Harnessing nature’s beauty to captivate visitors, Australia continues to wow global travellers with its premium tourism product. Natalie Hami reports.
Bouncing kangaroos, cuddly koalas, white sand beaches and rugged wild open spaces may be the first images that spring to mind when thinking about Australia. However, this popular destination’s tourism stakeholders have not only been promoting Australia’s natural assets to potential tourists, but have also been shedding light on the many cultural, MICE, luxury and wellness opportunities on offer.
Shining a spotlight on some of the destination’s unmissable experiences was chief operating officer, Ovolo Hotels Australia, Dave Baswal. “You really can’t miss Australian produce and restaurants; they are some of the best in the world. Obviously, you also have Sydney Harbour, the Great Barrier Reef, South Australia’s wine country and the emerging cultural region of Tasmania. However, I believe one of the biggest experiences most tourists miss out on in Australia is our indigenous tourism. We have some of the most amazing, historical indigenous cultures in the world, which are not to be missed.”
Australia’s continued success as a top tourism destination can be illustrated by Tourism Australia’s latest figures, citing nine million visitor arrivals for the year ending April 2018, a surge of 6.3 per cent compared to the previous year. Leisure arrivals have also continued to drive international arrivals growth, with an increase of 7.4 per cent witnessed over a 12-month period (year ending April 2018).
Reaffirming its commitment to the leisure sector is Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, an award-winning eco-tourism certified wellness retreat and spa found on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
The Retreat’s marketing and public relations director, Tracy Willis told TTG: “We are predominantly leisure-focused, though more companies are seeking wellness solutions for their employees and are sending their staff to visit.”
Meanwhile, located near Freycinet National Park on the east coast of Tasmania, Saffire (Federal Group’s international award-winning luxury coastal sanctuary) is currently focusing on the high-end leisure market, according to marketing administrator, tourism, Federal Group, Susie Cretan.
“As with our three Federal Group Tourism properties, our purpose is to create lifelong memories, through forming strong connections to a place. Guests at Saffire are immersed in an experiential luxury experience, which ensures they enjoy every moment and leave thoroughly relaxed and rejuvenated.”
Leisure sector aside, Australia’s MICE proposition cannot be overlooked, as the destination continues to heavily promote this lucrative tourism niche.
In fact, Sydney has been thrust into the limelight of late, having been named Australia’s number one destination for business events, according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Country and City Rankings.
Business Events Sydney (formally known as Sydney Convention and Visitors Bureau) is behind this success, as the specialist bidding organisation responsible for securing international business events for the city and state.
Moving westwards to Adelaide, director, sales and marketing, Adelaide Convention Bureau, Nic Mercer revealed to TTG that a recent change in the South Australian government has seen the Minister of Tourism also take on the trade and investment portfolio, which, according to him, is of immense benefit to the MICE industry when discussing the legacies of conferences.
The Adelaide Convention Bureau has further enhanced the city’s MICE credentials with its fourth annual Biomed Showcase, with the event coinciding with the opening of the newest building within Adelaide’s Biomed City – the University of South Australia’s Cancer Research Institute.
Biomed City is located directly adjacent to the newly upgraded Adelaide Convention Centre at the western end of the Adelaide Riverbank – a meeting, entertainment, sport and leisure precinct running parallel to North Terrace, which houses hotels providing 3,500 beds.
CEO, Adelaide Convention Bureau, Damien Kitto said: “The Bureau’s focus on Health Sciences events since the announcement of the construction of the Biomed city has paid dividends, with over 40 per cent of all events won by Adelaide fitting this genre.”
FAR FLUNG MARKETS
Spearheaded by Tourism Australia, the Tourism 2020 goal is to achieve more than $85 billion in overnight spend by 2020, while focusing on improving the industry’s performance and competitiveness by pursuing new opportunities for growth. Part of the Tourism 2020 strategy also includes growing demand from Asia, with the continent expected to contribute more than half of the projected growth in international visitation – 42 per cent of the growth is expected to come from China.
TTG spoke to several stakeholders in a bid to discover their most cherished source markets.
General manager, Mount Lofty House, Jesse Kornoff revealed to TTG that the iconic designer boutique hotel, located in the Adelaide Hills wine region, is primarily targeting Europe and the US, along with the MENA region.
“We have employed a Guest Relations Manager to contact all guests prior to arrival [in order to] customise every element of their stay with us, catering to all markets and requirements,” he said, adding that the property aims to provide amazing memories in an iconic heritage manor.
Despite not directly targeting the Middle East region, international sales manager, Tangalooma Island Resort, Chad Croft explained that this particular source market is certainly not ignored. Croft explained that the resort works with Australia-based DMCs to service this region.
“We have made several sales trips to the region in the past, covering Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE. Right now, the major traffic for the resort comes from guests who are already on holiday in Australia and add on an extra night or two at the resort or visit as a day trip while staying on the Gold Coast.”
Croft explained that the Gold Coast is especially popular with the market at this time of the year, post-Ramadan. “To target that particular market [we need] to make sure our brochures are easily available and ticket desks in the Gold Coast region are well-stocked and well-versed with our product,” he added.
Baswal of Ovolo Hotels noted that the MENA market is not a major market but an emerging one. The hotel group is predominantly focused on New Zealand, southeast Asia, north America and western Europe at the moment, with Australia representing its biggest market.
A visitor can want for nothing in this fascinating world ‘down under’. Australia’s stakeholders have managed to successfully break into the most lucrative tourism niches.