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Calling all students

Calling all students

Abu Dhabi plans to develop edu- tourism in the emirate. Considering how profitable the industry could be if strategies are implemented correctly, it could work well here.

March 17, 2009 1:23 by

The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) has announced that it is rolling out an educational tourism strategy in order to educate overseas students about the emirate, contribute to its overall tourism development, and, ultimately, help establish Abu Dhabi as an education hub in the future.

The ADTA is planning a three-fold strategy, which are promoting the emirate as a destination for school trips; providing them with enrichment or personal development programs; and corporate training.

While the plan is in its initial stages, educational tourism may heap great rewards for the emirate and the country in the future.

“The term education tourism or edu-tourism refers to any program in which participants travel to a location as a group with the primary purpose of engaging in a learning experience directly related to the location,” says a research paper on the topic. “It is comprised of several sub-types including ecotourism, heritage tourism, rural/farm tourism, and student exchanges between educational institutions.”

There are several success stories of edu-tourism globally; international students contribute $15.5 billion annually to the US economy. According to a report published by the Institute of International Education with support from the U.S. government in November 2008, the number of international students at colleges and universities in the country increased by 7 percent to a record high of 623,805 in the 2007-08 academic year. New international student enrollments increased by 10 percent in the same year.

According to the report, higher education is one of the country’s largest service sector exports, as international students provide revenue to the U.S. for living expenses, including room and board, books and supplies, transportation and health insurance. The report adds that 67 percent of students’ primary funding comes from sources outside of the country.

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