Tourism Australia Managing Director, Andrew McEvoy and ATEC Managing Director, Felicia Mariani, today congratulated Sydney on becoming the host city for next year’s World Youth & Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) which will bring the international youth tourism industry right to the door of Australian suppliers.
“This conference will give our industry suppliers, and particularly those targeted towards the youth market, great exposure in the international marketplace,” ATEC Managing Director, Felicia Mariani said.
“As the major global youth and student education and travel event, WYSTC will provide our smaller operators with the capacity to engage with distributors they might not normally have access to, particularly for those who can’t afford to travel to this annual global conference.
“The event will bring distributors from over 80 countries to Sydney where our suppliers will have front row access to the international businesses that can deliver them the customers they need.”
Ms Mariani said WYSTC 2013 would be a timely opportunity for the Australian youth sector to propel itself further into the international market.
“The Australian youth and education travel sector has been struggling, particularly following the GFC, and this will be a great opportunity for our product to re-engage with the international distributors who will help to sell their product as the market strengthens.
Mr McEvoy said that, despite recent challenges, the youth segment remained an important part of Australia’s visitor mix, representing just under a third of total international arrivals in 2011.
“While we have seen some growth in the youth sector over the past few years - with young people looking to escape the difficult economic situations, particularly in Europe - these visitors have significantly changed the way they travel and now are more likely to stay in major cities and work rather than travel around Australia engaging with tourism product.
“We must strengthen the message that Australia is a wonderful destination full of unique experiences, adventure and a place to explore fully and WYSTC will help sell that message and overcome some of the declining engagement amongst youth travellers with regional Australia.”
In February this year, ATEC submitted a proposal to the Federal Government, calling for changes to the Working Holiday Visa (417) which would encourage more young people into regional Australia.
“ATEC wants to see the extension of the ‘regional’ classification under the visa extended to the tourism industry -allowing WHV holders to extend their visa by 12 months after completing 88 days of work in a regional industry.
“Our analysis shows this policy change has the potential to increase our annual GDP by over $85 million by driving young travellers to work in and experience tourism offerings in regional Australia. These changes will not only help alleviate some of the labour pressures on regional tourism businesses but will promote engagement with regional tourism product.”
ATEC and Tourism Australia both paid tribute to the work and efforts made by Business Events Sydney in securing the prestigious event for Sydney and Australia.
WYSTC will be held in Sydney, September 2013.