June 2009 issue

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France loses pace

Despite the global economic crisis, a majority of French language travel agents recorded growth in 2008, but are cautious of their business performance for 2009.

Key points
• The total number of students placed by the 8 agencies in our survey was 18,305

• Individual agencies placed between 25 and 11,000 students on language courses each year

• Average business growth was 14.4 per cent

• The average length of stay for French students was 2.08 weeks

• Overall, 68 per cent of French students stayed with host families when studying overseas

47 per cent of French students take a language course for future work

• Three agencies charged a handling fee of between euro 40 (US$53) and euro 80 (US$106)

Top destinations Most popular courses
1. UK 49%
2. USA 14%
3. Ireland 9%
4. Spain 9%
5. Germany 7%
6. Canada 2%
7. Australia 2%
8. Italy 2%
9. Malta 2%
1. Junior 38%
2. General 21%
3. Summer vacation 13%
4. Intensive 10%
5. Business 9%
6. Language & work experience 4%
6. Academic /exam preparation 4%
8. Univesity found. 0.4%
other 0.6%

Reasons for language travel Average percentage agency business
1. Future work 47%
2. Studies at home 35%
3. Current work 12%
4. Pleasure 4%
5. Studies overseas 2%
1. Language learning 80%
2. Work & travel 7%
3. Internships 4%
3. Volunteer 4%
5. Higher education 1%
Other 4%

How do agencies recruit students?
How do agencies find new business partners?
1. Word-of-mouth 36%
2. Website 30%
3. E/online marketing14%
4. Press 6%
4. Mail shots 6%
6. Seminars to students 1%
No reply 7%
1. Workshops 48%
2. Internet 24%
3. LTM/ETM 13%
4. Fairs and expos 7%
No reply 8%

Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
Acpet 29%
English Australia 43%

Languages Canada 43%

Souffle 57%
FLE.fr 86%
L'Office 71%
Unosel 71%

MEI 86%

Asils 43%
Italian in Italy 14%

Feltom 86%

New Zealand
English NZ 43%

Aeple 14%

South Africa
Eltasa 29%
English SA 0%

Fedele 86%

English UK 86%
British Council 100%

Accet 71%
CEA 14%

Eaquals 43%
Ialc 71%
Quality English 29%
Tandem 43%

Market growth
2008 proved to be a rather sluggish year for French language travel agencies. Although the overall growth in student placements reached 14.4 per cent, this includes a new agency whose growth in 2008 was 100 per cent, which rather distorts the overall picture. Omitting this result gives a more accurate insight into the market’s performance in 2008, with an average growth of 2.1 per cent. Half of the agents who took part in this survey reported that student numbers had increased by between five and 100 per cent, while a further 38 per cent of respondents posted a decrease in student numbers of between 10 and 25 per cent. Only one agent said that their numbers had remained the same.

Language and destination trends
English was the most popular language choice for French students, accounting for 72 per cent of bookings – its share had, however, slipped from 78 per cent in our 2007 survey (see LTM, August 2007, pages 14-15). Instead, Spanish, with 16 per cent, and German, with eight per cent, have gained some ground, increasing their share by two and four percentage points respectively. Looking at the top destinations also confirms the trend towards languages other than English with Spain accounting for nine per cent of bookings, compared with three per cent in 2007. Similarly, Germany was up from two per cent to seven per cent this year. However, with the exception of Italy, which accounted for two per cent of bookings in 2008, all the other top destinations for the French outgoing market were English-speaking countries. In number-one position was the UK, which has increased its market share from 30 per cent in our 2007 survey to 49 per cent this year. In contrast, 2007’s number-two, Australia, has slipped from 26 per cent to only two per cent this year. In second place in this year’s survey is the USA with 14 per cent of market share.

Student and course trends
While in 2007, around a third of students were taking a language course for their current work, this year the emphasis in the market has changed to future work, This was the reason why 47 per cent of students decided to take a language course overseas, compared with 28 per cent in 2007. This may be explained by the fact that the agencies in this issue’s survey may specialise in a slightly younger clientele. This is evidenced in the fact that junior courses were the most popular, accounting for 38 per cent of bookings, and because average stay was just 2.08 weeks.

Agency business
Eighty per cent of clients who consulted the agencies in this issue’s survey wanted to book a language course, while only seven per cent were looking for work experience programmes, four per cent internships and a further four per cent volunteer programmes. After word-of-mouth recommendations, agency websites were the most important means of attracting new clients, followed by emails and online marketing. When it comes to finding new schools to represent, workshops were the top method of finding new partners, followed by the Internet and then Language Travel Magazine (LTM).

Looking ahead
Although two agencies were positive about 2009, the rest were more downbeat in their forecasts, mainly because of the adverse global economic climate.

Economic overview

• Although France has been adversely affected by the global economic crisis, it just managed to avoid recession in 2008, and managed to notch up GDP growth for year-end 2008 of 0.7 per cent.

• French unemployment rose by 45,800 in December 2008, and by January 2009 the unemployment rate for France stood at 8.3 per cent, up by 0.7 percentage points on year-end 2008. Economists forecast that the jobless rate in France will reach 9.8 per cent in 2009.

• French business confidence was at a record low in March 2009, and consumer spending in February dropped by a sharper-than-expected two per cent. Real GDP is forecast to shrink in 2009.

Sources: Insee, OECD, Forbes.com, Reuters

French agents named a range of language programmes they work with, including, in Germany: Astur, various. In Ireland: CES, Dublin; Cork English College, Cork; Galway Cultural Institute, Galway. In Italy: Linguaviva, Florence. In Malta: NSTS, Gzira. In Spain: Malaca Instituto, Malaga. In the UK: Bloomsbury International, London; CES, various; EAC, various; EC, London; Frances King School of English, London; Manchester Academy, Manchester; Oxford House, Stratford; Regent School of English, London; Studio School, Cambridge; TTI School of English, London. In the USA: Brandon College, San Francisco; ELC, Boston; Rennert Bilingual, New York.

Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in our survey: Accent d’Ailleurs, Activa-Langues, Admirative I am, Etudes & Decouvertes Internationales, Inter Sejours, Juralangues, La Ligue de l’enseignement, Nacel.

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.





Britannia Student

English Australia
Feltom Malta  
International House
      World Organisation
Languages Canada /
      Langues Canada  
Perth Education City

Feltom Malta  
LTM Star Awards  

Hub and Spoke
      Connections Limited

Malta Tourism

BASP (Buenos Aires
      Spanish School)
Ecela - Latin
      (Argentina, Chile,
Ability Education
Embassy CES  
English Australia  
Geos Oceania
      (Australia, New
Language Studies
      (Canada, France,
Pacific Gateway
      International College
Perth Education City
Southbank Institute
      Of Technology  
University of
University of Western
      Sydney College  

Berlitz Canada
Bow Valley College
Camber College
English Bay College
Hansa Language
      Centre of Toronto  
IH Toronto  
King George
      International College
Languages Canada /
      Langues Canada  
Ottawa International
      Student Programmes
Richmond School
      District #38  
Stewart College of
Vancouver English

Bell International 
      (Malta, UK) 
International House
      World Organisation
Kaplan Aspect  
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta, New
      Zealand, South
      Africa, UK, USA)
LAL Language and
      (Canada, Cyprus,
      Ireland, England,
      South Africa, Spain,
      Switzerland, USA)
London Metropolitan
Malvern House
      College London  
Shakespeare College
St Clare's Oxford
Study Group
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
Queen Ethelburga's
Twin Group
      (Ireland, UK, USA)
University of Essex -

Alliance Française
      Paris Ile de France  
Universite de Paris
SILC - Séjours
      (England, France,

International House
      Berlin - Prolog  

Genki Japanese
      and Culture School  
Kai Japanese
      Language School  
      Language School  

      University of Creative

Clubclass Residential
      Language School  
Feltom Malta  
Malta Tourism

The University
      Of Auckland -
      Massey University  

Pamplona Learning
      Spanish Institute  

EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Costa Rica,
      Ecuador, England,
      France, Germany,
      Italy, Malta, New
      Zealand, Singapore,
      South Africa, Spain,

Angelo State
Arizona State
Brown University  
inlingua Language
      Service Center  
Syracuse University
University of Arizona
University of
      California Riverside  
Zoni Language
      (Canada, USA)