Brazilian economy affects agency market

22 October, 2015

The weak Brazilian real and economic problems in the country have heavily impacted on agency business, with 90 per cent of agents in a recent survey citing this as the most influential factor in decreasing student numbers.

Agent and educator meetings at the Alphe Brazil workshop in March this year

The BMI Brazilian Agent's Survey, conducted by agent and student fair company BMI, was completed by 71 agents across the country this summer, and showed that 61 per cent expected sales to decrease in 2015, compared with the previous year.

English and Spanish language programmes continue to dominate the agency sector, but the survey found that 17 per cent of respondents said French was increasing, followed by German and Italian (both 15 per cent) and Japanese (10 per cent).

In terms of destinations, 17 per cent of responding agents said that demand for Argentina and Malta had increased in the last year, followed by South Africa (15 per cent) and New Zealand (14 per cent).

Other areas of growing interest cited by agents in the survey included: voluntary work programmes in Asia and Africa; language courses in exotic locations; courses in India and China; and summer family programmes.

The results of the survey echo many of the findings of StudyTravel Magazine's most recent survey of Brazilian agents. Conducted before the major declines in the Brazilian real, the survey also found that French, Spanish, German and Italian were slightly eroding the market share of English in agency business.

BMI also released the visitor statistics from its September 2015 Salao do Estudante fairs across Brazil, where the more than 33,000 visitors were required to provide information on their intended courses and study destinations, with multiple answers permitted.

English was the most common language of interest on 59 per cent, followed by Spanish (25 per cent) and French (22 per cent).

The North American countries of the USA and Canada were the most commonly cited intended destinations on 32 and 30 per cent respectively, with the UK (28 per cent) and Australia (27 per cent) also prominent.

Forty-four per cent of fair attendees selected language courses as a course of interest at the fair, while 25 per cent indicated undergraduate programmes overseas and 24 per cent expressed an interest in extension/certificate offerings.

As recently reported in ST Magazine's news, the Brazilian agency sector has identified opportunities for increasing full-fee higher education programmes overseas, following the suspension of Brazil's Science Without Borders scholarship scheme.

Matthew Knott
News Editor


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