Tourism Australia Briefs the Industry on a Successful 2018
Tourism Australia ran a series of informative travel industry briefings around Australia during November 2018. As mentioned in my previous ETB Travelnews article, the number of international arrivals to Australia grew steadily during 2018. Recent briefings revealed India was the fastest growing major source market with 20% growth during 2018.
I attended the Sydney briefing with over 300 travel industry professionals. Phillipa Harrison, Executive General Manager International outlined TA’s strategic approach. Essentially, Tourism Australia targets “high value travellers”. They are committed to long stays, in-depth engagement with Australia and a preparedness to travel widely within the country. It was notable that almost half the AUD$42.5 billion spent by international visitors, came from younger travellers. Many of them were visiting on working holiday visas. Their ability to earn money while visiting enabled them to extend their stay and experience more of Australia than other categories of travellers.
The great challenge for Australian tourism is translating the high level of Australia’s desirability into actual visitation. Tourism Australis’s Chief of Marketing, Lisa Ronson stated that Tourism Australia has enjoyed great success in positioning Australia as a desirable destination. However, Australia’s status as a “high on the bucket list destination” has not always translated into comparable rates of reservations and visitation.
Airline access (especially non-stop flights) makes it easier to visit Australia. The growth of non-stop flights from 17 cities in China, six cities in the US and the introduction of the non-stop Perth London flight have contributed to growth in tourism from China, USA and the UK. However, an increase in non-stop flights betwen key Indian cities and Australia could encourage a surge in arrvals from India.
Tourism Australia has introduced some tailored campaigns to appeal to vistors from North America SE Asia and India. The campaign targeting American visitors focuses on Australia’s unique attractions while those targeting visitors to Singapore and India are focussing on the night life, culinary and cultural attractions of Australia’s main cities.
Dominic Mehling, TA’s Industry Relations manager highlighted the extensive range of marketing, Training and resource support which Tourism Australia is able to offer to travel agencies, and inbound tour operators and wholesalers. Tourism Australia is committed to ensure Australian travel professionals are fully equipped to promote Australia but much of their work is done in primary source market countries. There is much emphasis on enabling selected travel agents from China, Japan, South Korea, USA, SE Asia and India to come and experience Australia.
Tourism Australia has largely met most of its key 2020 strategy tagets. TA is now working on a new ten year plan for Australia. It is hoped that Australia will attract over 15 million tourists per annum by 2030. Tourism Australia has consistently exceeded its marketing targets over the past decade. The high quality of Tourism Australia’s leadership and staff has enabled it to be one of the world’s most effective destination marketing Organisations. Over the past 25 years, the author has worked with many tourism associations involving over 90 national destinations (many of which are far more generously funded than Tourism Australia). Tourism Australia’s edge has been it’s commitment to innovation, stakeholder collaboration and extensive market research. It has also enjoyed extensive support from Australia’s state tourism Boards and the private sector. This support has greatly multiplied its marketing budget.