Matthew Knott, News Editor of StudyTravel Magazine
Opinion... from the News Editor

Our love of a statistic or two at StudyTravel Magazine should be no secret to regular readers; indeed one of the purposes of our recent redesign was to make the results of our regular and well-established survey sections more accessible and impactful.

We of course conduct our own surveys of language schools, secondary schools, students and agencies, and some very interesting results are being collated as I write this. Look out for the regular Market Analysis data features on language schools in the major destinations over the coming months, for which we have had some of the highest returns ever (thank you to all those than contributed!).


Also coming up is our first global agency survey feature, the results of which will be presented to you in the cover story of the May issue of ST Magazine, and again we are grateful to the companies that contributed.


We are also pleased to work with the major government agencies and international education associations to bring news of their reports, and the spring season is when the data for the previous year begins to roll in.


First up - in terms of the ELT sector at least - is Malta, where the National Statistics Office releases official numbers on the number of students visiting the island nation to study English, and interestingly highlights how much of a share of overall visits the sector constitutes (3.9 per cent annually, but rising to 8.6 per cent in the summer).


So anyway, a 1.6 per increase in students for Malta's ELT sector in 2016 is perhaps not earth shattering, but will be pleasing to schools nonetheless after the previous year's decline.


And dig beneath the overall statistics and some very pleasing growth can be discovered. Malta's mainstay Western European markets (Italy, Germany, Spain and France) returned decent increases.


For this, Malta may have benefitted from the strong pound sterling at the beginning of 2016 - i.e. the main booking season - as well as the market hesitation caused by the UK's EU referendum in June.


Moreover, there was strong growth from a number of non-EU markets, including Turkey, Brazil, Colombia, Japan and Korea.


Speaking to StudyTravel Magazine recently, Genevieve Abela, Executive Director of Malta's ELT school association Feltom, commended the work that schools were doing to diversify markets and grow Malta's profile globally.


While it is of course an association head's role to praise member institutions, there is certainly some substance in the assertion that the schools have been working hard to meet agents; Malta's ELT providers are prominent presence at our StudyTravel Alphe conferences in Asia and Latin America, for example.


The wisdom of diversifying markets is all the more apparent when you consider that two of Malta's main source countries, Russia and Libya, have declined significantly - well actually pretty much disappeared in the case of the latter. But for these two markets, 2016 would have been a good year indeed for Malta's sector.


Elsewhere this week, we have news of a takeover of one Canadian education investment company (KGIC Inc.) by another (CIBT), a slightly messy and bizarre transaction, but one that at least secures the international students that were enrolled at KGIC Inc.'s remaining colleges and most likely concerned about their courses, with a teach-out arrangement promised.


We also have news of Australia's Gold Coast using the forthcoming Commonwealth Games to showcase itself as a study destination; new member schools for Quality English; and another M&A announcement from New Zealand.


If you are attending the IALC 2017 workshop in Boston, USA, do drop by our exhibition stand for a chat!



Matthew Knott

News Editor