Brisbane-Australian Tourism Exchange 2007 opened in Brisbane on May 24 and the buzz on the show floor and at
press briefings was about the importance of marketing Australia to emerging markets such as China, India
There also was concern expressed over the dip in Japanese arrivals, primarily
due to the yen's poor performance against the Australian dollar.
The seven-day event attracted approximately 1,700 Australian
delegates from 630 companies, who met with 600 overseas buyers from more than
40 countries. Monday, May 28 saw the official launch of the revamped web site
While hotels and deals are listed on the web site, actual
booking occurs off site, but links are provided to "Aussie
Specialists." "Agents will use the site as well," said Geoff
Buckley, managing director of Tourism Australia. "The site is meant
to encourage consumers to buy--but they'll choose the distribution
channel." In 2006, 58 percent of international Australian-bound tourists
used the Internet to research travel, up from 22 percent in 2003.
Travel Agent sat down with Buckley, who acknowledged that
the U.S. also is a core
market for Australia.
"It's one of our top five markets in terms of numbers and yield,"
said Buckley. He explained that although arrivals from the U.S. grew three percent in 2006, the U.S. market saw
40 percent growth in visitor nights and 15 percent growth in yield and dollars
When asked about the goals for the revamped Tourism
Australia web site, Buckley replied that Tourism Australia is working with
wholesalers to not only put product up on the site, but to also communicate the
Australian travel experience. Even though the most visible part of the
country's tourism marketing is directed at "experience
seekers"-visitors who want to connect with Australia's indigenous culture,
nature, food and wine and other experiential aspects of travel-Buckley also
stressed the importance of the traditional motor coach segment. Mixing
metaphors a bit, Buckley noted: "There are two streams, but we have to
make sure we don't take our foot off the accelerator of them both."
Buckley also predicted an expansion of Australia's
tourism when new planes and routes begin to come online in 2008. Recently,
Qantas Airways announced an expanded international schedule that includes two
Angeles flights each week; as well as an additional Sydney-Los
Angeles service each week. These flights will commence
in March 2008. When the two extra Brisbane flights
begin, Qantas will have upped its flights to daily service between Brisbane and Los