Contents - March 2006

Special Report
Agency pioneers
The language travel industry has come a long way, but what was the agency industry like in the early days, who were the pioneers, and how have some of the long-standing businesses evolved over the years? Amy Baker takes a look at the history of the business.

High season
Despite the growing number of people who take language programmes outside of the peak season, the summer months in Europe in particular remain highly popular for language travel, as Gillian Evans reports.

New Zealand's wide appeal
One of the most geographically isolated countries in the world, New Zealand offers language travellers an endless range of exciting experiences. Gillian Evans finds out more about this fascinating destination.


And away they go
The annual results of our globally comparative Status survey are made available in this issue, allowing direct comparison of trends such as nationality breakdown, student recruitment and price across countries (page 50). The results are engaging; New Zealand made the most use of agents for its student recruitment in 2004, for example, while Spain appeared to have the cheapest prices for tuition overall.

New Zealand will be glad of some good agent partners given that the most recent 2005 figures, released by the Ministry of Education, indicate further declines in student numbers for this country (page 6). A government minister has promised to lend his attention to the issue of the collapse in Chinese student numbers at least.

As agents will testify, it is not price alone that puts students on seats, and New Zealand is pretty much the median when it comes to price, according to our Status surveys. Other factors such as distance, visa issues, and increasingly, long-term prospects in a country also influence a student's study abroad decision.

In other countries, governments seem to be stepping up efforts to attract international students, mindful of this fact. For example, in the UK, revised working rights for some graduates are being introduced, which will enhance the appeal of studying long-term in the country (page 53). Frankly, the UK needs to promote such advantages – it had the highest tuition rates in 2004 according our Status survey (page 50).

Canada has implemented work-rights for full-time students in many provinces, following successful pilot programmes (page 53), and it has also improved its long-term migration appeal by announcing that it will be easier for graduating students to gain resident status in the country (page 7). With extra funding being channelled into a website advising students of their options in Canada, it seems as if the country is posturing to rise up the league table of preferred destinations.

The USA, famously recalcitrant in recent years in terms of actively recruiting internationals, is also intending to tour education fairs this year to promote its message, although immigration reform is not on the cards as yet (page 53). And the Irish government has provided funding to teach young Japanese and Korean students about the joys of Ireland, through a classroom kit for teachers (page 7). International student recruitment is certainly on the radar of governments worldwide as they rev up for a dynamic 2006.

And away they go

NZ numbers plummet
Acpet plays key role in forum in China
Canada improves immigration routes
MEI~Relsa's study kit for key Asian markets
AMIE is born in Mexico
US think tank pushes study abroad

Travel News
Record increase for Europe's airlines
Low-cost UK?US flight on the horizon
Budget Hong Kong airline takes off

Agency News
Alto survey results: agency role is key
IDP poses strong competition to agents

Agency Survey
Russia looks ahead,
Although not experiencing the same growth as in our previous Agency Survey, Russian agencies painted a picture of health for the country's outbound language travel market. Further growth and expansion is also predicted for the next 12 months, according to our respondents.

Australia feedback
Agent usage was high among the students taking part in our Feedback survey on Australia, although the high number of Asian students meant that personal recommendations from friends and family still remained an important way of finding out where to study.

Course Guide
Summer courses
Summer activity courses in the USA and Canada are popular with all ages, although they particularly appeal to the teen market.

Spanish and culture
Spanish language programmes that offer a dedicated cultural element are reported to be performing well, especially those combining Spanish language with dance tuition. We profile a range of such programmes in Spain.

City Focus
Paris's possibilities
Trendy art galleries, elegant department stores, restaurants, parks and even a beach all combine to make Paris one of the world's favourite destinations, says Jane Vernon Smith.

Global comparison
In our global comparison article, we provide a breakdown of results from our Status surveys over the past year. In this article, it is possible to compare the nationality breakdown for international students across the major language teaching markets in the world for 2004.