March 2005 issue

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

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What are agents?

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Who's reading LTM?

Mexico stays strong

According to the agencies that took part in our survey, business was good in Mexico last year, and things look set to stay that way.

Key points
The total number of students placed by nine of the 10 agencies in our survey was 736

Individual agencies placed between five and 200 students on language courses per year

Average business growth was 26 per cent in 2004

The average length of stay was 16 weeks per student

Agencies represented an average of 29 schools around the world.

Teenagers are expected to be the new growth market, as parents push language learning

Eighty-seven per cent of clients booked host family accommodation

Top destinations Most popular courses
1. Canada 68%
2. USA 10%
3. France 8%
4. UK 5%
5. Other 3%
6. Australia 2%
7. Ireland 2%
8. Italy 2%
1. General 32%
2. Intensive 25%
3. Summer vac. 16%
4. Other 9%
5. Work exp. 4%
5. Exam prep. 4%
5. Au pair 4%
6. Junior 2%

Reasons for language travel Age range of clients
1. Studies at home 39%
2. Current work 29%
3. Studies overseas 26%
4. Pleasure 6%
1. 19-24, 43%
2. 16-18, 21%
3. 25-30, 19%
4. 12-15, 13%
5. 31-50, 4%
6. 8-11, 1%

How do agencies recruit students? How do agencies find new schools to represent?
1. Word of mouth 35%
2. Press 18%
3. Other 18%
4. Website 14%
5. Seminars 11%
6. Mailshots 5%
1. Student fairs 61%
2. LTM/ETM 14%
3. Other 10%
4. Workshops 8%
5. Internet 7%

Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
Acpet 10%
English Australia 30%

Capls 70%
CLC 50%

Souffle 20%
L'Office 10%
Unosel 10%

MEI~Relsa 20%

Asils 10%
Italian in Italy 20%

Feltom 10%

New Zealand
Appel 0%
Crels NZ 0%
Education NZ 10%
Fiels/English NZ 30%

Aeple 0%

Fedele 10%

ABLS 20%
English UK 50%
British Council 90%

Eaquals 10%

Accet 30%
CEA 30%

Ialc 10%

Market growth
Across the 10 agencies that took part in our Agency Survey on Mexico this year, average business growth of 26 per cent was recorded for 2004, with six agencies experiencing an increase in business, two reporting static business compared with 2003, and just one relating a decline in sales (one agency did not answer). Reasons for business growth were variously attributed to individual agency efforts, economic prosperity and the fact that Sars and September 11, 2001, were now no longer affecting the market.

Language and destination trends
Mexico is the only outbound student market that consistently lists Canada as the number-one study destination. In 2004, Canada's share was up on our last survey (see Language Travel Magazine, May 2003, pages 12-13) to 68 per cent, although one agency dealt with Canada only. Canada's lion's share was at the expense of the UK, which slipped to fourth position, behind the USA and France. Australia and Ireland also featured among student preferences this year. English was the language requested by an overall average of 84 per cent of clients, with French a significant second, requested by 12 per cent of the clientele. German and Italian were also studied by a minority of Mexicans.

Student and course trends
Many trends revealed in our last survey remained the same in 2004. Most students were in the 19-to-24 year old age sector and July and August were the most popular times of the year to study overseas. General language courses were the most requested by Mexican students, although summer vacation courses were in number-three position, behind intensive language courses. Language and work experience programmes also remained quite popular, in the number-four position. As was the case in our previous survey, a majority of students, 39 per cent, were learning a language overseas for their further studies at home.

Agency business
Although word-of-mouth recommendation remained the main way of attracting new clients to agencies, press advertising was still the key marketing tool, narrowly ahead of a website, which attracted an average of 14 per cent of new business for our Mexican agents. In terms of agencies finding new schools to represent, the main method remained attending fairs and expos (61 per cent), which is unusual in some other markets, where workshops are generally the main source of new school partnerships. In Mexico, more new school partners were found through Language Travel Magazine than by attending workshops around the world or using the Internet.

Looking ahead
Most of the agencies canvassed were optimistic that 2005 would be a good year for business, and one agency observed that more people in general seem to be travelling now. Many of the agencies pointed to plans to improve agency services as reasons to be optimistic for the future - new promotions, new agency staff and new programmes are all on the agenda, and repeat business is being courted.

Economic overview

Mexico's economy slowly gained strength in 2004, with a pick-up in the US economy having a knock-on effect on Mexico's export market to the USA. GDP rose by approximately 4% last year.

Mexico's economy is affected by stability in the USA's economy, and some analysts forecast moderate growth in 2005.

Industrial production rose by 5.4% in 2004, which was better than expected. Products such as auto parts and home appliances were in high demand.

Sources: BBC, Bloomberg

Mexican agents named a range of language programmes they work with, including, in Canada: Academie Linguistique Internationale, Montreal, QB; BLI, Quebec; Canadian Business English Institute, Vancouver, BC; Centre Linguista, various; Columbia College, Vancouver, BC; Cornerstone Academia College, Toronto, ONT; International Language Academy of Canada, Toronto, ONT; ILSC, Vancouver, BC; King George International College, various; Lasalle College, Montreal, QB; Pacific Language Institute, various; Queen Margaret's School, Vancouver, BC; Omnicom School of Languages, Toronto, ONT; University College of the Cariboo, Kamloops, BC; Vancouver International College, Vancouver, BC; Worldwide Language Institute, Vancouver, BC; YMCA International College, Vancouver, BC. In France: Institut de Touraine, Tours; Ecoles des Roches, Paris; Terre des Langues, Tours; Université de la Sorbonne, Paris. In Switzerland: Surval Mont-Fleuri, Montreux. In the USA: Study Group. Worldwide: Aspect, Eurocentres, EF, LSI, Nacel, Sprachcaffé.

Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in our survey: Canada Connection, Eduterra, Keers Representaciones Asesoria y Servicios Turisticos, Nacel Mexico, Skyline Tours, Turismo Creativo, Viajes Crisam, Viajes Nuevo Leon.

Language Travel Magazine
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