West Australian campaign to attract more Thai students

While Australia remains the number one destination for thousands of Thai students studying abroad, only about 5 per cent of those choose to enrol in institutions located in Western Australia.

However, a new education promotion project called "Study Perth", aimed at attracting a larger number of Thai and international students to Western Australia, was launched in Thailand on Friday.

"Australia attracts over 600,000 international students every year because of its ability to provide high-quality and internationally recognised education," said Australian Ambassador to Thailand James Wise. "Australian education has been dominated by the flow of Thai students and we're very keen on attracting more."

Perth's Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi believes that the city has radically transformed over the years, and is still continuing to experience rapid growth.

"Although Perth is a relatively new city, it has changed so much in less than 200 years," Scaffidi said. "Its unique combination of vibrancy, sense of sophistication, natural beauty, and a relaxed lifestyle makes it a very attractive destination for students … It's Perth's time now."

Actress and model Paula Taylor, Brand Ambassador of Study Perth, said she felt lucky to have grown up in Perth. Taylor lived in the city until she was 16, before she relocated to Brisbane and then Thailand.

"Going back there now, it's amazing to see how much it has changed," Taylor said. "It has such a great vibe, and I feel so fortunate to have spent 16 years of my life there."

In an attempt to introduce and attract more students to the city, Study Perth plans to expand its brand into many other countries in Asia such as China, South Korea, and Singapore.

Mike Ryan, executive director of Perth Education City (PEC) said that international students made a significant contribution to the country and were essential in boosting the Australian economy. In 2009, international higher education students contributed over $9 billion Australian dollars (S$10 billion) to the country's economy.

While Perth lacks Thai students and is seeking more, Wise believes that the same could be said about Thailand.

"We need many many more Australian students to study in Thailand," Wise said. "Even if it's for a term or a semester."