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Brazil boom to US continues; BELTA repositions

Brazil sent 25% more foreign students to the USA last year, in a further sign of the boom in study abroad across the country. According to data from the US Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, 48,000 Brazilians studied in the States in 2010-2011, up from 38,400 in 2009-10. The US is Brazil’s second favourite study destination after Canada.

BELTA Members in Sao Luiz, Maranhao - BrazilBELTA Members in Sao Luiz, Maranhao - Brazil

BELTA predicts a jump to 282,000 students this year, worth $2 billion.

Brazil is seeing a boom in study abroad driven by its fast growing middle “C” class. According to agency association, BELTA, 215,000 Brazilians studied abroad last year (generating US$1.5 billion in revenue), up from 167,432 in 2010. It predicts a jump to 282,000 students this year, worth $2 billion.

To capitalise on the growth, BELTA is trying to build unity between agencies across the gargantuan country. In the North and North East of Brazil (a region responsible for 10% of the market) it has appointed new regional coordinators – bringing the total to nine – to support local marketing efforts. It also held regional meetings for agencies in the cities of Natal and Sao Luis in May and June.

“The present moment requires a strong market position”

“The present moment requires a strong market position and these kinds of meetings are very important to exchange information, discuss the local market, procedures, news trends and promotional activities,” Fred Tiba, director of BELTA, said.

The organisation said that in 2010-11 Sao Paulo was the source of most overseas students, representing more than 50% of the market. The North and North East (16 states) accounted for 9.8%, Minas Gerais state 15.5%, the South (three states) 9.9%, Rio de Janeiro state 8.5%, and the Midwest (four states) 5.6%.

Ana Beatriz Faulhaber, regional coordinator for Rio de Janeiro, said factors behind the US interest included the low dollar, easing visa conditions and geographical proximity.

She said language courses were the most popular choice for US-bound Brazilians, followed by high school programmes, professional courses, study abroad with work and vacation courses. Rio de Janeiro state was the region said to be most keen on the US.

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