Contents - October 2003

Special Report
Tried and tested
As the language travel market has matured, the pressure on quality associations and, in some cases, governments, to keep up and improve school quality standards has increased. Language schools themselves and their respective quality associations/representative bodies realise that a reputation for quality can mean quantity, in terms of increased bookings from consumers keen to spend their money wisely. Gillian Evans reports on the latest trends in the accreditation sector.

Working together
Ensuring good business relations between agencies and schools is one of the most important factors in running a business smoothly in the language travel industry, but there are often problems that crop up, even in established agencies and schools. Amy Baker talks to both parties about the typical problems that can occur and asks agencies and schools for their opinions on the best way to avoid and manage professional misunderstandings and confusion.

City Focus
New York
One of the must-visit cities on the USA
's east coast, New York is a fast-paced cosmopolitan city that seems familiar to many visitors because of its association with films and the entertainment industry. There are many good language schools in the city, according to agents, and students who choose to study there can spend weeks discovering new facets of the city. Local New Yorkers may take some time to get to know, the city is tolerant of foreigners.


Keeping the faith
There are many challenges that face those who work in the international study abroad industry today. Security issues remain at the forefront of immigration departments' policies, as countries around the world amend their visa requirements to ensure only genuine visitors enter their country. This is making it more and more difficult for students from some countries to gain entry to study as well as those intending to settle in foreign coutnries as permanent residents.

In New Zealand, there are new rules concerning skilled migrants applying for residence, while in the UK and USA, enhanced security measures are being introduced, which are said to strengthen the integrity of the visa system. The new measures in the UK will, according to the Home Office, help genuine long-term visitors to be recognised as such, but there is no doubt that a tightening up of visa regulations will affect the ease of entry for international students.

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that students and agents favour those countries for which visa entry is relatively straightforward. Malta's language travel industry, for example, is benefiting from its reputation for ease of entry for English language students. 

The reception that a student or agent receives at a foreign embassy or consulate can also colour their view about that country, and the help offered or obstacles created when applying for a student visa can be indicative, for agents, of their working relationship with that country as a study destination. As one agent testifies in this month's Industry issues section, their experience with a local embassy does not encourage them to send many clients to that country.

At the core of language and education travel lies the basic tenet of breaking down borders and enhancing international understanding. Although all in the industry acknowledge that national security is of paramount concern, many immigration policies today can seem to go against the basic principles of our industry. It is up to agents and schools to work together to break down these barriers, and a good working relationship between the two parties can only help students to realise their study objectives.

Despite all the challenges that exist to hinder international exchange, there are also many initiatives within the industry that foster good communications among all players. Quality English, for example, is a new group of independent quality English language schools in the UK, which primarily formed for marketing reasons, but it also aims to send out a message of collaborative goodwill to agencies. Another new business venture aiming to put industry players in touch with each other is Qisan, a network of international agents and schools.

There are also many established associations of language schools that promote their values of good practice, goodwill and cooperation to students and agents around the world, and many of these associations continually take steps to improve the quality of the programmes at member schools.

With so many initiatives in place internationally to assert the integrity of language travel, it is a shame if the biggest hurdles to students remain immigration legislation, and, in some cases, the attitude of visa officers in embassies and consulates worldwide.

There are many challenges that face those who work in the international study abroad industry today. Security issues remain at the forefront of immigration departments' policies, as countries around the world amend their visa requirements to ensure only genuine visitors enter their country.

ETA bomb hits Sampere school
Visa changes planned in the UK and USA
New UK quality group launches
OISE Group buys
Pilgrims in the UK
Free money for students in Australia
Immigration rule change in New Zealand

Travel News
WTO hopeful about tourism future
New compensation rules for Europe
Commission rates drop further in UK

Agency News
LAL is looking
to enlarge
New association on the cards for South East Asia
Brazilian agency looking for partners

Agency Survey
's strength
The Russian language travel industry is largely dependent on school-age children, making it a very seasonal market.

Germany feedback
More Asian students are taking German language courses and agent usage is up, according to the results of this year
's Germany Feedback survey.

Market Report
Malta doing well
Malta has aimed to position itself in the last few years as a business English provider, as well as an ideal destination for the junior vacation learner. The efforts of schools are paying off, as student numbers continue to increase and schools report interest for specialist English language courses. While many other English language teaching destinations are seeing a slowdown in student numbers, Malta
's student mix is also increasing, says Bethan Norris.

Course Guide
Business in Malta
Malta is a popular destination for students wanting an activity-based holiday combined with language learning in the Mediterranean sunshine, but more and more language schools in the country are developing their student base and offering business courses to clients.


A popular holiday destination for tourists from Europe and further afield, one of Austria
's most popular attractions is the Alps, a mountain range that covers much of Switzerland, Liechtenstein and southern Austria.

Status: Italy 2002
The Status survey is a venture by Language Travel Magazine, in collaboration with the Association of Language Travel Organisations (Alto), which gathers specific market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world.