Australian tourism industry moving in right direction

Australian tourism industry moving in right direction

Details of Australia’s biggest ever global youth campaign and new consumer insights - were key highlights of the peak annual Australian Tourism Directions Conference, held at Parliament House, Canberra. Over 300 industry leaders were told that Tourism Australia will build on the work it does with the global youth market as part of a major multimillion dollar international marketing push, including fresh promotion of the Working Holiday Maker Visa program.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy said the Working Holiday Maker Visa Program provided an excellent platform to build a campaign aimed at better marketing and enticing more young people from around the world to visit Australia.

“The youth market contributes more than a quarter of all Australia’s international arrivals and these visitors tend to stay longer and disperse widely. For many young people, the Working Holiday Maker Visa Program provides the economic means to fund travel plans, and this will be the inspiration behind our future new campaign,” Mr McEvoy said.

In the 12 months to June 2012, the youth segment contributed A$11.9 billion to total tourism spending in Australia and delivered nearly 1.6 million visitor arrivals (aged 15-29 years).

Tourism Australia also unveiled, for the first time, the findings of a major international tourism research project into how global consumers view Australia and demand triggers most motivating them to visit.

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The original research, commissioned by Tourism Australia, and carried out by BDA Marketing Planning in 11 of Australia’s key international markets - identifies opportunities to make the Australia’s tourism offering more attractive to overseas visitors - including focusing on the country’s strongest assets - its coastal, aquatic and wildlife experiences - as well as better marketing of the country’s quality food and wine.

“Destination marketing is not one size fits all and what this new research helps us to do is identify our real strengths and fine-tune how we promote Australia in different overseas markets,” Mr McEvoy said.

“The findings suggest we’re already doing a lot right, in terms of where we are prioritising our resources and marketing activities. It’s encouraging, for example, that the highest levels of intention to visit are amongst Chinese and Indians, two of the markets we are most aggressively targeting.

“Equally, the survey has also identified some areas where the industry can step up its game, including better promotion of our high quality food and wine offering, where significant opportunities exist to strengthen what locals already know to be a core strength,” he said.

Australian tourism’s peak annual conference, a partnership between Tourism Australia and the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, was opened by Tourism Minister Hon. Martin Ferguson AM MP and including presentations from leading international and Australian speakers Saul Eslake, Bank of America Merrill Lynch Chief Economist; Dr Leo Jago, Chief Economist of Tourism Research Australia and the leading international tourism figure, Ms Siew Hoon Yiew from Singapore.

Tourism Directions seeks to highlight the opportunities and challenges of Australia’s A$96 billion visitor economy.

Tourism Australia Chairman Geoff Dixon delivered his own upbeat assessment of the industry’s prospects which - thanks to resurgence in domestic tourism and the relentless march of China - he said remained well on track to achieve its Tourism 2020 goals.

“Australia’s tourism industry has made good progress in this past year with international and domestic growth and Tourism Australia has deliberately and significantly accelerated its strategies to pursue growth in Asia. Our organisation however has not stopped marketing to western markets, instead running a strong partnership model to ensure we are out-spending competitor destinations in countries such as the UK, Germany, the United States and Canada.

“Australian tourism has turned a corner and remains well placed to achieve our ambitious industry goal to double annual overnight spending by up to $140 billion by the end of the decade,” Mr Dixon said.

He said Australian tourism was ‘a fast transitioning industry’ with international focus shifting from western to eastern markets, led by China. However Australia remained a highly desired destination and Tourism Australia was committed to retaining a balanced approach to its global marketing.

“Australia is a western developed nation with a clean environment, unsurpassed natural beauty, great food and welcoming people, right on Asia’s doorstep. We are a comfortable nonstop flight away and operate in a compatible time zone.

“There is also a seismic shift from marketing through traditional mediums to digital and social media platforms. It is my view that our industry’s ability to capitalise on this shift will be vital to our future success,” Mr Dixon said.

Mr Dixon said five consecutive quarters of growth had seen Australian domestic visitor expenditure rise nine per cent in the past 12 months. He also spoke of the continued need for the industry to speak and act with ‘one voice’ in its international marketing and for ongoing new investment in the country’s tourism infrastructure.

Tourism is Australia’s largest services export earner and generates $96 billion in annual spending within the Australian economy, supporting almost one million jobs.