Owned by four Turkish agents – Bilimevi, GKR, Idealist and Karya – the fair was held from October 3-4.

“Online fairs will not replace in-person fairs, but they are a good alternative to in-person fairs during pandemic”

“Our exhibitors and we are pleased to see that the Turkish market is still alive and the demand for study abroad is still high,” Onur Yaldizkaya, founder of Idealist, said, echoing sentiments shared by agency association UED recently.

Some 56% of the total 2,819 visitors from across Turkey were aged 18-30, while prospective students aged over 30 represented 24% of visitors and under 18s the remaining 20%. Visitors were from 81 cities in the country.

“Most of the students are mainly looking to book as soon as the travel restrictions are lifted and schools are open,” he noted.

Highest program in demand at the fair was language school attracting 23% of visitors, followed by Work & Study (ESL) with 19%, and postgraduate course at 17%.

The UK was the most sought-after destination with 14% of attendees interested in study in the country, followed by Canada at 13%, US at 12% and Ireland and Germany both level at 11%.

The virtual software allowed each institution to Text Chat & Video Call with multiple students at once.

“It is easier to reach all over the country via an online fair, however, this is a different product than in-person fair,” Yaldizkaya explained, adding in-person and online fairs have different advantages and disadvantages.

“I think online fairs will not replace in-person fairs, but they are a good alternative to in-person fairs during the pandemic.

“Online fairs will exist after pandemic as well because exhibitors will be able to reach everyone in the country and they do not need to travel so they are cost-effective.”

However, fairs in-person offer fair organisers, agents, students, embassy and consulate officials added networking opportunities, Yaldizkaya continued.

In March, recruiters were embracing virtual tours and recruitment fairs to continue reaching prospective students, and recruitment tour companies suggested they would plan for online-only recruitment until 2021.

Fellow Turkish organisation VEF Virtual Education Fairs said it has witnessed an 80% rise in demand in 2020, while digital marketing technology company Sinorbis launched a virtual student recruitment fair in China to promote Australia and New Zealand.

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