A record 94,832 people across the globe signed up for a Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) course in the 2017/18 academic year. China overtook Britain as the top market after recording 9% growth in student numbers.
According to latest figures released by the WSET, in third place is USA, followed by Canada and Australia.
Emerging economies topped the league table of highest growth in student intake. Brazil is WSET’s fastest growing market with an increase of 75%, followed by the UAE at 40%.
Signs of stagnation are obvious in some European markets. In the UK, 19,460 candidates took different level of WSET’s courses, which was roughly the same as the previous year representing zero percent growth. While intake in Switzerland saw a 1 percent drop.
However, France - the world’s biggest wine producing country - showed a 17 percent growth in student numbers.
WSET chief executive Ian Harris said: “2017/18 has been another successful year for WSET as we continue to strengthen our offer to maintain our best in class reputation.
“Global demand makes wine education the bread and butter of our business, but it is great to see such high growth in spirits qualifications as we prepare for the launch of the first WSET Level 3 Award in Spirits next year.”
Over the next academic year, the education and awards teams will be gearing up to launch the WSET’s new and enhanced qualifications in August 2019.
This will complete the separation of WSET’s qualifications into three distinct subject matter streams: wine, spirits and sake.
The first ever Level 3 Award in Spirits will undergo an intensive pilot program, while the Level 2 Award in Wine and the Diploma in Wines are also being overhauled.
The top 10 WSET markets for the academic year 2017/18 (growth from previous year) are:
1. China (+9%)
2. UK (+0%)
3. USA (+24%)
4. Canada (+5%)
5. Australia (+18%)
6. France (+17%)
7. UAE (+40%)
8. Switzerland (-1%)
9. Brazil (+75%)
10. Netherlands (+6%)
(the writer can be contacted at: SusanLewis@thewinechronicle.com)