More than three quarters of the agents at English UK's latest Asia Pacific fair were first-timers at the event, leading to high hopes of many new business partnerships emerging.
Early feedback from the English UK member centres at the Xi'an Fair showed that all thought there was potential for new partnerships.
"We're really pleased with how the fair went, and the number of quality new agents who attended for the first time, and really hope that participants will see the benefits of this in future. Half of the agents were from China, which is a priority market for us, with a good spread of the region's other markets represented," said Roz Rozidor, English UK international manager, who led the event with colleagues Siobhan Baccas and Sarah Wang.
She added: "We're now using the format of the fairs to build agent knowledge and expertise, to the benefit of all our members. For the second time, we held group discussions on subjects such as strategies for dealing with the strong pound, key deciding factors for agents when deciding whether to send students, and how agents and educators can work together, and again these were really interesting for both the agents and educators taking part."
The fair, held at the Hilton Xi'an, followed the regular format of strictly-controlled numbers of agents and English UK educators meeting intensively over several days with appointments supplemented by seminars and a mixture of formal and informal social events. The event was popular with both agents and educators.
"I found the fair to be a good experience, there were good relationships formed with the agents through the ice-breaker sessions," said Ian Pack of Colchester English Study Centre.
"As usual, this format allows me to gain sufficient information of educators as well as to build a good rapport with them," said Michael Ching of Beijing Normal University.
"It was a well-organised and productive event, especially the seminar session and panel discussion, which has broadened up avenues to must-promote targeted territories and highlighted key issues faced by agents in promoting the UK as an ELT destination," said Haroon Rashid of SH Education Consultants Group, adding that it was a good option for meeting lots of different institutions under one roof with plenty of networking opportunities.
During the fair the group participated in tailored seminar sessions, Chinese banquet sponsored by the British Council with welcome speeches from English UK board member Stephen A'barrow and Sam Ayton, the British Council's director English language services, China. There were two full days of appointments, plus an informal night involving groups competing in a street shopping challenge and dinner at a famous dumpling restaurant, and a final formal gala dinner with a private performance of traditional dance and music at the Tang Dynasty Theatre, described by one fair regular as one of his favourite ever nights.
Finally, 25 of the party chose to extend their stay with a visit to the Terracotta Warriors.
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