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Contents - November 2002


Special Report
Unified approach
Agency associations often represent the official platform for opinion in their countries, building prestige for their members as a result. Other useful benefits that associations provide include quality assurance for the public, generic marketing and cross-industry discussion with other associations. This is achieved via Felca, an international body that seeks to unite associations from around the world, for global benefit. Gillian Evans reports.


Direction
Supporting agents

Agencies in many countries have been receiving valuable help in recent years in the form of information and training dispensed by national organisations and associations keen to promote study opportunities in their country. Gillian Evans looks at how government- supported associations and local agents can combine their strengths and work towards the common goal of increasing language and education travel bookings.



City Focus
Curious Cambridge

Cambridge is a popular study destination for students wanting to study in the UK and many are attracted by the city's close association with its world-famous university. Visiting the many college buildings and their surrounding grounds is a popular pas-time for visitors, as is punting on the River Cam which provides a different view of this historic city. Bethan Norris looks at what Cambridge has to offer the language traveller.



Opinion

With more reminders in this issue that the industry is not in a buoyant state, the importance of concerted promotional efforts and working together is brought home once again.

In Canada, many education institutions are downbeat about their outlook for their year-end 2002 figures, pointing to declining interest in overseas travel to North America and the economic problems in South America as factors contributing to a slowdown in student numbers (page 19).

As student bookings decline, competition for every booking automatically intensifies, not just nationally but internationally too. This is why so many countries are keen for their government to help promote an export promotion strategy that can help win bookings. In Canada, schools report that the government is only just beginning to recognise the industry, and there are dire visa problems that continue to hinder growth of the Chinese market.

In Australia, education associations in the country such as Acpet and English Australia have been working closely with the government to make their student visa legislation more workable and more suited to building the international education market (page 4). Such efforts can give countries a distinct advantage in the global marketplace, as visa issues are crucial to boosting student numbers from any market.

Most of the main English-teaching countries, as well as France and Germany, also benefit from government-backed agencies that provide some kind of generic international promotion for their education export market. Some of these agencies provide services to agents as part of their promotional strategies (page 17).

On top of favourable visa regulation, the efforts of these organisations to promote a brand image for their country as a study destination can greatly help to attract student bookings. The MyNZEd website and brand image developed by Education New Zealand and the country's International Education Marketing Board is a good example of a successful international image.

In the same way, if agents form an association to present a unified front to the public regarding their operations and quality goals, it can significantly raise their standing in the domestic marketplace. Agency associations around the world report that by representing a range of quality agencies in their country, they achieve an enhanced profile for all members and can become the recognised industry voice in the national media (pages 22-26). When a student is choosing their language learning pathway, agency credentials such as membership of an association can certainly help win their business.

There are other advantages too, such as the possibility to access international dialogue and exchange via the global federation of agency associations, Felca. Since its AGM in August, Felca has welcomed even more agency associations into the federation, truly representing industry voices from around the world (page 8).

Interntional cooperation is useful for collaborating with governments and school associations, protecting agency interests and establishing standards globally. At the same time, agencies also need to remember the importance of individual efforts to keep ahead of student demand. Trailblazing on an individual and international level guarantees maximum potential for success. Our Agent Questionnaire candidate underlines the need for creativity in each business when she reports, "We could sense that [our clients] wanted more than language courses" (page 8).



Opinion
With more reminders in this issue that the industry is not in a buoyant state, the importance of concerted promotional efforts and working together is brought home once again.

News
UK workshops draw in crowds
Revised visa rules for Australia
Youth hostel association works with UK school
Fiyto welcomes
new sub-group
New scholarship scheme for Europe

Travel News
Crisis in the US air industry
European and Asian airlines lead recovery
New airline for Ecuador

Agency News
Felca welcomes new members
BC riles agent in Morocco
ETA in Spain has little impact on market

Agency Survey
Korea's momentum
With Korea's economy performing well and the growing interest in language travel, Korean agents are confident that their market will continue to grow


Feedback
Germany Feedback
The number of Asian students studying in Germany increased this year, according to our Feedback survey, and a larger majority of students were learning German to prepare for further academic study in the country. Satisfaction rates overall were good, but social provision was not rated highly at all schools. .

Market Report
Canada holds on
Many education providers in Canada are facing a challenge to maintain student enrolment levels in a difficult operating environment. Amy Baker reports.

Course Guide
Spanish in Latin America

Students wanting to study Spanish in Latin America have a wide variety of countries and schools to choose from. The institutions in this Course Guide represent a range of teaching facilities and locations, each of which offers a rewarding experience for language students.

Q&A
English Australia

Sue Blundell, Executive Director of English Australia (EA), answers our questions about the association's efforts to work with the government to influence student visa legislation and tells us about EA's plans to increase its members' profile in the future.

Status
Status: global comparison 2
In our global comparison articles, we provide a breakdown of results from our Status surveys over the past year. In this first article, we look at nationality breakdown for international students across the major language teaching markets in the world.