Featured TIA Members
New TIA member English New Zealand highlights the opportunity international students hold for tourism and what more operators could be doing to tap into this high-value niche.
Tell us about your business
Established in 1986, English New Zealand is recognised as the peak body for the English language sector. We have 26 member schools in 10 destinations, both private and state tertiary. Members generated over $30 million in tuition fees alone in 2012. GDP contribution in our sector is typically 8 x tuition fees, which indicates that most spending is outside the classroom on accommodation, meals, services and tourism activities.
What are your main markets?
The majority of students come from Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, France, Switzerland, China, Taiwan and Thailand, but some member schools have students from over 20 different countries at any one time. Students can study from two weeks to 48+ weeks depending on whether they’re here for a short study and tourism experience or as preparation for further study in New Zealand.
What are the key factors students look for when deciding which country to study in and how does New Zealand rate?
Quality of education is an important factor, but country of choice is the first decision students make when thinking of a study abroad experience. Our students make a conscious decision to come to New Zealand to enjoy tourism and culture as part of that experience.
New Zealand rates highly in many countries, however there is still work to be done by Tourism NZ in raising the profile of New Zealand as a study destination in markets such as Latin America.
Do your students usually spend time travelling around the country and do you promote this?
Yes, absolutely. Whether they are short-term or long-term they want to experience as many activities as possible during their stay.
Schools have an activities programme that schedules weekly activities to local service providers as well as options for long weekends and/or independent travel. Schools generally allow students to have an approved holiday during their study period where they can travel, independently or with family or friends who visit during the student’s study period. Immigration NZ also allows some time at the end of the student visa period for travel.
How can export education and tourism work more closely?
Tourism NZ representatives present to agents at offshore marketing workshops, but in some key markets there is a lesser awareness of New Zealand and the great offering it has as an edu-tourism destination.
Greater profiling of the New Zealand language travel experience in tourism material would be complementary to both sectors. Having the education story woven into some of Tourism NZ’s market specific campaigns will help build on momentum generated from the recent Immigration NZ policy breakthrough of work rights for English-language student visa holders.
What could tourism operators do to tap into the export education market?
Collaborating at a regional level, linking to members’ websites, targeted promotions, local events and active involvement in schools’ activities programmes will enable tourism operators to better profile their products and services to students. It’s critical that international students are positively targeted with promotions and value packages. The majority of our students are young, so word of mouth and social media are really effective to increase awareness.