Matthew Knott, News Editor of StudyTravel Magazine, gave a data presentation on the Spanish market including the most recent Spain Agency Survey on 2018 trends in which the 17 participants averaged healthy growth of 16.3 per cent in language bookings and 19.3 per cent in the secondary sector.
While the top two destinations for language programmes were the UK and Ireland as usual, he highlighted that the respective market shares of 44.2 per cent and 25.1 per cent were lower than the previous survey of Spanish agencies. As a result, there were increased proportions for Malta, Canada, the USA and France.
Looking at the secondary sector, Matthew extracted Spanish agency-only data from StudyTravel Magazine’s Global Agency Survey on secondary business, which showed that the USA (36.6 per cent) and Canada (31.2) were the most popular secondary destinations for clients of the participating agencies. He also highlighted statistics from the Canadian Association of Public Schools – International (CAPSI), which experienced a 34.1 per cent increase in long-term Spanish students at its members in 2017/18.
Commenting on the Spanish outbound market, Oscar Porras , President of Aseproce, told StudyTravel Magazine, “I would say the market is still increasing, especially for Canada and secondary programmes, enquiries for these are going really high.”
He continued, “Parents see Canada as a friendly and safe country, whereas some other long-haul destinations might be seen as a little wild.”
Malta is also regaining competitiveness in the Spanish market. “There is a little emphasis on Malta right now,” said Oscar. “They had golden days in the Spanish market between 2007 and 2009 when we had the Becas scholarship. But it seems agents and parents are looking again, especially for the residential summer programmes.”
Business for most other destinations was steady, said Oscar, although the ongoing Brexit situation is starting to affect interest.
“There is some concern about Brexit, especially for the secondary business, due to the uncertainty of what will happen. At first, people decided let’s go now before Brexit happens. But the continuing political situation is marking parents feel nervous. There are still bookings, but it is slowing down compared with last year.”
Ramon Villa Menendez, Director of Aseproce member agency Language Kingdom, told StudyTravel Magazine, “The market is in a sweet spot right now.»
He continued, «Growth is coming from juniors, and mini-stays are growing still. High school programmes are also increasing, especially Canada.
«A change in the market is that parents are no longer happy with general English and are becoming more sophisticated with specific requirements.»
In other presentations at the conference, the benefits of Canada as a study destination were highlighted by Mark Richardson, Counsellor at the Embassy of Canada to Spain, and Laura Ballesteros, Cultural and Academic Relations Officer at the Embassy of Canada.
He highlighted positive government policies to attract more immigrants and students to Canada, and quoted Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data showing that there were 307,000 study permits issued in 2017, more than double the 144,000 approved in 2012.
The number of electronic travel authorities for short-term entry into Canada reached 6.4 million in 2018, compared with 4.1 million two years earlier, he added.
Commenting on the overall success of the workshop, Oscar said, “The feedback that we have had had from the schools has been really positive. We feel the agents are really happy that we are organising this event. Some of them bring two or three people so it is a really good opportunity for them to meet many of their partners in one place.
Established 32 years ago, Aseproce currently comprises of more than 50 agencies, and is a member of the global Federation of Education and Language Consultant Associations (FELCA).