FEDELE and SEA, the Argentinian Association of Language Schools, last week signed a framework agreement for the development of Language Tourism in both countries.  SEA is a non-profit organisation founded in 1993 which has 120 schools across Argentina, mainly in Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Mendoza, Neuquén, Salta and Santa Fe.

Marcelo García, president of SEA, Mari Carmen Timor Catalá, president of FEDELE, and Sergio Palacios, president of the Asociación FEDELE Madrid and the event´s host, took part in the signing.  The presidents of both organisations gave a brief resumen of the situation in their own country and suggested strategies for the future.

Spain and Argentina are the two main destinations for people wishing to learn Spanish and the ELE sector (Spanish as a Foreign Language) is centred on them.  Around 350,000 students of Spanish visit Spain each year and more then 50,000 visit Argentina.  They have an average stay of three weeks in Spain and spend an average of 1,800 euros.  In Argentina the average stay is eight weeks and the average expenditure 4,100 US$.  While they are taking part in their immersion programmes these students are consumers of culture and leisure.

The main objective of the collaboration agreement signed by FEDELE and SEA is to reinforce the main areas of development in Language Tourism in both countries: training of professionals, certification, accreditation and market studies.  As far as teacher training is concerned, training sessions will be begun and teachers will be able to share their experiences of teaching in immersion programmes.

Both associations are planning a shared analysis of the existing systems of certification and accreditation so that a plan to improve these systems can later be developed and students’ expectations met.  And lastly, one of the main difficulties of language industry so far is the absence of figures.  Both organisations are committed to creating a means of sharing information, both internally and externally, on the evolution of the market in both countries.