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U.S. Agents Show Record Interest in AustraliaSeptember 11, 2009 By: George Dooley
America’s top travel agents, who specialize in selling Australian holidays, are showing record levels of interest in the destination with registration for an upcoming trade visit to Australia sold out. A total of 150 travel agents from the United States and Canada will participate in the Corroboree Thrive!: The Americas 2009, organized by Tourism Australia in partnership with the South Australian Tourism Commission. The event will be held in Adelaide September11 – 14 with more than 100 Australian tourism suppliers participating.
Tourism Australia’s Executive Chairman Rick Allert said the high level of interest in Australia from the American agents was testimony to their confidence in selling Australia in the tough economic environment. “Travel agents across North America, including our Aussie Specialists, have been hit hard by the global financial crisis,” he said. “However, the availability of more affordable airfares to Australia and the increased activity by our industry partners to get compelling offers into the North American market have made Australia a very attractive destination to sell. Our Aussie Specialists, who have chosen to specialize as sellers of Australian holidays, know that the opportunity to travel to Australia to learn about our tourism experiences is important in effectively selling the destination, particularly in the current economic climate.”
Each year, Tourism Australia invites qualified Aussie Specialist retail agents to attend Corroboree, an event providing face-to-face training and product updates with Australia’s finest tourism operators. Corroboree also includes workshops on the latest sales and marketing techniques and seminars that will focus on how agents and industry can generate new business by identifying and targeting clients with strong potential to travel to Australia in the next 12 months.
Also joining the travel agents are 20 industry partners, including Platinum Sponsors Qantas Airways, V Australia and Swain Tours as well as all seven state and territory tourism offices and key North American wholesale partners.
Allert said North America was an important market for Australia, delivering around 570,000 visitors to Australia in the past year. “Despite global economic factors impacting on international travel worldwide, travel from North America to Australia has only posted slight declines in the past year,” he said. “Travel from the U.S. to Australia is performing better than travel out of Canada; however we do know that there continues to be strong interest amongst young Canadians in visiting Australia. Our relationship with the trade and travel agents in particular is vital to ensuring that Australia continues to attract strong visitation from North America, especially as economic conditions start to improve and competition between destinations is likely to escalate further.”
The Aussie Specialist Program was created by Tourism Australia to build and develop a network of retail agency specialists to sell Australian holidays. The program is active in most of Tourism Australia’s key international markets, with the program focusing on honing agents’ product knowledge combined with first-hand destination experience.