October 2009 issue

Agency News
Agency Survey
Market Report
Special Report
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Thailand powers up

Reported to have survived the worst of its economic crisis, Thailand’s outgoing student market looks set to prosper. No longer hindered by an unstable currency, agents report that the next 12 months look promising. Meanwhile, New Zealand is becoming an increasingly attractive study destination for Thai students.

Key points
• The total number of students placed by 11 of the 15 agencies in our survey was 1,199

• Individual agencies placed between 10 and 250 students on courses per year

• Average business growth was 8.3 per cent in the last 12 months

• The average length of stay for Thai students was 13 weeks

• Overall, 63 per cent of Thai students stayed with host families when studying overseas

• Higher education is still a significant sector, accounting for 33 per cent of overall agency business

In the last 12 months, agencies worked with an average of 21 different providers

Top destinations Most popular courses
1. Australia 41%
2. UK 22%
3. New Zealand 18%
4. USA 11%
5. Canada 2.5%
6. Singapore 2.5%
7. China 1%
8. India 0.5%
9. Japan 0.5%
Other 1%
1. Intensive 30%
2. General 25%
3. Language and work experience 12.5%
4. Academic/exam prep. 9%
5. Summer vacation 9%
6. Foundation 5.5%
7. Business 3%
7. Junior 3%
other 3%

Reasons for language travel Average percentage agency business
1. Studies overseas 60%
2. Future work 29%
3. Current work 5%
4. Pleasure 2%
4. Studies at home 2%
Other 2%
1. Language progr. 41%
2. Higher education 33%
3. Work & travel 16%
4. Internships 5%
4. Other 5%
Other 5%

How do agencies recruit students?
How do agencies find new business partners?
1. Word-of-mouth 46%
2. Website 31%
3. E/online 7%
4. Advertising in press 4%
5. Seminars to students 3%
5. Mail shots 2%
6. Advertising on tv/radio 1%
Other 6%
1. Internet 34%
2. LTM/ETM 22%
3. Workshops 20%
4. Fairs & expos 13%
5. Other press 7%
Other 4%

Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
Acpet 33%
English Australia 67%

Languages Canada 47%

Souffle 13%
FLE.fr 0%
L'Office 0%
Unosel 0%

MEI 13%

Asils 0%
Italian in Italy 0%

Feltom 13%

New Zealand
English NZ 60%

Aeple 0%

South Africa
EduSa 0%
English SA 7%

Fedele 7%

ABLS 13%
English UK 67%
British Council 80%

Accet 27%
CEA 13%

Eaquals 0%
Ialc 13%
Quality English 40%
Tandem 0%

Market growth
Despite negative business growth in 2008 (of -1 per cent), 2009 has shaped up to be a productive year for Thailand’s education agencies. Of the 15 agencies that took part in this year’s survey, seven posted a positive business growth of between five and 79 per cent, while four reported that business had remained consistent. Meanwhile, three agents noted that business had declined by between 20 and 50 per cent, but most were certain that business would improve next year. One agent reflected that students were beginning to trust local agencies more while another predicted 2010’s figures would increase by 10 per cent. Average business growth was therefore a healthy 8.3 per cent, much better then last year’s results (see LTM, December 2008, pages 18-19).

Language and destination trends
Australia increased its lead over other English speaking destinations, to take 41 per cent of the vote. Up 8.5 percentage points since last year, it is by far the most popular destination for overseas education among Thai students. The UK is nipping at Australia’s heels, with a 22 per cent share of the market, but it is New Zealand that is really growing in terms of popularity. Chosen by just three per cent of agency clientele in our previous survey, it was requested by 18 per cent of Thai agency clients this year. However, it should be noted that two of the agencies profiled send students exclusively to either Australia or New Zealand. Meanwhile, owing to its close proximity to Thailand, Singapore, is becoming an attractive alternative for English language learners. Chosen by 2.5 per cent of students, it ties with Canada for fifth place in terms of popularity. Chinese was the second most requested language after English last year, chosen by a massive 18 per cent of Thai students. However, it lost a great deal of market share this year (down 17 percentage points to just one per cent), but this could be attributed to the absence of an agency that specifically dealt with the Chinese language market. The second-most requested language this year was Japanese, chosen by two per cent of clients.

Student and course trends
Academic goals were a key motivator for Thai students. Sixty per cent of them were considered to be learning a language for further studies overseas, compared with 17.5 per cent previously. However, programmes that consist of both a language and work experience component have also increased in popularity, up from two per cent to 12.5 per cent this year, suggesting perhaps that students are looking to either support themselves financially or to enhance their future career prospects. Meanwhile, intensive programmes (30 per cent) edged a little ahead of general language courses (25 per cent) to be the most popular course choice.

Agency business
Higher education programmes form a significant part of business, but this sector only accounted for 33 per cent of bookings in 2009, down from 41.5 per cent previously. Work and travel (consisting of both paid and unpaid placements) was the third most lucrative sector, accounting for 16 per cent of all bookings and a 10 per cent increase on last year’s findings. When looking for new business partners to work with, 34 per cent agreed that the Internet was a primary outlet.

Economic overview

• Economists predicted that Thailand’s economy would shrink by 4.4 per cent in 2009 – the first time the economy had contracted in ten years. Growth is hoped to resume in 2010, with real GDP expanding by 1.1 per cent.

• In March this year, merchandise export revenue fell by an estimated 23.1 per cent year-on-year to US$11.6 billion. As a result, export revenue for the first quarter of 2009 came to US$33.8 billion, a year-on-year decline of 20.6 per cent.

• Manufacturing production also fell by 19.8 per cent year-on-year in February this year. Electronic products were particularly affected with production contracting by 23.3 per cent year-on-year.

Source: The Economist

Thai agents named a range of language programmes they work with, including, in Australia: ACE, various; Cambridge International College, Sydney, NSW; English Language Company, Sydney, NSW; Griffith University, Nathan, QLD; Hales Institute, Melbourne, VIC; HHH International, Brisbane, QLD; Holmes Institute, Melbourne, VIC; Langports English Language College, Brisbane, QLD; La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC; Le Cordon Bleu, various; Milner International College of English, Perth, WA; North Sydney English College, Sydney, NSW; Queensland International Business Academy, Coolangatta, QLD; Tintern Schools, Ringwood East, VIC; Wesley College, Melbourne, VIC. In Canada: Eurocentres Vancouver & Toronto. In New Zealand: AIS St Helens, Auckland; Christchurch College of English, Christchurch; Edenz Colleges, Auckland; Languages International, various; Marlborough Boys College, Blenheim; Seafield School of English, Christchurch; Unique New Zealand, Auckland. In Singapore: Dimensions Education Group, Singapore. In the USA: English Language Centre, various; FLS International, Pasadena, CA. In the UK: Eden House College, London; King Street College, London; London School of Commerce, London; Malvern House, London; Millfield School, Somerset; Regency College, Brighton. Worldwide: Kaplan Aspect; Geos; LSI; ELS.

Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in this survey: Centory Co. Ltd; STA Travel Co. Ltd, Enriched Education & Training Co. Ltd; Plus Education by Arthur Plus Co. Ltd; NZ Study; Brothers Educational Advisory Co., Ltd; Asian Institute of Business and Communications (AIBC); Insight Education Consulting Co. Ltd; im Education; AU Study; At Home Study Travel; Selt Education Link; Thai Study Abroad; Intra Mekong Co., Ltd; I4Group.

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.





Britannia Student
Generator Hostels  
Hostel World  
NYC Language
Smart City Hostels  
YMCA of Greater
      New York  

English Australia  
Geos North America
IALC International  
International House
      World Organisation
MEI Ireland  
Perth Education
Quality English  

Alphe Conferences  
British Boarding
      Schools Workshops
IALC International  
IEFT- International
      Education Fairs of


LTM Digital

Malta Tourism
Perth Education

Twin Group 
      (Ireland, England,

English Australia  
Perth Education

Bow Valley College
Geos North America

Bell International  
      (Malta, UK)
British Boarding
      Schools Workshops
English in UK North
IALC International  
International House
      World Organisation  
INTO University
Kaplan Aspect  
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta, New
      Zealand, South
      Africa, UK, USA)
Princes College
      School of English  
Quality English  
St Giles Colleges  
      (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group 
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
Queen Ethelburga's
The English School
      (Northumbria) Ltd.  
Twin Group  
      (Ireland, England,
University of the
      Arts London -
      Language Centre  
University of Essex -

IH Nice  
Universite de
      Paris Sorbonne  
SILC - Séjours
      (England, France,

International House
      Berlin - Prolog  

Alpha College of
MEI Ireland  
Swan Training

Kai Japanese
      Language School  

      Language School  
EC English
      Language Centre 
      (England, Malta,
     South Africa, USA)
Malta Tourism

Derzhavin Institute

EAC Language
      Centres and Activity
      (England, Ireland,
      Scotland, Wales)
Escuela de Espanol
      la Brisa S.L.  
Malaga Si  

EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Costa Rica,
      Ecuador, France,
      Germany, Italy,
      Malta, New Zealand,
      Singapore, South
      Africa, Spain, USA)

IEFT- International
      Education Fairs
      of Turkey  

Califorinia State
Colorado School
      of English  
ELS Language
Geos North
Inlingua Language
NYC Language
University of
Zoni Language

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