An economic impact survey commissioned by Thanet District Council, and supported by Visit Kent and its Interreg projects, has found that in 2013 overseas students spent an estimated £33.6 million in the area and that this spend supports 905 jobs.
The survey, carried out by The South West Research Company Ltd. on behalf of the council, also estimates that 43,000 trips to Thanet are made annually by overseas students, accounting for 495,000 visitor nights.
The survey examines the characteristics and numbers of overseas students to the district in 2013 and the subsequent impact of their expenditure in terms of business turnover, direct, indirect and induced employment. The report also provides an insight into the wider benefits of language student visits in the longer-term and offers suggestions for improvements to how the sector and its promotion could be better co-ordinated in the future.
Economic impact reports on the value of tourism to the local economy have been carried out by Visit Kent every two to three years, and whilst the value of EFL (English as a Foreign Language) has been considered in these calculations, the sector and the council felt that this would benefit from further evaluation. As a result Thanet District Council’s Tourism Department commissioned the report and an online survey was distributed to known language schools in the area.
The Action Committee for Thanet Students (ACTS) commented, “The EFL industry in Thanet is very grateful to Thanet District Council for commissioning this survey. International students have been making a significant contribution to the local economy since the early 1960s. This is the first independent survey to be carried out in 50 years. It shows how important international students are to the EFL schools themselves, homestay families, shops, restaurants, transport companies and the wider community”.
Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Iris Johnston, says, “The report is a great help to Thanet District Council in planning for our visitors and I have always valued the enormous contribution our Language schools make to the local economy.
It is equally important to appreciate the building of strong international links with those from other countries who want to come here to learn English and learn about our culture.”