By JAMES WILKINSON AT AYERS ROCK RESORT
China is set to be the number one international source of guests for Voyages’ Ayers Rock Resort within three years as travellers from the world’s leading emerging market continue to descend on Australia’s red centre.
Speaking exclusively to HM at Ayers Rock Resort this week (Aug 21), Voyages Indigenous Tourism’s Executive General Manager of Sales, Marketing and Distribution, Ray Stone, said Tourism Australia’s recent extensive marketing efforts in China were having a strong effect on business.
“China is going up leaps and bounds and it will be our biggest international market in another year or two,” he said. “Tourism Australia’s activity in China is really showing dividends.
Stone said China was one of several international markets currently performing well for the Northern Territory property, alongside North America, Japan and Italy.
“North America is up and Japan is coming back strong,” he said. “The Italian market is also coming back and forward bookings out of Europe are looking quite good [for the remainder of 2012 and into 2013].”
Stone said international markets now accounted for 47 per cent of Ayers Rock Resort’s business, with the remainder coming domestically.
He also said the average length of stay on the property at present was 2.2 nights and business across the board was solid.
“We have very strong business on the books for next year ,” he said.
Voyages is looking at an October completion for the new Uluru Meeting Place events centre, one that’s expected to be popular for weddings, and the extensive refurbishment of the Sails in the Desert Hotel – including rooms and general areas, as well as the introduction of new restaurants, bars and an art gallery, all at the hands of fitout specialists ISIS – which has come at a cost of AUD$30 million.
Further boosting its leisure market growth are the activity program enhancements, including the introduction of a range of free Indigenous guest experiences, as well as a well-priced $38 per person (and free for accompanying children under 15) star gazing adventure called Outback Sky Journeys.