However, not all education destinations reported a buoyant business performance, with a downturn noted by a number of UK-based language school businesses – attributed to the Olympic Games in many cases.
A Q3 slowdown was linked to “the Olympics in London – flights were either unavailable or too expensive” or “believed to be due to Olympics, world recession, strength of pound….” according to some of the anonymous survey respondents.
Overall, the picture was not too dreary, however, with 45% of the 239 language schools that took part saying that Q3 2012 was up on the same period in 2011. But this percentage is down compared with 53% who said the same in Q4 2011.
Brazil was cited by 28% of all schools as among the top 3 source markets, followed by China (20%) and Japan (19%). Spain unfortunately led the league of declining sales, highlighted by 22% of schools as a market with negative growth.
Opinion varied widely by country, with India citing the UK as top declining market (and Canada gaining ground)
Across the 238 agencies which took part, a similar 47% said that business was up compared to Q3 in 2011, and optimism towards the next quarter was higher than among the language schools, at 70% (as is usual in this survey, notes ALTO).
Bucking the trend that the UK is losing market share, ALTO reported that 56% of participating agents cited it as a growth market, followed by the US (50%) and Canada (40%). Poor Australia did not fare as well in this opinion poll; 38% expected Australia to see declining market share.
However, opinion varied widely by country, with India citing the UK as top declining market (and Canada gaining ground), while Spain saw the UK as a growth market – very likely linked to the Spanish exodus seeking employment opportunities elsewhere.
The agencies that took part in the survey came from a wide range of countries but were best represented by Brazilian, Russian, Chinese, Pakistani, Spanish, Indian and Turkish businesses (40% of respondents in total).
Among the language schools that took part, again from a wide range of countries, those that were most optimistic about forward enrolments in the next quarter were in South Africa (timezone might be one reason), China and Germany.
Those agencies feeling most upbeat included all of the Colombians polled, 91% of Turkish and 90% of Nigerian businesses.