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Fedele President Mari Carmen Timor speaking at the event.
Balearics promoted at annual Fedele workshop
Spanish school federation Fedele held its annual workshop across Ibiza and Palma, in Spain, last week, aiming to promote the Balearic Islands as a study travel destination.

iVamos! Español en España was supported by the Agencia de Turisme de les Illes Balears, Govern Illes Balears and Ajuntament de Palma, and Miquel Puig, Project Manager at International House (IHLS Group) and Secretary of Fedele Baleares, said local authorities want to attract a new type of tourism to the islands.

 

"The government here has seen that language tourism is an important source of income that goes beyond the sun and beach; it's a profile of tourist that can visit all year round, spends more money and time and wants to get to know the people, language and culture of the islands."

 

He added that despite the Balearics being the second most-visited tourist destination in Spain, attracting around 20 per cent of the country's tourists, less than one per cent come to study Spanish.

 

"We want that one per cent to become four, five or even 10 per cent, and for agents to feel able to recommend the islands as a place to study languages.

 

"We want continuity from this event: to form a lobby group, attend international congresses and create a catalogue with the government to promote not only golf and business tourism, but also language tourism."

 

Regarding Spanish in Spain, Ana Cozar, Executive Director of Fedele, told StudyTravel Magazine that she's optimistic that 2017 has been a positive year for the sector.

 

"In Spain, this has been one of the most important years statistically in terms of tourism, and normally those figures coincide with the number of students that come. For that reason, I'm optimistic," she said.

 

Last-minute online bookings, an increase in short-stay groups and a strong autumn were all noted as recent trends from Fedele schools, whilst the turbulence in Catalonia was a concern for Ana.

 

"For our sector, it's a question of image for Spain as an education destination, and the way in which such a conflict is dealt with can cause harm to all sectors, not just ours. I'm optimistic that it [the situation in Catalonia] can be resolved with dialogue and communication."

 

Previously known as the Annual Meeting, Fedele's workshop underwent a redesign this year, becoming iVamos! Español en España. Walking meetings, activities such as agent-educator role-plays and cultural tours were implemented into the new-look programme.

 

There was an afternoon of sit-down meetings on the final day in Palma, with delegates having organised their schedules whilst in Ibiza. This is the first time that the event has been hosted in two cities, and the first Fedele workshop to be held in the Balearic Islands.

 

Daniel Bertole, Director of Instituto de Idiomas Ibiza and ex-President of Fedele Baleares, told StudyTravel Magazine, "Nothing like this has ever taken place on the islands, so we wanted to try out a new format. We wanted to give it a very social, cultural touch, so this is why we had the walking meetings.

 

"I think it will be beneficial for the hosting schools, and for Fedele, to have done something different and to present new destinations that weren't on the map for language travel."

 

Commenting on the success of the event, Ana said, "The feedback, so far, has been really positive and we're very happy with how it has all gone."

 

Forty-two agencies and 30 schools attended this year's workshop, whilst Tenerife was announced as the host for 2018.   

 

By Jared Tinslay

Editorial Assistant