the Netherlands, represents 5,000 offices, and its members have sole rights to sell the ISIC student discount card.

Overall, delegates seemed pleased with the range of companies present at WYSTC and the social opportunities. Robin Adams at Global Village English Centres said, "It';s been a great opportunity to speak more closely with agents in a pretty social setting." Mike Walkey of ELS Language Centres in Canada, who said he would like to have met more Asian agents, agreed that the social opportunities were good. "We have a school in Toronto so [the event] has been effective for getting people through the door," he added.

OISE decides to delay flotation

One of the industry';s largest private language school operators, OISE, has delayed plans to raise up to UK£3 million (US$5.3 million) by listing on the UK';s Alternative Investment Market (AIM). The company was planning on continued expansion with the funds generated by a partial flotation in late 2005.

Till Gins, Chief Executive of the OISE Group, which operates seven brands, told Language Travel Magazine that a satisfactory valuation of the company, to reflect its performance since the purchase of Regent in late 2004, could not be reached given that a valuation was based on 2004 financial year figures. "We plan to consolidate our profits and go back and get a substantially improved price [in 2006]," he said.

OISE is now estimated to be the UK';s biggest private English language training provider since it acquired Regent, for which it paid UK£5 million (US$8.8 million). The group has 22 permanent and 22 summer schools around the world, operating as OISE, Regent, Pilgrims, Basil Paterson, Central School of English, Harven School of English and Trebinshun House (formerly part of the Regent group).

Broker, Charles Stanley & Co., which advised OISE on the listing, reported that 2005 year-end pre-tax profits for the company could reach UK£2.4 million (US$4.2 million), with an annual turnover of UK£27.5 million (US$48.6 million).

The company operates OISE sales offices in Bordeaux, Geneva, Heidelberg, Lille, Lyon, Madrid, Milan, Oxford, Paris and Versailles and for OISE brand schools, other agencies recruit only a minority of clients to date. Fifty-nine per cent of the company';s overall business is in the young adult sector, teaching clients aged from 17 to 25, and a further 24 per cent of business is with young learners. Business language courses and teacher training represent the remainder of teaching activity.

New consortium in Canada

A contingent of language schools in Canada has grouped together and branded itself as the Archer Education Group (AEG). The group represents schools in Toronto, Vancouver and Hamilton and has support offices in Brazil, China, South Korea and the Czech Republic. AEG describes itself as a "combined technology and international education" company that aims to become a one-stop shop for agencies sending clients to Canada.

The schools involved are Languages International, Diamond Institute, the Canadian College of Business and English, and Toronto Academic School in Toronto; Winfield College in Vancouver; and The Language Circle in Hamilton. They represent language schools, high schools and colleges.

Douglas McKibbin, Director of Languages International, explained that the idea was the brainchild of Jason Hiebert, Chief Executive of AEG, who has two successful education technology companies offering online English language tuition. McKibbin said that Hiebert had "brought together a group of schools that were already well-established and, in fact, these schools are really shaping the future of Archer through their close collaboration and enthusiasm for this new venture." All the owners of each institution are now part-owners in a larger operation, and McKibbin said, "Our plan is to grow with more locations, even in other countries, not just in Canada."

As well as a central website, the group has support offices that have either been created internally or through acquisition. "In China, we have staff who help create our technology services [and] provide support to prospective students," said McKibbin. The office is headed by Tang Zhonghua, ex-employee of the Ministry of Education in Beijing. McKibbin added that in the Czech Republic, the support office is primarily a local English language school.

Belta in Brazil now promoting inbound travel

The Brazilian agency association, Belta, has joined forces with national tourism body Embratur to form the Brazilian Exchange Bureau (BEB). The BEB is aiming to promote inbound tourism into Brazil and aims to put the country on the map as a prime 21st-century study destination.

Tatiana Mendes, Chairperson of Belta and BEB, said that almost half of Belta';s members were involved in the inbound travel market. "Apart from academic exchange, the principal programmes sought by foreigners interested in studying in Brazil are sports, Portuguese language and social-oriented work," she explained.

The group has published a guide, Study in Brazil, which will help generate interest in Brazil as a study destination. It features an introduction to the five regions and a profile of the types of programmes that are available. BEB also attended the Nafsa conference in the USA and WYSTC in Toronto, Canada. And in early 2006, Language Travel Magazine will be visiting Brazil to see the programmes and training institutions first-hand.

"We know that the country has a great potential for educational tourism, but we need to create a distribution network for [these] products," said Jurema Monteiro at Embratur.

Obituary: Alberto Sampere

Alberto sampere, 1929-2005, Founder of Estudio Sampere and of the International Association of Language Centres (Ialc), passed away in Alicante on November 6, 2005. He devoted his life to languages and pioneered Spanish language teaching in Madrid in the 1950s and language travel in Spain. He was a great educator, a pillar of the language community and a man of rock-like integrity.

Ireland wooing Chinese

Ireland';s Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin, addressed the Ireland China Association in October and commended the group on its success promoting business and cultural links between the two countries.

She outlined key elements of Ireland';s Asia Strategy, which includes attracting 5,000 more Chinese students into Ireland';s higher education system by 2009, as well as building links with other Asian countries. "As China continues to grow in importance in the world';s economy it will be through our education links that Ireland – a small and distant country with its own traditions and culture – will develop its relationships with the People';s Republic," commented Hanafin.

Contact any advertiser in the January 2006 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 us the form.




Australian Council
      for Private Education
English Australia
Sydney West
      International College

Global Lifestyles
Hawthorn Vancouver

      Academic (England,
      Ireland, Canada,
      USA, Malta, Cyprus,
      New Zealand)
Aspect (Australia,
      Canada, England,
      France, Germany,
      Ireland, Malta,
      New Zealand,
      Scotland, South
      Africa, Spain, USA)
Bell International
Camp Beaumont
Churchill House
Eden School of
EJO (The Elizabeth
English Language
English UK
Kings Street College
LAL Language and
      Leisure (England,
      Malta, South Africa,
Langbourne College
Language Studies
Malvern House
Manor Courses
Quality English
Queen Ethelburga's
Sheffield Hallam
St Giles College,
St Giles Colleges
      (UK, USA)
Study Group
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
United World School
      of English
University of Sussex

Le Génie des
SILC - Sejours
      (England, France,
Université de Paris

Did Deutsch-Institut
Inlingua Berlin
Inlingua Munich
IP International
      Projects (Australia,
      Canada, Cuba,
      England, France,
      Germany, Italy,
      Malta, Spain, USA)
Prolog- International
      House Berlin

Galway Cultural

Tokyo World
      Language School

am Language Studio
English Language
Malta Tourism
      School of English

      Intensive Spanish
      Language Institute

Education New
      Zealand Trust

Language Link,
Liden & Denz
      Language Centre

Kings College

EF Language
      Colleges (Australia,
      Canada, China,
      Ecuador, England,
      France, Germany,
      Italy, Malta, New
      Zealand, Russia,
      Spain, Switzerland,

American Language
Kaplan Educational
      Centers (Canada,
      England, USA)
University of
      California Riverside
Zoni Language


Conestoga College

      Community College

London International
      Study Centre /
      Sutherland Education
Queen Ethelburga's
Sidcot School
St Clare's Oxford
Tasis - The American
      School in England
      (England, France,
      Italy, Spain,

Bay of Plenty
      Polytechnic (New

Oak International
      (Ireland, Switzerland,

Australian Council
      Private Education
Education New
      Zealand Trust
English Australia
English UK
Quality English

Alphe Agent

Language Travel
      'Phone Card

Malta Tourism