Turkish students favoured UK in 2014

16 April, 2015

The UK was the dominant destination in Turkish agency business in 2014, according to the latest annual survey from national agency association UED, presented at the Alphe Istanbul conference last week.

UED revealed the latest findings of its member survey at Alphe Istanbul last week..

Delivered by UED President, Eren Göker, the report showed the UK accounted for 49 per cent of bookings in the language sector, compared with 23 per cent in 2013. The USA remained steady in second on 21 per cent and Canada increased to 10 per cent in third. There was declining market share for all of the non-English European destinations in 2014.

For 2014, questions about the summer school sector were divided into ‘under 18’ and ‘18 and above’ categories, but the UK’s dominance was even more pronounced within these: 70 per cent of the former, and 63 per cent share of the latter, compared with 34 per cent of overall summer business in 2013.

In StudyTravel Magazine’s latest analysis of the UK ELT market (see the May 2015 issue) Turkish students were one of the top 10 nationalities by student weeks in 2014, accounting for a 3.7 per cent share. Gokhan Islamoglu, Coordinator of UED, said the UK was a trusted and well-known brand in language education for Turkish parents, while most of the longer-haul destinations are regarded as too far away.

There was a slight shift towards longer stays for language students in 2014, when 12-to-24-week courses represented 30 per cent of bookings, compared with 22 per cent in the previous year.

The UK also significantly increased market share of higher education business from UED member agencies, rising from 20 per cent in 2013 to 48 per cent. The USA remained second on 23 per cent – up from 19 per cent share – and Canada was third on 13 per cent. Göker said that although many higher education students are attracted to Germany because of its virtually free tuition, they are not booking through agencies.

Overall, there was also a change in the typical student profile, with 44 per cent of clients in the 19-to-24 age group and 28 per cent in the ‘above 25’ category, compared with 33 per cent and 24 per cent respectively in 2013, while ‘business & career’ emerged as comfortably the most common reason for study abroad on 59 per cent, up from 27 per cent the previous year.

A new profile question for the 2014 survey showed that there was a high educational level for most clients: 32 per cent were current undergraduate students and 27 per cent were university graduates.

UED tracks visa acceptance rates of its students in the member survey, and the destinations that were below 90 per cent in 2013 (Australia, Canada, USA) all increased to above 90 per cent last year. A special STM investigation recently found that visa acceptance rates of UED clients heading to the UK are higher than the overall visa acceptance rate of Turkish students.

Word-of-mouth references continued to be the most important way of finding clients for UED member agencies in 2014, and increased from accounting for 31 per cent to 60 per cent of business, while the internet dropped from 29 per cent to 23 per cent. Although 76 per cent of members reported participating in a student recruitment fair in some capacity, there was a negative response to the impact of these – 24 per cent of attendees said fairs had ‘no effect’ and 44 per cent cited a ‘very weak’ return.

In a recent interview with StudyTravel Magazine, Göker said business was down by around eight per cent for UED members in 2014, due to currency fluctuations and political instability in the first quarter of the year.

The findings of the new UED survey echo many of the results of StudyTravel Magazine’s most recent survey of Turkish agencies.

UED also unveiled a new value-added service designed to help international education providers improve cooperation with UED member agencies. Part of its Institutional Membership proposal, Göker said the new UED member portal would also help schools forge new partnerships with agents in the country and create a platform for partner institutions to market their activity. The site will include information about the local market, feature relevant agency news and member presentations, and an events page. There are also advertising opportunities, confirmed Islamoglu. Interested schools should contact UED for more details.

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