English UK's latest small fair, which focus exclusively on promoting UK English language teaching, attracted great feedback from educational tour operators and agents in the Asia Pacific region, delighted to learn more about the UK, spend time with English UK members and leave with high hopes for new business partnerships.
Held in Vietnam's third largest city, Danang, the fair included seminar sessions on studying English in the UK and opportunities for UK providers in Vietnam – a market identified by the Department for International Trade as one of the 20 highest- growth markets worldwide, with education and training as a primary sector.
Lively group discussions revealed that the UK is seen as a safe, high quality destination for education. And even the perfect place for young men and women to learn good cultural etiquette, especially for future business relations. The proximity to Europe, football, heritage and a developed agent-educator network were highlighted as key benefits of UK ELT, while top tips for educators included using former students as ambassadors, visiting agents whenever possible, providing detailed information for parents, and giving an insight into the student experience using video, especially with subtitles.
Then English UK members and agents from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and South Korea, 40% of whom were first-timers, settled in to an afternoon of one-to-one business meetings before closing the day with an informal networking night in the World Heritage designated Hoi An, getting to know each other (and a new skill) through lantern-making and a street market style dinner.
"I've had very successful meetings throughout the day and really enjoyed is the activities in the evening; they were a great way to network with agents and to get to know them outside of business hours," Stacey McGee from LILA* shared.
After a second full day of meetings, the final networking evening involved visit to Danang's Cham museum and a farewell dinner attended by local dignitaries and HM Ambassador to Vietnam, Giles Lever. The Ambassador congratulated English UK on the choice of destination: one of the most forward looking cities in a country "that has almost unlimited appetite for collaboration with the UK across all areas, but particularly in English language learning," he said.
He emphasised the quality of UK education and of English UK members in particular, and noted the importance of English on the path to further study and how great an impact a UK degree has on employment opportunities throughout Asia.
Following the event, 82% of agents reported feeling a lot more confident about promoting UK universities, colleges and private language schools to their clients as a result of their attendance. And first-time attendee Patricia Mullen from International House Newcastle, was impressed: "These smaller boutique events are lovely we made friends with so many schools and agents… I can't wait for the next one. We are hooked!"