English UK's recent regional fair attracted great feedback from UK educators pleased with the opportunity to maximise networking time with quality educational tour operators (ETOs) from across the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.
Held at a luxury resort hotel in Abu Dhabi, this event trialled English UK's new fair format. Whilst the ever popular key elements remain - restricted numbers, a regional focus, seminars and an inclusive social programme, plus 24 formal appointments - the programme has been condensed into less than 48 hours.
Roz Rozidor, international manager at English UK, who organised the fair said the change seemed to have proved popular with the delegates, commenting:
"A significant number of the representatives hadn't previously been to one of our regional fairs and through opening with icebreakers and discussion sessions a very open atmosphere developed. Everyone seemed to be getting on well and building good relationships for business - which is exactly what we want."
First-time attendee Peter Walker from Guildford College of Further and Higher Education agreed, remarking:
"The fair was very well organised with a good mix of agents and nationalities. English UK staff…worked hard to look after us and make sure we were able to connect with as many people as possible. They gauged the atmosphere well, offering a very professional service but with a friendly and convivial manner which is very important when people are thrown together for a short, intense event such as this."
The region is a potential growth area for English UK's members and so delegates were particularly enthusiastic to do business. Greg Nelson from CELT - Centre English Language Teaching spoke of "a really good fair in the Middle East... all being well, we should pick up some business after having some very good meetings with agents attending the event".
The educational tour operators also appreciated what the fair had to offer, with over 70% saying they felt a lot more confident in promoting UK universities, colleges and private language schools to their clients because of attending the event. Additionaly,100% advised they would recommend attending to a friend or colleague.
In the words of Andy Buckland of Gulf Education, one of six English UK Partner Agencies, present:
"The fair gave us an excellent opportunity to network with English schools and institutions who were very keen to work with our particular area of the world. Having the opportunity to develop relationships on a personal level in a more intimate setting will stand us in good stead for the future business we do together".
The fair, held at the Intercontinental Abu Dhabi, brought together agents from Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Turkey, Georgia, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan and Oman with English UK member centres, helping to raising the profile of UK English Language Training (ELT).
Networking events included a beachside dinner and dhow boat cruise with traditional entertainment.
English UK has two more overseas regional ELT focussed workshops in 2017; one with selected screened agents from Latin America in early April and one with ETOs from across the Asia Pacific in late November.