Three New Zealand based education agents visited the Top of the South region last week for a three day trip to explore what the region has to offer international students.

Hosted by Education Nelson-Marlborough, the agents based in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland were impressed with the lifestyle, pastoral care, and the quality and range of education available in the region.

Lydia Zeng, director of I NZ Education & Tourism based in Christchurch said: “The Nelson-Marlborough region is stunning with beautiful scenery and a great climate. There is so much to attract international students here. The region is New Zealand's best kept secret in terms of international education - I had no idea you have so much to offer students.”

The highlight of the tour was the welcome to the region from Queen Charlotte College's Kapa Haka Group, a hands on pruning session at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) Marlborough campus, visiting the diverse range of secondary schools in the region, and a tour of the Te Waikoropupū Springs in Golden Bay.

Getting hands on - lending a hand with pruning at NMIT's onsite vineyard.

Getting hands on - lending a hand with pruning at NMIT's onsite vineyard.

Education Nelson-Marlborough project manager, Zoe Gray, said that familiarisation trips are the perfect way for agents to experience Nelson-Marlborough first hand and capture their attention.

The agents said that they were impressed by the region's sunny climate, the wide range and quality of education provision, the array of courses on offer, the low ratio of international students per school, and the fact that are so many cultural and sporting activities for students to take part in.

Figures released in March showed that international education was worth $33.2m to the Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough region in the 2015/16 financial year; when adding the spin off to other businesses in the region from 1700 international students a total of 334 jobs were created and the local economy was boosted by $33.2 million overall (excluding tax).