Languages Canada and CAPS-I Host Successful Inbound Trade Mission and FAM Tour with Italian and Spanish Education Agents.
Languages Canada teamed up with the Canadian Association of Public Schools – International (CAPS-I), the Italian Association of Language Consultants and Agents (IALCA) and the Spanish Association of Promoters of Language Courses Abroad (ASEPROCE) to welcome a group of 36 Italian and Spanish education agents to Banff this December, the largest such delegation ever to visit Canada.
Globally, Italy is the 10th largest source country for ELT abroad with a total of 500,000 student weeks (2019). Spain ranks 12th, with 300,000 student weeks (2019). European agents have been looking for more diversity as their traditional partners in the UK, Ireland, and Malta are coping with issues related to student overpopulation (Ireland and Malta) and stricter entry rules (UK).
According to Languages Canada’s 2023 Q1 to Q3 survey data and Q4 forecast, Italy and Spain are expected to show a minimum of 28% and 12% growth, respectively, compared to 2022 – a year which saw Italian student numbers jump by 358% and Spanish student numbers rise by 275% compared to 2021.
Over 3,000 students from Italy and Spain are expected to attend Languages Canada member programs in 2023. This trade mission will certainly help to boost those numbers further in 2024 and beyond.
The event kicked off Sunday, December 3 in Banff, Alberta, where participants enjoyed amazing views of the Canadian Rockies while riding the Banff gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain for lunch and a welcome reception at the Northern Lights Alpine Kitchen.
Close to 90 delegates were in attendance in Banff, including representatives from 32 Canadian institutions (16 Languages Canada members and 16 CAPS-I members), attesting to the popularity of the event and the significant level of interest in the Italian and Spanish student markets.
“A good number of our delegates had never personally been to Canada, despite operating in the study abroad sector for decades. This is exactly why Languages Canada has been organizing Inbound Trade Missions and FAM Tours over the past few years,” Languages Canada’s Director of International Affairs and mission showrunner, Diego Sanchez commented. “I hear from agents first-hand – they only send students to schools they personally know. That level of confidence can only be acquired by bringing them to Canadian soil, to see the beauty our country has to offer, and the quality of Canada’s accredited language programs.”
December 4 and 5 were dedicated to B2B meetings between agents and institutions at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Close to 1,000 meetings were held during the event. Presentations designed to help Italian and Spanish agents get to know Canada as a study destination were also held, including a presentation dedicated to the K-12 education system, and another on work and study options for European youth on Working Holiday visas.
Bonnie McKie, Executive Director of CAPS-I (Canadian Association of Public Schools – International) shares “the trade mission provided an opportunity for CAPS-I members from coast to coast, Vancouver Island to Newfoundland to showcase their high school program offerings. Interest and enrolment from Italy and Spain has been strong post-pandemic, so this inbound trade mission which provided an intensive exploration of Canadian programs was very timely.”
Alexandra O’Sullivan, Second Secretary & Trade Commissioner at the Embassy of Canada to Spain flew from Madrid to meet with participating Canadian institutions in Alberta and provide them with market intel. She will also help with follow-up efforts with Spanish agents in 2024.
After the B2B portion of the event wrapped up in Banff, Languages Canada representatives escorted the delegation of Italian and Spanish agents on a 4-day tour of LC and CAPS-I member schools and campuses in Alberta and British Columbia, with stops at:
Canmore Collegiate High School (Canadian Rockies Public Schools) – Canmore
Lord Beaverbrook High School (Calgary Board of Education) – Calgary
Global Village English Schools – Calgary
International Gateway Language Academy and College – Calgary
Frances Kelsey Secondary School (Cowichan Valley School District) – Mill Bay
University of Victoria – Victoria
Claremont Secondary School (Saanich Schools) – Victoria
Burnaby Central Secondary School (Burnaby School District) – Burnaby
Oxford International – Vancouver
Kwantlen Polytechnic University – Richmond Campus
International Language Academy of Canada (ILAC) – Vancouver
Feedback from Italian and Spanish agents and Canadian participants was overwhelmingly positive.
“The ten days spent in Canada for the FAM trip organized by Languages Canada and CAPS-I, with the fundamental contribution of Air Canada, were very interesting for all the participating agents and very important for promoting Canada even more as a study destination. All the IALCA agents greatly appreciated the perfect organization of this FAM trip, the possibility of meeting many Canadian language schools, high schools and universities during the B2B days, and also of visiting some of them during the travel days between Banff, Calgary, Victoria and Vancouver. A confirmation of how FAM trips are a fundamental tool for increasing the professional skills of language agencies in the promotion and sale of a destination. Having been able to visit several schools and universities, and having verified first-hand the very high quality of the Canadian education system, will be two elements of great help in promoting destination Canada to our clients. Special thanks to Diego Sanchez and Yulia Motuz who guided us during the FAM trip with great professionalism and patience.” – Paolo Barilari, IALCA
«All the ASEPROCE members invited on this FAM trip would like to thank Languages Canada, CAPS-I and Air Canada for a successful Canadian experience. Everything ran smoothly from the start, from meeting Miguel from Air Canada at the airport in Madrid, to the incredibly well-organized workshop and one-to-one meetings in beautiful Banff, and school and university visits in Calgary, Victoria and Vancouver. We had the opportunity to visit schools and universities, meet the staff we deal with, talk to the students, visit the facilities and see the students in their classes. That is what we need to trust our partners and offer their programmes to our clients. Our industry needs these opportunities to showcase the best of everyone involved: schools, universities and agencies. We are all in the same boat. We had an amazing trip and consider Canada one of the most welcoming and friendly countries. All the ASEPROCE members that have attended this FAM trip have developed the trust we need to offer our clients the Canadian experience.» – Belen Diez, ASEPROCE board member
“Thanks Languages Canada for a great day in Banff. An amazing place and an amazing organization.” – David Cabezudo Fors, KBLanguage
“Great team! Thanks to all the people involved in this amazing adventure” – Newlan International
“Thank you, Languages Canada, for organizing such wonderful opportunities to show the world what language schools in Canada have to offer! – Ismel Gonzalez, Lakehead University
Languages Canada and CAPS-I sincerely thank Air Canada and guard.me International Insurance for their generous support of this trade mission, as well as the Italian Association of Language Consultants and Agents (IALCA) and the Spanish Association of Promoters of Language Courses Abroad (ASEPROCE).
This initiative was made possible thanks to the Global Affairs Canada CanExport – Associations program.
Languages Canada’s next inbound trade mission and FAM tour will take place in April 2024 in Victoria, British Columbia, with Korean and Taiwanese education agents.