3 December 2014
More than 200 leading travel agents from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan - all ‘Aussie Specialists’ with experience in selling Australian holidays - will visit the Whitsundays next year as part of Tourism Australia's annual Corroboree Greater China event.
The event will be hosted on Hamilton Island from 12 to 15 May 2015 and will involve a three-day workshop, followed by a day exploring the Great Barrier Reef and tourism attractions of the Whitsundays. The agents will then spend five days on familiarisation visits, between them visiting every state and territory.
Tourism Australia Managing Director John O'Sullivan said that the majority of international travel out of China was still booked through travel agencies and that the event was therefore a key part of its strategy to attract more independent, higher spending Asian visitors.
"Free and independent travel out of this region is growing strongly and to tap into this market it’s critical that we are working with agents who are familiar with what our country has to offer and are trained how best to put together and sell high quality holiday packages," Mr O'Sullivan said.
Mr O’Sullivan said that Corroboree Greater China offered Australian tourism operators a fantastic opportunity to meet face-to-face with ‘Aussie Specialist’ travel agents from one of Australia’s most important regions.
"These agents are all frontline retail travel agents, already actively selling Australia as a preferred long-haul destination to Chinese travellers. This event provides a professional forum for our industry to train these agents and further strengthen their product knowledge," Mr O’Sullivan said.
Tourism Australia recently appointed an elite group of 31 China-based travel agencies and distribution partners to spearhead a new distribution network focused on selling high quality Australian holiday packages to China’s rapidly growing middle classes. Each partner will have a number of their front-line ‘Aussie Specialist’ agents attending the event.
Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) Chief Executive Leanne Coddington welcomed the return of Corroboree Greater China to Queensland in 2015.
"Corroboree Greater China 2015 is a fantastic opportunity for tourism businesses to engage with travel agents from Queensland’s largest international market by visitor expenditure," said Ms Coddington.
"With a presence in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, TEQ is continually looking for opportunities to promote Queensland as a premier leisure destination to the Chinese visitor and we are proud to support Corroboree in 2015.
“In addition, TEQ will lead a trade mission to Wuhan and Guangzhou in March 2015, enabling Queensland tourism businesses to connect with travel wholesalers, retail agents, and airline and media representatives in the Greater China region,” Ms Coddington said.
Whitsundays Marketing and Development Limited (WMDL) Executive Director Jeff Aquilina said, "Corroboree Greater China presents a significant opportunity for the Whitsundays to showcase the exceptional tourism experiences on offer throughout the region to leading travel agents from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
"The Whitsundays is renowned for its 74 island wonders, offering iconic landscapes in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef surrounded by rainforest and a vibrant coastal atmosphere. Visiting delegates will be spoilt for choice when exploring the Whitsundays," Mr Aquilina said.
Hamilton Island CEO Glenn Bourke said, "The Chinese market is increasingly important to our business and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to host Corroboree Greater China and showcase the best our region has to offer".
The 2015 Corroboree Greater China event is being organised by Tourism Australia, Hamilton Island and WMDL, with support from the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland.
It represents one of the largest annual international trade events staged in Australia and, all up, will see in excess of 400 people attending, including Greater China’s top travel agents, Australian tourism operators and media.
There were 1.1 million visitors to Australia from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan during the 12 months ending September 2014, an increase of 11 per cent compared to the same period in 2013.
Together, these visitors generated A$7 billion in total expenditure in the 12 months ending September 2014, up 15 per cent.