May 2009 issue

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

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Swiss courage

It’s been a topsy turvey year for the outbound student market in Switzerland, with economic strife seemingly at the heart of it all. However, agents appear to be taking it in their stride.

Key points
• Not all participating agencies gave a figure for students placed last year; a total of 2,979 students were placed by seven agencies

• Average business growth was minus five per cent in the last 12 months

• The average length of stay was three weeks

• Overall, 65 per cent of Swiss students stayed in host family accommodation

• Language learning overseas accounted for 73 per cent of overall agency business

• The UK is now rated the most popular destination choice for Swiss students

• On average, agencies worked with 45 schools in 16 countries

Top destinations Most popular courses
1. UK 32%
2. Australia 22%
3. Malta 10%
4. France 8%
4. Spain 8%
6. USA 6.5%
7. New Zealand 4.5%
Other 9%
1. Intensive 39%
2. Summer vacation 25%
3. General 19%
4. Business 7%
5. Academic/exam preparation 6%
6. Junior 3%
Other 1%

Reasons for language travel Average percentage agency business
1. Future work 50%
2. Studies at home 18%
3. PLeasure 13%
4. Current work 12%
5. Studies overseas 7%
1. Language learning 73%
2. Work & travel 4%
3. Higher education 3%
4. Internships 2.5%
5. Volunteer 0.5%
Other 17%

How do agencies recruit students?
How do agencies find new business partners?
1. Word-of-mouth 42%
2. Mail shots 19%
2. Wesite 19%
4. E/ online marketing 6%
4. Advertising in press 6%
6. Seminars to students%
7. Advertising on tv/radio 2%
Other 1%
1. Internet 51%
2. Fairs & expos 24%
3. Workshops 15%
4. LTM/ETM 1.5%
5. Other press 1.5
Other 7%

Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
Acpet 43%
English Australia 57%

Languages Canada 14%

Souffle 43%
FLE.fr 43%
L'Office 0%
Unosel 0%

MEI 29%

Asils 14%
Italian in Italy 14%

Feltom 57%

New Zealand
English NZ 43%

Aeple 0%

South Africa
Eltasa 0%
English SA 29%

Fedele 43%

English UK 71%
British Council 86%

Accet 57%
CEA 14%

Eaquals 57%
Ialc 43%
Quality English 43%
Tandem 43%

Market growth
The mood among agents taking part in this year’s Agency Survey on Switzerland was varied. Just one agent reported that business had increased in the last 12 months, while two said that business had slumped by as much as 15 per cent. Meanwhile, two reported that bookings had stayed the same as in previous years and two declined to comment. Consequently, average percentage growth dipped to minus five per cent, a far cry from the 5.2 per cent growth recorded in the last survey on Switzerland in 2006 (see LTM, June 2006, pages 14-15). Average length of stay dropped from 6.9 weeks to just three weeks in 2008 and one agent noted that this could well be a growing trend, where students opt for shorter, more intensive language courses.

Language and destination trends
Although English remains the most popular language to learn (66 per cent compared with 69 per cent in 2005), other European languages like Spanish and German are becoming increasingly popular. Spanish was requested by 11 per cent of all agency clientele in 2008, compared with eight per cent previously, while German demand jumped from four per cent to nine per cent. These trends were also noted in an annual survey conducted by Salta – the Swiss Association of Language Travel Agents. Their findings concluded that Spanish has superceded French to become the second most requested language. Other languages that made the shortlist in this month’s survey included Russian (0.5 per cent), Japanese (0.5 per cent) and Chinese (0.5 per cent). The UK has replaced Australia (down seven percentage points to 22 per cent) to become the most popular study destination for Swiss students. Thirty-two per cent of the student market opted to journey to the UK in 2008 compared with just 10 per cent in 2005. Malta and the USA also increased their market share with a 10 per cent and 6.5 per cent respective share of the market, however, Canada, rated the second most popular study destination in 2005, dropped out of the running entirely.

Student and course trends
Work remains a big motivator for Swiss students with over half of all agency clientele saying they were learning a language for future (50 per cent) or current (12 per cent) work purposes, while 18 per cent said that it formed part of their academic study at home; a slight decrease on the 22 per cent recorded previously. With this in mind, it is perhaps unsurprising that the number of students opting to take an academic-focused course slowed (down from 14 per cent to six per cent). Meanwhile, intensive programmes – comprising of over 25 hours of language tuition per week – accounted for the mainstay of the market with a 39 per cent share.

Agency business
Unlike in other markets, mailshots proved lucrative with 19 per cent of all student bookings stemming from this source. However, word-of-mouth referrals continue to deliver a mammoth 42 per cent of clients, while the Internet proved another productive way in which to gain business, also accounting for 19 per cent of enrolments.

Looking ahead
Several agencies reported that until the global economy improved, Swiss students would opt for shorter courses to minimise costs.

Economic overview

• Switzerland’s economy slipped into a recession in the fourth quarter of 2008 as global financial crisis took its toll on the country’s exports and businesses. The GDP rate fell 0.3 per cent in the final three months of 2008.

• The unemployment rate stood at 3.1 per cent in February, compared with 2.5 per cent a year earlier.

• The Swiss franc saw its biggest ever one-day drop against the euro in March after the Swiss National Bank (SNB) sold francs as part of a drive to help the economy, which also included an interest rate cut and planned bond buying. The SNB’s intervention pushed both the euro and dollar to their highest levels against the franc this year.

Sources: Reuters, XE.com and RTT News

Swiss agents named a range of language programmes they work with, including, in Australia: Sea English Academy, Maroochydore, QLD. In Ecuador; Estudio Internacional Sampere, Cuenca. In Germany: GLS Sprachenzentrum, Berlin. In Mexico: Solexico Language and Cultural Center, Playa del Carmen. In New Zealand: Seafield School of English, Christchurch. In Spain: Estudio Sampere, Madrid. In the USA: Converse International School of Languages, San Diego, CA. In the UK: Olivet English Language School, Brighton; Regent, various. Worldwide: EC, various, Kaplan Aspect, various.

Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in this survey: Lingua Service, Surprise Reisen AG, Summercamps.ch/Feriencamps.ch, ASL – Agenzia per Soggiorni Linguistici, STA Travel, Australia Europe Connection, Globo Study Sprachreisen.

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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
Global Immersions
NYC Language
Sara's New York
      Homestay LLC  

Feltom Malta  
English UK  
Perth Education
Quality English  

Alphe Conferences
LTM Star Awards

Cambridge Esol

Hub and Spoke
      Connections Limited
Internet Advantage
In Touch  

Malta Tourism

Ecela -
      Latin Immersion  

Ability Education  
Language Studies
      (Canada, France,
      Germany, New
      Zealand, Paris, UK,
Pacific Gateway
Perth Education
University of New
      South Wales,
      Institute of
University of
University of
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      University College  

It´s Cool Idiomas &
      Cursos no Exterior  

Global Village  
      (Australia, Canada,

Mandarin House  

Bell International  
      (Malta, UK)
English Language
      Centre Brighton &
English Studio  
English UK  
Kaplan Aspect  
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta,
      New Zealand, South
      Africa, UK, USA)
LAL Language and
      (Canada, Cyprus,
      Ireland, England,
      South Africa, Spain,
      Switzerland, USA)
Malvern House
      College London  
Prime Education  
St Giles Colleges  
      (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group  
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy,New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
Twin Group  
      (Ireland, UK)
University of Essex -
Wimbledon School
      of English  

SILC - Séjours

BWS Germanlingua  
Carl Duisberg
      Medien GmbH  
      (England, Germany)
ECS & Euro-
International House
      Berlin - Prolog  

Alpha College of

      International House

Kai Japanese
      Language School  
      Language School  

      Language School  
EC English
      Language Centre  
      (England, Malta,
      South Africa, USA)
Feltom Malta  

Colegio Maravillas
inlingua Barcelona
International House -
      Dept de Espanol  
International House
      San Sebastian -
International House
      Sevilla - CLIC  
Malaca Instituto -
      Club Hispanico SL  
Malaga Si  
Tandem Escuela
      Internacional Madrid

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

ELS Language
Global Immersions
NYC Language
Sara's New York
      Homestay LLC  
University of
      California San
Zoni Language
      (Canada, USA)