Fuente: Study Travel. Aseproce focuses on quality, demand and competition in the Spanish market. 10:34 | 19 January 2017
The importance of quality in the industry, growth potential from changes in the Spanish market and lobbying to ensure a level playing field on VAT payments by agents were the themes of a presentation by Spanish agency association Aseproce last week.
“Quality makes a difference in the industry,” was a key message from Aseproce President, Oscar Porras, speaking at the StudyTravel Alphe Spain conference in Málaga.
“Schools should look for quality agents just as agents look for quality schools,” he said, urging educators to check the credentials of potential agent partners in the Spanish market.
Oscar said the association was fighting against unfair competition within the Spanish agency sector, as some companies are not paying VAT as registered travel agencies and undercutting prices on language courses.
“We must have the same prices for the same schools. Some agencies don’t pay VAT because they think they are a language school. We are fighting against these agencies,” he said. “We are reporting these agencies to the administration. This is working now; we have seen the first few results.”
Oscar said the objectives of Aseproce were to develop quality and professionalism within the industry, promote good practice and provide industry regulations. He said members benefitted from legal support, mediation, promotion and peer cooperation.
He explained the membership criteria of the association, including: two years’ industry trading; a genuine office; recommendation by two existing members; and proof of VAT payments.
Using data from StudyTravel Magazine’s agency surveys of Spanish agents, he highlighted that the UK and Ireland were the dominant destinations for the Spanish market, with a combined market share of around 72 per cent in the last survey. The 22 responding agencies in the April 2016 survey reported average business growth of 13 per cent.
Focusing on future business potential, he highlighted that a new compulsory second language speaking test will be introduced in the Spanish high school system in the next two years. “This is very good for Aseproce and the language school industry,” he commented. He added that Spanish universities are increasingly offering programmes in English, which was also pushing demand.
In terms of future trends, Oscar said he believed students would be looking for more intensive summer programmes, and he commented that Spanish students have better levels of English so have more confidence to do one-year academic programmes overseas.
Using data from StudyTravel Magazine’s annual agency survey on the secondary sector, he said that 56 per cent of Spanish students booking secondary programmes with the responding agencies chose one-year courses.
Because of the increased proficiency in English among Spanish students, there was also growing demand for the study of third languages, Oscar said.
Aseproce, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2017, has 48 member agencies and around 60 per cent market share of the Spanish outbound business, according to Oscar. The association will be unveiling a new partner scheme for language schools from February, he added
The StudyTravel Alphe Spain conference welcomed more than 400 delegates to the NH Hotel in Malaga for three days of business meetings and networking, including 181 agents and 158 educators.
Prior to the Aseproce presentation, the Deputy Mayor of Málaga, Julio Andrade, welcomed delegates. “Málaga is a good city to do business, and a good location for Alphe,” he said.
“Languages are very important to us, and we are promoting Málaga as a destination to learn Spanish,” he said. “16 million people came here last year, the city is improving, more hotels are coming, and we want to take advantage of this.”
The next StudyTravel Alphe Spain conference will take place from January 12-14, 2018, at the Hotel NH Málaga.
By Matthew Knott