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Education Tauranga targets international students

Education Tauranga targets the attraction of international students

A new strategy aimed at boosting the international student numbers in the Bay of Plenty could pay significant economic and social dividends for Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty.

The international student market was New Zealand’s fifth largest source of export income last year, contributing $2.5 billion to the economy. International students also expand our knowledge and understanding of other cultures and provide opportunities for international linkages, which are essential for New Zealand’s economic future. In addition, international tertiary students make a valuable contribution to the country’s goals for the expansion of research, innovation and trade, and play an important role in diversifying the labour market.

Over the last six months, Education Tauranga has been working with economic development agency, Priority One, to develop a targeted strategy and action plan to attract more international students to the region. Education Tauranga is a collaboration of primary, secondary and tertiary learning institutions from Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty, that work together to market the sub-region as a premier destination for overseas students, and ensure they have a quality experience while they are here. The organisation has a goal to grow international education in Tauranga by 15 per cent by 2017.

As a result of the robust strategy development process and outcomes, Education New Zealand has agreed to fund a resource for three years to implement the strategy. Education Tauranga Chairman, Graeme Lind says “Developing the strategy has been a collaborative effort, and has marked the beginning of a new relationship between Education Tauranga and the city. Priority One's support in developing a strong vision and strategic direction to grow the international education market was instrumental in helping achieve buy-in and financial support from Education New Zealand, which will allow us to implement our strategy and business plan."

Education Tauranga also receives a funding contribution from Tauranga City Council to support its sister city relationships with Yantai in China and Hitachi in Japan. Tauranga Mayor, Stuart Crosby, says "There is significant opportunity to build the region’s reputation as a quality destination for international students, particularly in light of the planned CBD tertiary precinct.”

The collaboration between Education Tauranga and Priority One will result in a significant increase in the international profile of Tauranga and the Western Bay as an attractive study destination for overseas students.

Greg Simmonds, Strategic Projects Manager for Priority One, said the strategy had been developed from the ground up with strong input from local education providers. However he notes it’s about more than just the attraction of international students. "It's about marketing Tauranga and the Western Bay to an international audience and building long term relationships that will ultimately result in the sub-region being a destination of choice for skilled people and the businesses that need them, as well as the potential for increased visitation from international tourists.” says Greg.


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