Representatives from Townsville Enterprise and the Townsville North Queensland EduTourism Consortium will travel to Singapore tomorrow on a sales mission to explore opportunities to expand the educational tourism sector for Townsville North Queensland.
Townsville Enterprise Director - Tourism & Events, Bridget Woods and EduTourism Consortium Chair, Ross McLennan, owner of Paluma’s Hidden Valley Eco Lodge, will present to 30 educational institutions in Singapore’s tertiary space and 80 primary and secondary schools about the educational tourism opportunities available in Townsville North Queensland.
Meetings will also be held with Singapore based representatives from Tourism and Events Queensland and Trade and Investment Queensland about conducting business with Singapore’s education sector. The remainder of the appointments are with universities and polytechnics who have specific requirements for study abroad programs, as well as meeting with travel agents who are currently working with the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) off the back of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) between Townsville and Singapore.
Tourism operators in Townsville North Queensland came together in 2013 to establish an EduTourism Consortium to develop new products and diversify their businesses to attract international education groups to the region. Townsville North Queensland is now recognised as a centre of excellence for study abroad teaching and learning for the International Education market, particularly in the fields of marine and tropical sciences, environmental studies and tourism.
The Townsville North Queensland EduTourism Consortium comprises local world-leading research institutions and natural resource management agencies including James Cook University, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Townsville North Queensland tourism operators.
Townsville Enterprise Director - Tourism & Events, Bridget Woods said that EduTourism is no longer a niche market.
“Study abroad programs and similar short forms of EduTourism visitation have been growing at a rapid pace around the globe”, said Ms Woods.
“The EduTourism Consortium has a vision to establish Townsville North Queensland as Australia’s capital of transformational experiential learning and teaching programs.
“Sales missions are an effective way to identify potential international educational groups to travel to our region for an immersive world-class learning experience.
“This provides both a meaningful environmental educational experience to international students, as well as a significant economic boost to the local Townsville North Queensland economy”.
The Singapore sales mission follows on from successful delegations to the USA – now a well performing market for the region in the EduTourism sector.
EduTourism Consortium Chair, Ross McLennan is looking forward to building off the success of previous trips.
“The opportunity with Singapore is exciting, as it has the potential to fill a gap in the year we currently have with visiting study abroad groups”, said Mr McLennan.
“The travel periods between the USA and Asia are different. USA international study programs operate between May and June, so we had to look to other international markets to fill this space.
“We also been working with the Japanese educational sector for a number of years in bringing students to our region and now we are continuing to build those relationships with greater Asians markets”.
This project is co-funded with the support of the Queensland Government's International Education and Training Partnership Fund, managed by the International Education and Training Unit (IETU) within Trade and Investment Queensland (TIQ).
Minister for Innovation, Tourism Industry Development and the Commonwealth Games, the Hon Kate Jones MP believes education tourism is a major tourism growth sector.
“Education tourism is a lucrative market and with several world-class tertiary education providers, Townsville is the ideal place to capitalise on Asia’s growing demand for tertiary education,” she said.
“In a few years the Palaszczuk Government has made massive inroads in this sector. With an initial focus on American students, Townsville started with only two study abroad groups in 2011 but now has more than 20.
“Education tourism is worth more than $700,000 a year to Townsville but we believe we’re only skimming the surface.
“The growth in the number of Asian students looking to study overseas provides a massive opportunity for Queensland.
“That’s why the Palaszczuk Government is investing $25.3 million to boost this sector”.