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New education website aims to boost foreign student revenue

Queenstown education pro­viders are joining forces to give the resort another marketing hook.

The new “StudyQueenstown.com” brand aims to make the resort an education destination.

Through a soon-to-be-launched website, providers from early childhood to tertiary level will target the lucrative international student market – known for bringing big dollars into local schools.

Led by Queenstown Resort College boss Charlie Phillips, a group of school principals and education chiefs have been working on the concept for the past six months.

The website’s expected to be launched next month.

“We agreed we need to create a perception that Queenstown has some serious study options here,” Phillips says.

“We actually do – but we don’t market it very well collectively.

“One of the big challenges that we all face, whilst Queenstown’s fan­tastic, it’s a barrier because a lot of international students – particularly Asian students – feel more comfortable in cities.

“So they tend to go [elsewhere].”

International student fees are “crucial” to Wakatipu High, principal Lyn Cooper says.

The high school has 50 overseas students this year – with each paying $11,200 to study, the international pupils bring in more than $500,000 per year.

“It’s our major way of making money over and above what the Ministry of Education gives us,” Cooper says.
QRC’s overseas students pay about 20 per cent more than domestic students.

Joan Potts, Wakatipu High director of international students, says: “I think Queenstown’s a brilliant education destination.

“It’s a stimulating environment to study, it’s a very small, safe, supportive community and I think that’s a desirable factor for a parent sending their child overseas.”

Cooper adds: “I think we’re seen as a tourists’ playground but we want to put an educational view­­­point on it as well.”

Phillips hopes to include providers such as early childhood education centres, primary schools, Southern Rural Education and Activities Programme, and Southern Institute of Technology.

“Not many people would be aware that you can go from preschool to degree-level within Queenstown,”
he says.