|With accelerating economic growth, Thai study abroad advisors find themselves in an enviable position. Business expanded in the last 12 months and continued growth has been forecast.
|• The total number of students placed by the nine advisories in our survey was 1,903
• Individual advisories placed between five and 1,100 students on courses per year
• Average business growth was 18 per cent in the last 12 months
• The average length of stay for Thai students was 17 weeks
• Overall, 59 per cent of Thai students stayed in host family accommodation when studying overseas
• An average of 46 per cent of advisory clients were learning a language for further studies overseas
• Intensive language programmes remain the most popular type of course for Thai students
||Most popular courses
|1. USA 26%
2. Australia 24%
3. New Zealand 23%
4. UK 21%
5. Canada 3%
6. Singapore 2%
7. Malaysia 0.3%
8. Japan 0.2%
||1. Intensive 34%
2. General 25%
3. Academic/exam prep 11%
4. University foundation 10%
5. Summer 7%
6. Business 4%
6. Junior 4%
6. Lang. & work experience 4%
|Reasons for study travel
||Average percentage agency business
|1. Studies overseas 46%
2. Future work 22%
3. Pleasure 21%
4. Current work 7%
5. Studies at home 4%
||1. Language programmes 55%
2. Higher education 23%
3. High school 12%
4. Work & travel 6%
5. Internships 3%
|How do advisors recruit students?
||How do advisors find new business partners?
|1. Word-of-mouth 43%
2. Website 27%
3. Seminars to students 11%
4. E/Online marketing 10%
5. Mail shots 3%
5. Advertising in press 3%
||1. Internet 42%
1. STM 14%
3. Other press 13%
4. Advisor workshops 11%
5. Language fairs & student expos 9%
|Percentage of advisors who recognised each of the following organisations
English Australia 71%
Languages Canada 43%
Groupement FLE 0%
Italian in Italy 14%
English NZ 71%
English UK 100%
British Council 86%
Quality English 28.5%
Despite the country only just emerging from recession, Thai study abroad advisors were pleased to report positive business growth in the outgoing student market for a third successive year. Growth rates varied from between 10 and 28 per cent, with one advisor posting a 100 per cent increase in business. If we exclude the latter result from the poll, average business growth was 18 per cent, down seven percentage points on last year (see LTM, October 2010, page 26). It should be noted that three advisors did not report whether or not there had been a business increase or decrease.
Language and destination trends
It was an even playing field in the destination stakes this year. In the last 12 months, Thai advisors sent 26 per cent of their clientele to the USA (down five percentage points on previous results), 24 per cent to Australia (down 12 percentage points), 21 per cent to the UK (up 7.5 percentage points) and 23 per cent to New Zealand (up one percentage point). However, it is worth noting that one advisor sent students exclusively to this destination and if omitted from the poll New Zealand’s share drops to six per cent. Singapore (two per cent), meanwhile, is proving a viable alternative for Thai students.
Student and course trends
Thai students have consistently shown a preference for concentrated study and this year was no exception with 34 per cent of advisor clientele requesting an intensive language programme, compared with 36 per cent previously. General language programmes were the second most popular course choice, down six percentage points to 25 per cent, followed by academic or exam preparation programmes (11 per cent) and university foundation courses (10 per cent). This trend for academic preparation courses is in keeping with our findings as to the reasons Thai students gave for studying abroad. The largest group (46 per cent) intended to continue their studies overseas. A further 22 per cent were studying overseas for future work purposes.
Although language learning forms a significant part of advisor business in Thailand (55 per cent compared with 74.5 per cent previously), other areas do appear to be opening up most notably the university (23 per cent) and secondary or high school sectors (12 per cent). Thai advisors reported that they were most likely to attract new clientele via word-of-mouth recommendations this year (43 per cent, up from 35 per cent previously), however enquiries received via the Internet were just as fruitful (27 per cent). On average, Thai advisors said that they typically represented 33 school partners in five different countries.
The outgoing student market in Thailand is small yet well-formed and Thai advisors forecast some good growth figures over the next 12 months. One advisor predicted a growth in the number of requests for Masters degree programmes in the UK and Australia, while another sees potential in recruiting students straight out of high school or university in Thailand.
• Thailand’s new Prime Minister was elected in July and has pledged to significantly raise the minimum wage by 40 per cent to 300 baht and to 1,000 baht by 2020.
• Thailand’s GDP advanced three per cent in the last quarter from a year earlier, compared with 3.8 per cent in the previous period.
• The central bank has forecast economic growth will return to a “normal trend” following a 7.8 per cent expansion in 2010, which was the strongest pace in 15 years. The monetary authority predicts inflation of 3.9 per cent in 2011.
Thai advisors named a range of programmes they work with, including, in Australia: Ability Education, Sydney, NSW; Holmes Institute, various; Impact English College, Melbourne, VIC; Kingsway Institute, Sydney, NSW; Langports English Language College, Brisbane & Gold Coast, QLD. In Malaysia: Help University College, Kuala Lumpur. In New Zealand: Academic Colleges Group, Auckland; Christchurch College of English, Christchurch; Edenz College, Auckland; Languages International, Auckland & Christchurch; Rangiora High School, North Canterbury. In Singapore: TMC Academy, Singapore. In Switzerland: Business & Hotel Management School, Luzern; Swiss College of Hospitality and Management, Lenk. In the UK: Excel English, London; International House London, London; Language Studies International, London; London Study Centre, London; Twin Group, London; University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth; University of Middlesex, London; Northumbria University, Newcastle; Birmingham City University, Birmingham; University of Sunderland, Sunderland. In the USA: ELS, various; FLS International, various; Zoni Language Centers, New York, NY. Worldwide: Kaplan International Colleges; ILSC.
Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in this survey: SJC Inter Studies, Gateway Inter Study, Country City Study Centre Co, Centory Co, Hands On, Intra Mekong Co, S&K International Education Co, NZ Study Thailand Co, The Dean Inter.