Last Thursday, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism – through the Spanish Tourism Institute (Turespaña) – together with ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones (from the Government’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Competition) and in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and the Cervantes Institute, presented the new edu-tourism portal – www.studyinspain.info.
The portal will be used as a means to access the various quality education options that exist in Spain. It will include all the information and services needed by anyone interested in travelling to Spain for the purpose of undertaking any form of study.
The portal is the result of institutional collaboration between representatives of regional tourism promotional organisations and members of business associations, and therefore reflects a joint effort from both the public and private sectors.
The new digital platform is aimed at promoting edu-tourism in Spain and the internationalisation of education services in the country. Furthermore, it aims to attract potential students from abroad by highlighting the attractive features of Spain as a tourist destination.
Thanks to input from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport’s Foundation, Universidad.es, which promotes the internationalisation of Spanish universities, it will also provide useful information for foreign students, such as whether or not they need a visa to stay in Spain, details on registration and enrolment processes, fees, official recognition of qualifications, etc.
Among other services, the offer from the new portal includes those universities with graduate and post-graduate studies; the Spanish Language Schools accredited by the Cervantes Institute; and summer courses, as well as those Business Schools in Spain offering post-graduate courses.
The portal will have its own commercial operation plan enabling interested companies and entities to increase their visibility on the website through both advertising and sponsorship activities, and will make it easier for interested education centres to attract new foreign students through a tailored information request system. It is thus intended to create a platform providing support to the international commercialisation of edu-tourism that is financially self-sufficient.
Edu-tourism has an important role to play in Spain. Those students spending lengthy periods in the country, during which time they interact and create emotional ties to the destination, tend to demonstrate a high degree of loyalty. Their experience in Spain converts them into important consumer motivators and, in short, “ambassadors” of Spain.
950,000 foreign students came to Spain in 2012 in search of the educational opportunities offered in the country, which was an increase of 25% over the previous year. In terms of the volume of expenditure generated by this segment of the tourist market, they spent almost 2.03 billion euros last year (up 28% on 2011). The main source markets in terms of the number of arriving students were France, Italy, the United States and Germany.
The close relations with the socio-cultural environment of the destination generated among these tourists encourages repeat visits in the future, whether to consolidate their knowledge, to visit friends or to share their previous tourism experiences with others.