ASILS report shows growth in Italian language sector

Member schools of the Association of Schools of Italian as a Second Language (ASILS) welcomed 28,200 international students in 2016, a three per cent increase compared with the previous year, according to data provided to StudyTravel Magazine.

The 42 ASILS schools welcomed an average of 671 international students each in 2016, ASILS said in its annual analysis of member returns.


More than 131,000 student weeks were delivered in 2016 - an increase of 6.5 per cent compared with the previous year - and the average stay increased slightly to 4.6 weeks.


The USA was the largest source country for ASILS schools, providing 16.46 per cent of students last year, followed by Germany (12.34 per cent), Switzerland (6.33), Austria (4.8) and Japan (4.28).


Speaking to StudyTravel Magazine, Francesca Romana Memoli, President of ASILS, said, "Whereas the percentage of German and Austrian students has remained stable, there has been a sizeable increase in the number of Dutch (+35 per cent), French (+18) and Brazilian students (+12)."


On the other hand, the number of Spanish and British students declined by 14 and eight per cent respectively last year.


"An interesting growing market is the Chinese one, which, thanks to the launch of the Marco Polo and Turandot Projects, represented three per cent of all students attending ASILS schools," Francesca added.


The 18-to-25 years cohort represented the largest group of students at ASILS schools in 2016 at 34.8 per cent, followed by the 26-to-35 years group (22.7 per cent) and the 36-to-50 years cohort (18). The over-50 years market was also significant, providing 17.1 per cent of clients, but the junior (under 18 years) business remained a relatively minor concern at 7 per cent.


Around 40 per cent of students were studying Italian for professional reasons, while tourism/culture was the main imperative for a third of ASILS students and just less than a quarter were pursuing Italian for future academic reasons.


ASILS schools generated revenue of EU53.1 million in 2016, the association said, with an average spend per student of EU412.8 on tuition and accommodation.


The association's schools spent an average of EU60,300 on marketing and advertising activities, according to the findings, a 19 per cent increase compared with the previous year. Agent commission was the main area of expenditure at 45.8 per cent, followed by websites (23.9), international fairs & promotional trips (14.4) and bursaries/scholarships (five).


The findings echo the results of StudyTravel Magazine's survey of Italian language schools, due to be published next month (November). The Italy Market Analysis is based on feedback from Italian language schools on recruitment markets and methods, marketing spend and current year developments.


Francesca was interviewed by StudyTravel Magazine earlier this year about the activities of ASILS and the Italian language school sector.



By Matthew Knott

News Editor