Agents on English UK's latest inward mission have gone home with a unique selling point for their clients - inside knowledge of language centres in one of the world's top travel destinations.
Yorkshire was named the third best destination in the world in the Lonely Planet's latest travel guide, just days after the 13 Latin American agents on the trip left the area after visiting three of its cities as part of a tour of the North of England.
"We've been planning this mission for six months so this was an amazing bit of luck," said Roz Rozidor, English UK's international manager. "The group loved Yorkshire - and the other places in the north we visited on the mission - so this will be an additional way for them to sell the area once they're back in their offices."
She added: "We arranged the trip to give the agents a variety of northern locations and also to show the diversity of English language providers, including a private college, a family run school, a small family chain, a well-known global brand and a state further education college and university.
"We also had a diverse group of agents, with three each from Brazil and Colombia, two from Peru, and one each from Ecuador, Mexico, Venezuela and El Salvador."
Lonely Planet mentions Yorkshire's "rugged moorlands, heritage homes and cosy pubs" and that the Tour de France begins in Leeds next summer. York Minster, the 13th century cathedral visited by agents on the trip, makes it into the guide's top 10 global "sights to make you feel small".
Participating agent Carlos Bazan Leigh of Globancy in Lima, Peru, said: "I now have plenty of information and first-hand knowledge to advise my clients about the UK as an educational destination. I will certainly work with most of the centres visited during the mission, as they showed us that they are performing very well in their management, infrastructure and teaching.
"The English UK autumn 2013 inward mission has been an extraordinary experience, as it allowed us to get close contact with educators and their institutions, and with the high quality of their educational services it exceeded our expectations."
Few of the agents on the mission had visited the north of England before and for one, Katharine Renpenning from Mexico, it was a first trip to the UK. "It's so nice to have this weather. It's too hot and dry in Chihuahua. It's nice to have the rain and for it to be cooler," she said.
The group began their tour in Manchester, with workshops attended by ten English UK educators before moving on to visit Manchester International College and then English in Chester. After a night in the busy Yorkshire city of Sheffield - where the agents were surprised to learn that trees outnumber people - the party visited Sheffield College and then the Centre of English Studies in Leeds.
The group then spent the night in the lively city of Newcastle, with dinner on the famous quayside, before visiting the University of Northumbria and International House the following day, with a walking tour of the city and time to visit the shops.
Finally, the party travelled to York, where they had a chance to visit the 13th century cathedral York Minster and walk through ancient streets before workshops with educators. The trip ended with a fantastic farewell dinner at Melton's, one of York's best restaurants, where the party enjoyed a five-course taster menu showcasing locally sourced food.
Click here to see an album of pictures from the trip.
The next inward mission will be in May 2014, and is open to agents from Central, Eastern and Southeast Europe.
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