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TUI Travel closes UK junior division EAC

Nearly four years after making its foray into the study travel sector, European travel conglomerate TUI Travel has closed down EAC, its UK-based summer centre operation, which had been running 13 summer centres offering English language training and activities on a residential campus.

EAC was a specialist junior course provider in the English language teaching market

"The economic downturn combined with Italy’s shift towards government-led business has left EAC with a business model that is not sustainable"

Citing “current market trading conditions” behind the reason, EAC announced that it had become no longer viable to operate the business. Instead, five of its 13 summer operations will be brought under the auspices of ELC Group, the adult ELT business run by TUI alongside EAC as a separate company.

Janet Galbraith, Product Development Manager at the Junior Residential Group, Language Division of TUI confirmed, “Leicester, Oatridge, QMU, Colindale, Eastbourne and Bath have already been taken on by other language school providers and we are expecting that new operators will be confirmed for All Hallows and Hastings [shortly].”

Galbraith told The PIE News that recession-hit European economies meant depressed trading conditions, nodding to Spain, Italy and France. “Historically EAC has been heavily reliant on the volume sector of these markets,” she said. “The economic downturn combined with Italy’s shift towards government-led business in the last year or two has left EAC with a business model that is not sustainable.”

Ardmore Language Schools confirmed that they would be taking over the management of two of the eight centres

Sarah Flindall, Chief Executive of Ardmore Language Schools, confirmed that they would be taking over the management of two of the eight centres that EAC is closing (Eastbourne campus at the University of Brighton and Leicester campus) and possibly more centres, to be confirmed later in the week.

She said, “We were obviously concerned for the agencies that had placed bookings with EAC for summer 2013 and keen to help resolve the situation. Of course, this is an opportunity for Ardmore Language Schools, but we also wanted to ensure that no students or agencies would be left stranded.”

Flindall added that the group was able to react quickly “as we have been expanding our operational capacity for some years now on both sides of the Atlantic – in the UK and North America (USA and Canada) – as we seek to become a major brand in the junior summer school market”.

She told The PIE News that Ardmore Language Schools has not experienced too many trading difficulties this year, although there was a definite dip from Italian and Spanish markets – and slower booking trends from other markets.

“EAC was developed to become one of the leading junior operators of courses in our industry”

Given that EAC was an award-winning junior course provider with over 21 years in the business, the news has come as a shock to education agencies and other operators in the sector.

One of the original owners was Andrew Fisher, now MD of another ELT brand Oscars. He said, “EAC was developed to become one of the leading junior operators of courses in our industry with an exceptionally strong, successful and well known brand, before being sold by the directors in 2009. I wish the people associated with that brand now good wishes as they incorporate it into the ELC language brand.”

 

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