New research to help Australian tourism reach its potential

New research to help Australian tourism reach its potential

A major international tourism research project into how global consumers view Australia and what most motivates them to visit has been unveiled by Tourism Australia, identifying the barriers and ‘triggers’ to travel to our country.

Most markets have high expectations of Australia and, for those consumers that do visit, Australia delivers strongly with the destination’s biggest strengths identified as its world class beauty, safe environment and welcoming people.

Major findings from the Australia Consumer Demand Research, carried out in eleven of Australia’s key tourism markets, include:

Australia’s biggest strength is its world class nature, well regarded from all markets and core to our global tourism offering;
The greatest drivers of international visitor demand to Australia are coastal (including beaches), aquatic and wildlife experiences, with Tropical North Queensland, Sydney and the Gold Coast continuing to rank highest for uniqueness and appeal;
Australia rates No.1 for safety amongst those who have visited – people’s actual experiences scoring much higher than the perception of those who haven’t, particularly from India and lesser extent Indonesia and South Korea;
Perceptions of Australia’s food and wine offering are mixed across markets, although rankings are very high amongst those who have visited and sampled, presenting significant future international marketing opportunities;
Aspiration and intention to visit is very high across the board, however awareness of experiences within Australia and converting interest into actual visits for leisure or holiday travel is lower.

The original research, commissioned by Tourism Australia and conducted by leading marketing research consultancy BDA Marketing Planning, was released at the annual Australian Tourism Directions Conference at Parliament House, Canberra.

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In releasing the findings, Tourism Australia plans to further evolve its future marketing and identify opportunities to make the country’s tourism offering more attractive to overseas visitors.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy said the findings would contribute towards the industry achieving its Tourism 2020 goal - to increase tourism spending by up to $140bn by the end of the decade – by improving understanding of consumers in Australia’s primary tourism export markets.

“By better understanding what motivates consumers in our key target markets, we’re clearly in a much better position to craft our message to convert awareness of our country into visits. It also gives Australian tourism operators valuable insights into how to adapt and develop their business to best attract new visitors,” Mr McEvoy said.

“We already know Australia has a rich array of unique and distinctive attractions and experiences to offer our visitors, but we need to keep our finger on the pulse of changing consumer preferences and expectations, particularly from Asian markets which are growing rapidly and undergoing significant demographic changes.

“Destination marketing is not a one size fits all discipline and what this new research helps us to do is fine-tune how we promote Australia in different markets. Demand triggers for holidaying in Australia vary market by market, and this work now helps us prioritise future marketing activities and spending.

“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 Tourism Australia is most aggressively going after.

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

“There’s also a disconnect in some markets around perceptions of Australia’s safety and friendliness against the reality - another area we can do more to get our warm and welcoming message across,” Mr McEvoy said.

Tourism Australia’s global consumer approach to accelerate Australian tourism was this week referenced within the release of the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper.

The Tourism Australia Consumer Demand Research was carried out in China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, the UK and USA.

Respondents completed an online questionnaire and were canvassed on a range of different Australian holiday options including Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmania, Gold Coast, Tropical North Queensland, Byron Bay, Red Centre, Kakadu, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Margaret River and Broome and the Kimberley.

Tourism Australia commissioned BDA Marketing Planning in 2010 to work on a major strategic project which was the forerunner to the industry’s Tourism 2020 strategy. BDA Marketing Planning is based in Melbourne.

Mr McEvoy said that the aim of the follow-up research project was to help determine the strategic priorities to achieve the Tourism 2020 goal, by providing a comprehensive assessment of Australia’s current destination appeal and the future tourism potential of key Australian holiday options.