State targets €900m a year from overseas student fees
THE Government has targeted €900m in earnings next year from overseas students as part of a revamped international trade strategy.
Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore has launched a review of trade and tourism which will also step up Ireland's presence in newer markets which were not previously a priority.
He also said that education services will now be included in international trade policy for the first time.
"It is the first time that we have looked at education as a business in this way. We've now made it a formal part of the country's trade strategy," Mr Gilmore said.
The review targets an increase to €900m from education services in 2015. That is an increase from the €682m target set in 2010.
Mr Gilmore said Ireland was attracting a large number of students from all around the globe, with 5,000 students coming from Brazil alone.
He said increasingly Irish third-level colleges were designing courses specifically for overseas students while the long-established business of English teaching remained important.
Mr Gilmore said the review, which examined the strategy in place since 2010, looked at trade, tourism and investment. Work would continue in high value markets like Britain, the US, other EU member states and other long-established trade partners.
The Government also aims to push trade opportunities in Turkey, Nigeria, Mexico and Chile.