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Contents - November 2005


Special Report
Team building
Recent years have seen the birth of brand new educator associations, while some of the more established groups have merged to form a united voice for the industry. Quality standards, government lobbying and agent-focused promotions are areas in which many associations have been concentrating their efforts.
Gillian Evans takes a look at the latest association developments.


Direction
Marketing to agents
How do schools attempt to entice an agent's business and what do agents expect from an institution in order to ensure a strong business relationship? Jane Vernon Smith talks to agents and educators about marketing and the perfect partnership.



Destination
A taste of the USA
The northeast states of the USA offer up a mosaic of different experiences, from well known urban epicentres to open swathes of wilderness. Gillian Evans explores the area's of learning and recreational opportunities.



Opinion

Twice as nice
Many people who work in the language travel industry have been in it for years. Someone said to me at a workshop in August, "people never leave the industry, or if they do, they always come back". While not universally true, it certainly seems to be the case that many of us stick around for quite some time and hold a special affinity for an industry that deals in international exchange and experience.

One reason for this is of course that many companies are owner-operated schools or agencies, founded by people who themselves have had the exciting and sometimes excruciating experience of learning a language and living in another country. Another reason is that we all enjoy working in a wider global community and meeting our contemporaries from other cultures and countries who are equally passionate about what they do. For this reason, workshops provide a great business and social forum, and this year';s Alphe UK workshop and the English UK event in Brighton were no exception (page 10).

One industry name back in international education, and back at workshops, is Kevin McNeany, who returns as co-owner of the Manchester Academy of English in the UK, having previously sold his ILA school chain to Aspect five years ago (page 7).

The importance of face-to-face meetings and personal connection is the same in any industry, but so much of the business done in the international education sector involves close liaison between partners who respect and trust each other, and our industry is different from others in this regard. When agencies explain how marketing tactics might influence them, they readily admit that as well as a quality product, good service and tempting commission structures, likeable school staff can be the decisive factor (pages 22-23).

For agencies, having friendly and personable staff is just as important given that they work in a client-facing environment. One agent in Kazakhstan underlines that when it comes to recruiting agency staff, they need someone who is understanding and discreet, not someone who is simply efficient in processing bookings. Another agent in Russia relates that it took them months to find the right person for a vacant position (page 11).

It is heartening to imagine, therefore, that everyone working in the industry has been hand-picked on the basis of their experience or niceness. I look forward to meeting many more such nice people at future workshops.


Opinion
Twice as nice

News
European norm is ratified
Industry old-hands buy UK school
Visa regime tightened in UK, NZ
New schools in South Africa
USA working to woo Chinese
Toefl wants access into Australia
Netherlands attracts more students

Travel News
Airline blacklist for EU
Singapore and Indonesia agree aviation deal
Airlines count cost of high oil prices

Agency News
UK workshop season busy
EEC in Sweden closes
Australia's e-visa reaches Indonesia

Agency Survey
Spain's step up
A healthy economy combined with increased marketing efforts by agents created a positive business environment in 2004, according to the Spanish agents who took part in this year's Agency Survey on Spain.

Feedback
Ireland
A less varied nationality mix in the classrooms did not dampen students' enthusiasm for Ireland as a destination for language learning this year. A rise in the average cost of a language course, however, may account for the loss of student numbers from some markets.

Course Guide
Summer vacation courses in Spain

Spotlight
English and sports in the UK
By teaming language tuition with sports activites and training, students get to have two types of holiday in one and can more completely get to grips with their new language. We profile a range of such courses on offer in the UK.

Regional Focus
South Australia
South Australia is a less well known study destination when compared with some other Australian states, yet it offers a diverse range of educational, social and recreational opportunities, as Bethan Norris discovers.

Status
Italy 2004
The Status survey is a venture by Language Travel Magazine, which gathers specific market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world. For the first time, it is possible to compare world market statistics.