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South Africa: ELT schools host agents on fam trip

Three English language schools in South Africa have partnered up to attract learners from select countries via education agents.

The three schools welcomed 10 agents from four countries in April. Photo: pixabay

The 14 full, associate and incubator members of Education South Africa, welcomed 5,567 international students in 2021

IH Cape Town, LaL Cape Town, and the UCT English Language Centre welcomed 10 agents from Brazil, Turkey, France, and Poland in April, to offer them a first-hand experience of Cape Town.

“It’s been proved time and again that fam trips work,” Ilse Liebenberg, from IH Cape Town, told The PIE.

“Agents always find it easiest to work with schools and destinations that they have personally experienced. We have found different markets opening up and previously small markets growing substantially,” she noted.

South Africa “as a whole” has become more reliant on the African markets, such as Angola, Gabon and Congo, Liebenberg noted.

The 14 full, associate and incubator members of Education South Africa, welcoming 5,567 international students, recorded a 70% year-on-year increase in 2021. Saudi Arabian students helped to boost numbers, according to Liebenberg.

“The South African took a huge knock during the pandemic, a few schools closed and some merged. However, those schools have bounced back with great enthusiasm. We are finding that 2022’s student numbers beat 2019’s in some source markets. Specifically, the Saudi Arabian market,” Liebenberg, who is also chair of EduSA, explained.

However, South American student numbers were still low compared with pre-Covid figures.

Among the agents visiting the three schools were guest from Brazil. In 2022, UCT English Language Centre welcomed four students from Brazilian agency IE Intercâmbio through an initiative funded by donations.

“The trip was a fantastic opportunity for language travel agents to get a first-hand experience of the schools and facilities available in Cape Town,” organisers of the latest familiarisation trip said.

“We believe that Fam trips are essential for language travel agents”

“We believe that Fam trips are essential for language travel agents as they give agents a first-hand experience of the destination where they send their students . This way, agents can ensure that their students have a safe, enjoyable, and educational experience in Cape Town.”

“I am confident that my experience in Cape Town will help me to better advise my students and ensure that they have an enjoyable and successful language learning journey,” Elif Tanis, one of the agents invited from Idealist in Turkey, added.

Asked how South African providers can attract more students, Liebenberg answered that “awareness of our destination is key”.

“We need to ensure we are out there educating agents on our stunning country. EduSA has made marketing and digital marketing development its key focus for 2023. Attending various international events is also on the agenda for the year ahead. Awareness and education are key factors,” she said.

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