According to collaborator El Instituto Cervantes, some 950,000 foreign students went to Spain last year to study, an increase of 25% from the previous year. Each student spends more on tourism than the average visitor which resulted in almost €200m in 2012.
“The new digital platform aims to promote educational tourism in Spain and the internationalisation of education services in our country,” said El Instituto Cervantes in a statement. “It also aims to attract potential foreign students by showcasing Spain as an attractive tourist destination.”
Foreign students become the “best ambassadors” for Spain
The main source markets for Spain last year were France, Italy, the USA and Germany. “These tourists tend to return after their trip either to improve their knowledge, to visit friends or to relive their past experiences,” the organisation said.
The Secretary of Tourism, Isabel Borrego confirmed the government is keen to back the country’s international education programmes saying that foreign students become the “best ambassadors” for Spain.
Offered in both English and Spanish, the site gives potential students information on universities that offer graduate and post-graduate courses, Instituto Cervantes-accredited language schools and business schools across the country.
The site also provides students with visa information, how to prepare for their trip and what they can expect to find in the regions around Spain.
Spanish language schools in Spain welcome the support from the government and the opportunity to collaborate with higher education institutions as more students look to study Spanish for entrance into universities.
Bob Burger, marketing director at Malaca Instituto told The PIE News: “At Malaca about 20% of our students are here studying Spanish in order to go on to some kind of university programme. That is considerably up since four years ago and it’s on an increasing trend.
“All the emerging markets that have just opened up for Spain are dominated by students looking to enter university in a country not just learn a language”
“All the emerging markets that have just opened up for Spain including China, Russia, Turkey, India and Kazakstan are dominated by students looking to enter university in a country not just learn a language,” he added.
In an effort to eventually make the site a self sustainable marketing tool, educators and stakeholders can increase their web visibility by buying advertising presence.
Rafael Rodríguez-Ponga, general secretary of Instituto Cervantes said the site would also be “very useful” for students looking to increase their employability by learning Spanish.
According to the institute, Spanish has risen 800% in the last decade to become the second most used language on Twitter and the third most on the internet behind English and Chinese.
Earlier this year, Minister of Foreign Affairs José Manuel García-Margallo claimed that Spanish could be the country’s most “valuable asset” and that the government is planning to consolidate its promotional efforts of the language in new Asian markets.