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January 2009 issue

Contents
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Agency News
Agency Survey
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Market Report
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Special Report
Course Guide
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Spain hopeful

It’s a tense time for Spanish language schools; the global economic downturn could spell trouble for providers but with newer marketing tools in place and a concerted effort to concentrate on more popular course offerings, many remain steadfast. Nicola Hancox reports.

Opinion varied when Spanish language providers were asked how well student numbers performed this year. Out of the eight schools surveyed, three reported a slow but steady increase and two acknowledged that their student intake had remained on a par with last year. Of the other three, one was a start-up school and the others mentioned modest declines in growth.

Paola Vecchi from Colegio Maravillas in Malaga notes that they experienced a 15 per cent increase in their group bookings alone in 2008. “The number of students altogether has increased a little this year with a much larger increase in school groups travelling during the spring months,” she says.

Boelo van der Pool from Babel Idiomas in Malaga relates that the school has upped its student intake by becoming totally web reliant. “We are now completely web-based. [There are] no printed brochures or leaflets. Everything is online and is done via email or phone,” Van der Pool enthuses. He adds that this new approach not only benefits the school but also the clients. “I think that when you work online, the personal touch of your service is of enormous value. Schools can help with that as well, as you have to answer all your client’s questions as fast and as accurately as possible.”

General language courses lost their flavour slightly in 2008 with providers putting their weight behind more specialised courses instead. “It seems to be increasingly evident that offering the standard general language course offered by everyone else is not the best way forward,” notes Bob Burger from Malaca Instituto in Malaga. This school turned its attention to language plus courses in 2008 – where students can combine language tuition with a typically Spanish activity. “Schools like us have the resources to offer alternative programmes like Spanish plus cookery and Spanish plus dance,” he ventures.

Marga Fortmann at Escuela Montalbán in Granada agrees and says their language plus programme has come on leaps and bounds in the last year or so. “[We have] more language plus activity courses [and] our one week Spanish and Flamenco, Spanish and cooking and Spanish and horse-riding have been very successful,” she reveals. She notes that such programming proved particularly popular with UK students in 2008.

However, economic instability has led some schools to think change is afoot. “If there is a downturn in student numbers due to the economic crisis,” notes Burger, “there might be a reduction in the number of schools possibly resulting in a larger market share for the well established schools.” Indeed, can new schools cut it in the current climate? According to Daniel Bertole, Director of Instituto de Idiomas in Ibiza, yes they can. Having launched the school in 2008, Bertole is well aware that in order to generate business, schools must be active in a wide variety of markets. “[We expect] an increase of enrolments of other nationalities due to our effort to find agencies in more countries,” he says.

Vecchi, meanwhile, in Malaga relates that it is difficult to predict what 2009 has in store for the Spanish language teaching market. She predicts a comfortable status quo as the most likely business outcome. “I think that although the spring season is looking good with many groups already confirmed, we will probably maintain the same numbers… luckily!” she ventures.

But Luis Carrion from Escuela de Idiomas Nerja in Nerja relates that the benefits of language learning outweigh the costs involved. “Our clients still have the economic capacity to afford courses abroad for their interest and CVs,” he suggests.

What is clear, however, is that revised programming seems to be breathing new life into the Spanish teaching market, something Nadia Carli from International House in Barcelona testifies to. “Currently we are offering more language plus activity courses. As a result we are attracting a different kind of student with a different kind of interest.”


Cheap flights

“Ticket prices for flights have increased a lot,” notes Marga Fortmann at Escuela Montalbán in Granada. Indeed, the cost of air travel has jumped considerably over the last few years. Team that with recent route cancellations in Spain and it looks as if finding a flight to Spain – or anywhere for that matter – may become a more difficult task than it once was.

“I suppose that the general economic crisis is affecting us,” adds Fortmann. “Some low-cost airlines have cancelled routes from Frankfurt to Granada,” she relates. With many Spanish schools heavily reliant on students from countries such as the UK, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands (all the schools surveyed noted that their best performing markets were from Western Europe) providers are fast realising that low-cost flights are an integral incentive for some clients.

“Air fares and routings most definitely affect a destination,” asserts Bob Burger from Malaca Instituto in Malaga, but he doubts language school clients will suffer greatly from the aforementioned route cancellations and price hikes. “Low cost carriers are logically very popular with students,” he says. “I believe that Ryanair recently agreed that up to 40 per cent of its passengers might be discretionary passengers – meaning, I believe, spontaneous purchasers of a good deal. These are the ones [Ryanair believes are] at risk with the credit crunch. I doubt if these are really language school clients.”

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.

Name

Company
Country

Telephone

Email


 ACCOMMODATION
Britannia Student
      Services  

AGENTS / CONSULTANTS
Bridge Agency
      Overseas
      Education
      Centre  
Intellect Agency  

ASSOCIATIONS / GROUPS
English Australia  
English UK  
MEI-Relsa Ireland  
Perth Education
      City 

SERVICES
Internet Advantage
InTouch  
Your World on
      Monday  

TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism
      Authority  

WORKSHOP / EXPOS
Alphe Conferences 
English Australia  
English UK  
MEI-Relsa Ireland 

AUSTRALIA
Ability Education  
Australia4U  
English Australia  
Geos International
      Schools
      (Australia, Canada,
      Costa Rica,
      England, France,
      Ireland, Japan,
      Korea, Malta,
      New Zealand,
      Singapore, South
      Africa, Spain,
      Thailand, USA)
Perth Education
      City  

BELGIUM
Ceran Lingua
      International 
      (Belgium, France,
      Spain, UK)
 
CANADA
Hansa Language
      Centre of Toronto  
Saint Charles
      Garnier College  
Stewart College
      of Languages  

ENGLAND
Ardmore Language
      Schools (UK, USA)
Bell International 
      (Malta, UK) 
Camp Beaumont  
Hampstead School
      of English  
Homelingua  
IP International
      Projects GmbH  
      (England, France,
      Germany, Spain)
Kaplan Aspect  
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta, New
      Zealand, South
      Africa, UK, USA)
LAL Language and
      Leisure  
      (Canada, Cyprus,
      Ireland, England,
      South Africa, Spain,
      Switzerland, USA)
Millfield School  
Plus 
      (Ireland, Italy,
      UK, USA)  
Prime Education  
Queen Ethelburga's
      College  
Reaseheath
      College  
RLI Language
      Services  
St Giles Colleges 
       (Canada, UK, USA) 
Study Group  
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
      USA)
Twin Group 
      (Ireland, UK)  
University of Essex
       - International
      Academy  
Wimbledon School
      of English  

FRANCE
Langues Sans
      Frontieres  

GERMANY
Carl Duisberg
      Centren 
      (England, Germany) 
F+U Academy  
      (Germany, Spain)
inlingua Berlin  
International
      House Berlin -
      Prolog  

JAPAN
Kai Japanese
      Language School  
Tamagawa
      International
      Language School  

MALTA
Clubclass
      Residential
      Language School  
Iels - Institute of
      English Language
      Studies  
inlingua Malta  

MEXICO
Centro Marista de
      Idiomas - Cemadi  

NEW ZEALAND
Fern English  
Languages
      International 
Leisure Learn
      English  
Seafield School
      of English  
Unique New
      Zealand Education

NORTHERN IRELAND
North West
      Academy of
      English  

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Active English  
Clare Language
      Centre  
ISI - International
      Study Institute
      Ireland  
Language College
      Ireland  
MEI-Relsa Ireland  

SCOTLAND
EAC Language
      Centres and
      Activity Camps.  
      (England, Ireland,
      Scotland, Wales)
Glasgow School
      of English  
University of
      Glasgow  

SOUTH AFRICA
Cape Studies  

SPAIN
Castila - Centro de
      Estudios
      Hispánicos  
International House
      Sevilla - Clic  
Malaca Instituto -
      Club Hispanico SL  

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

THAILAND
Prem Tinsulanonda
      Center for
      International
      Education  

USA
Boston Academy
      of English  
EF International
      Language Schools  
ELS Language
      Centers  
Global Language
      Institute  
University of
      Delaware  
University of
      Nevada Reno  
University of
      South Carolina  
Zoni Language
      Centers  
      (Canada, USA)