A senior New Zealand Cabinet minister left for the Arabian Gulf Friday in a bid to drum up business for the country's growing education industry.
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce will visit Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to raise New Zealand's profile for international students and to support education companies seeking to grow their business in the region.
"Since 2008, students from the Gulf states studying in New Zealand have grown by 33.4 percent and are now approaching 7,500. This makes the Gulf States our fifth largest source of international students," Joyce said in a statement.
"Education consultancy companies have successfully undertaken work and are continuing to bid for significant contracts in a number of countries in the region."
Joyce is to sign a Memorandum of Cooperation with Oman, and meet with government ministers in Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and attend functions promoting New Zealand's education sector.
He would give the closing address at the largest education fair in the region a key event for New Zealand institutes to promote themselves in Saudi Arabia, said the statement.
New Zealand would be represented at the fair by universities, institutes of technology and polytechnics, English language schools, and education consultancy businesses, as well as education, immigration, trade and enterprise and foreign affairs officials.
"New Zealand has a growing international reputation of delivering high quality education," said Joyce.
"The international education industry remains in good shape to double its economic contribution to New Zealand to 5 billion NZ dollars (4.15 billion U.S. dollars) by 2025. The Gulf states and the Middle East are an important part of that future growth."