Back in the office after attending a double workshop in September this year, and one of the things that strikes me is how there are always schools present who are new to the concept of agent workshops. At StudyWorld, which was held in London this year, I talked to a representative of a language school in Italy who had never been to any workshops before and she told me how surprised and excited she was by experiencing such an event for the first time.
Similarly, at Hothouse Media’s own Alphe UK, Fiji was represented for the first time as a destination country by FreeBird Institute, who didn’t have a minute to spare throughout the two days. The enthusiasm and passion shown by such newcomers to the workshop circuit is inspiring and helps contribute to the feeling that the industry is continually growing and changing and has a lot more to offer students and those who work within it.
Our LTM Star Awards, held for the second time this year, aims to capture some of this passion and zeal in its recognition of good practice and professionalism. The event was certainly a highlight for many people within the industry and photos of the award winners can be found in our Direction feature this month (pages 24-30). One of the most exciting categories was the LTM Star Innovation award, which was voted for by agents. The fact that this award was won by a work experience programme confirms the popularity of this new direction in the industry.
The continuing evolution and current health of the English language travel industry can be seen in our Special Report, which compares the leading English language destinations. According to our calculations, the industry was worth an impressive US$8,974,161,379 in 2006 and this figure is likely to increase in the future as heads of many of the industry associations predict future growth in their markets (pages 34-38).
Canada is one country that has seen its fortunes revived in recent years, in both the language and mainstream education sectors. Troubles associated with Sars and 9/11 have been firmly put in the past as universities and language schools report impressive growth in enrolments (pages 43 and 67). Changes to work rights have also played a role in making the country an attractive destination for international students.
With such positive industry reports, it is to be hoped that more schools discover the business benefits associated with agent conferences!