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TA extends specialist program

NSW; Byron Bay;

Tourism Australia is expanding its Aussie Specialist Program (ASP) to include for the first time Australia-based inbound tour operators (ITOs), in a move aimed at better selling Australia.

Until now, the program has only been available to internationally-based travel sellers in Australia’s key markets, including UK/Europe, North America, Greater China, Japan and Korea, and South/South East Asia.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy said the Aussie Specialist Program was an effective training tool amongst overseas travel agents and now was the time to make the resource available to all Australian-based inbound tour operators.

“The way we distribute and sell Australian tourism product is something we’ve been looking at closely in recent months, to see whether there are areas we can improve,” he said.

“Given its popularity and success with agents and wholesalers overseas, we know the Aussie Specialist Program works and see a real opportunity to extend the resource to inbound tour operators here in Australia,” McEvoy said.

Australian Tourism Export Council Chairman, John King, said the decision to open up the program had been supported by a successful recent pilot study conducted with some of its own ITO members.

“Based on positive feedback from a recent trial that we spearheaded with our own members, we’re confident this training package will be very well received amongst our ITOs, particularly amongst new staff, providing them with the right level of support and training to sell Australia even more effectively,” he said.

All the participants who took part in the ATEC ITO pilot study agreed that the ASP training modules were beneficial and also relevant to their requirements.

Mariana Lovicova, senior travel consultant at ATS Pacific, said the training was fun, informative and educational, and particularly well suited for new starters like herself, who’d been with the company for less than a year.

“The experiences selected were great and I really felt by the end that I’d not only refreshed my existing knowledge but also learned a lot of new things as well,” she said.

The ASP program for ITOs comprises a basic online training tool targeting new starters and consisting of five training modules. Once qualified, new ‘Aussie Specialists’ would be invited to complete additional modules covering content provided by the state and territory tourism organisations as well as luxury, nature, youth, Indigenous and other niche experiences.

People wishing to register on the program should visit www.aussiespecialist.com and select ‘Australia’ under ‘New to the Program’.

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