Bay language schools target South America
LANGUAGE schools in South Devon are taking part in a massive drive to bring more overseas students to the region and boost the economy.
The affiliation of language schools, English UK South West, has teamed up with UK Trade and Investment to promote the region and its attractions as a destination of choice to come and learn English.
The group of language schools is hoping the promotion campaign will increase numbers in this part of the world away from London and other large cities.
English UK South West is keen to attract students from new markets such as South America and Asia.
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Dean Jones, managing director of the Torquay International School, a member of English UK South West, said promoting all aspects of South Devon life to foreign students was important especially when it comes to repeat business.
He said: "Language students are big business. We actively support the work of the English UK South West in bringing in more language students to our area.
"We know that for many first time overseas students London remains a top priority but more mature or returning students want to go somewhere else and enjoy other aspects of British life.
"They want to enjoy the beautiful countryside and excursions, enjoy the fact there are fewer people here and the pace of life is different.
"As a school we work hard to attract these students in particular."
Mr Dean said there was a large contingent of Gulf states students coming to the Bay to study English.
He said: "We're about to welcome 50 Omani students for a year. It will make a big difference to our school."
English language schools bring around £2billion into the national economy and £262million into the South West region, based on the number of students.
Of that Devon receives about £42.5million and Torbay, in particular, £5.5million.
English UK South West is planning to attend a series of trade fairs including Jordan, Macau and Peru and is working with Visit England.
Association member Susan Brearey, the director of the Suzanne Sparrow Language School in Plymouth, said: "Language schools are an important source of foreign income for the economy and channel a great deal of money into local businesses, through accommodation, shopping and visitor attractions.
"We also have a high number of students who return year after year, having enjoyed their time here.
"The South West has much to offer students of all ages, from its landscape and culture to history and entertainment and we have to capitalise on these assets when we encourage people to come and study here."