Is it just me, or do things seem to be looking up for many operators in the industry? There seems to be lots of positive news in our magazine this month, such as the news that low-cost flights to Malta are on the agenda (page 8); that the outbound market in Brazil is faring well (pages 16-17); Maltese operators are reporting good gains on last year (page 25); and Argentina is taking off as a serious Spanish language teaching destination (page 49). Canadian flying schools are reporting rises in international intake (page 78) and to top it all off, there is now a new industry awards event organised by LTM (pages 28-37).
Our LTM Star Awards reflect commitment to excellence in the industry and innovation on an individual company basis. A way of measuring success and good performance on a national level could be achieved, I would argue, by assessing how closely the national school associations in any country work with the government to enhance the operating environment and harness political and financial support.
This is something we are seeing happen more and more as the global industry matures, language school associations become bolder in outlook and have greater ambitions. Amongst other achievements, Maltese school association Feltom successfully lobbied for a new special visa class for international students and Australian associations are in close dialogue with their government about amending visa rules (pages 40-44). In Australia and New Zealand, government delegates made presentations at recent industry events (pages 6-7).
To have government focusing on the education export industry is an achievement in itself, as is now happening in Argentina (page 49), but to get agreement on operational rules for the sector is a further milestone that many associations feel they have not achieved as yet. In the meantime, they continue to make their voices heard.
As industries mature, takeovers and acquisitions are also inevitable and there has been a season of takeovers, including the latest OISE purchase in Canada (page 6). This means fewer owners with greater market share; inevitable in a maturing industry. The latest takeovers have happened in countries where the first wave of entrepreneurs are retiring, but new opportunities exist in all fields for innovative operators, as new specialisms, such as work&travel, take off. From February, we publish a new magazine section, Work Wise, bi-monthly to provide regular updates on this emerging market sector.