Gold Coast beach

For the first time in its 37 year history, Tourism Australia’s annual business-to-business event for building future tourism opportunities across the nation, Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE), is taking place on the Gold Coast this week and bringing together more than 2,300 travel industry delegates from more than 30 countries.

The event will see more than 840 travel wholesalers and retailers (buyers) from Asia, the Americas, Continental Europe and the United Kingdom meet and do business with 1,500 Australian tourism seller delegates from 532 companies.

Tourism Australia is working with host-state partner, Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ), supported by Gold Coast Tourism (GCT), as well as airline partners Virgin Australia and Etihad Airways to deliver ATE16.

Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O’Sullivan, said hosting the event on the Gold Coast would help to further boost Australia’s inbound tourism sector, already at record levels with international visitor arrivals reaching 7.4 million in 2015 and visitor spend rising 18 per cent to AUD$36.6 billion.

“ATE enables Australian tourism businesses to increase their exposure to the international travel businesses responsible for putting Australian holidays in the hands of consumers in our key overseas markets – helping to grow our inbound travel sector,” O’Sullivan said.

“Australian tourism continues to go from strength to strength and in hosting international travel buyers from around the world at ATE we hope to create further demand for Australia’s tourism experiences including our hotels, restaurants, cafes and visitor attractions.

“Given it’s the first time that ATE has been held on the Gold Coast there is a high level of excitement around the event, with the number of Australian travel businesses participating reaching its highest level in eight years as well as 98 new buyers from nine markets attending for the first time,” he said.

Tourism Australia John O'Sullivan - EDITED HM

As many as 50,000 business appointments are held during ATE, providing ample opportunities for Australian tourism businesses to build new business relationships and consolidate existing partnerships with the international travel trade.

Tourism and Events Queensland Chief Executive, Leanne Coddington, said hosting Australia’s most important tourism trade event in Queensland presented a prime opportunity for the state to showcase its’ unrivalled and diverse offerings.

“Our focus will be showing delegates and the international media our amazing suite of experiences from the Great Barrier Reef, our islands and beaches, natural encounters, outback and adventure, major events and enviable Queensland lifestyle,” she said.

“ATE is a great opportunity to promote these authentic and iconic tourism offerings from across the State, complemented by an exciting events program which showcases the best of the Gold Coast. It is also an opportunity to showcase the 2018 Commonwealth Games to an international audience.”

Speaking about ATE being held on the Gold Coast, the Chief Executive Officer of Gold Coast Tourism Martin Winter said: “We have worked in close partnership with Tourism Australia and Tourism and Events Queensland to ensure ATE delegates leave the Gold Coast with a fantastic impression of our city, Queensland and Australia.

“Our role as host of the event represents a unique opportunity to showcase our evolving city and its diverse offerings and we hope the anticipated positive ripple effect is felt by all our tourism partners,” he said.

The economic benefits of hosting ATE include an immediate injection of $10 million in to the local economy during the week of hosting the event while longer term ATE will assist the Australian tourism industry to reach its Tourism 2020 goal of growing overnight expenditure to more than $115 billion annually by the end of the decade.

“Not only does ATE highlight the diversity of Australia’s tourism product offering it also helps to strengthen our connection with the global travel agents who sell Australian holidays internationally,” O’Sullivan said.

“ATE also gives our international travel agents the opportunity to travel to different parts of the country to experience the destination first-hand and in turn share these experiences with their customers so we can attract more high yielding international visitors from across the globe.”

The Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) is being held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC), with business appointments running for four days through to 19 May 2016.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management