Touism Australia’s 38th annual business-to-business event for building future tourism opportunities for Australia – the 2017 Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE17) – kicked off in Sydney yesterday, bringing together more than 2,500 travel industry delegates from more than 30 countries, making it the biggest ATE event in nearly a decade.

The event will see more than 700 travel wholesalers and retailers (buyers) from 548 companies from Asia-Pacific, the Americas, Continental Europe and the United Kingdom meet and do business with 555 Australian tourism businesses.

Tourism Australia Managing Director John O’Sullivan said it was a great time to be hosting ATE in Sydney.

“The economic impact of ATE is significant and will directly help to bolster Australia’s inbound tourism sector, which is already experiencing record growth in international visitor numbers as they exceed more than 8 million in 2016 and $39 billion in visitor expenditure,” Mr O’Sullivan said

“As many as 50,000 business appointments are held during ATE, providing an invaluable opportunity for Australian tourism businesses to connect with key international travel wholesalers and retailers responsible for putting Australian holidays in the hands of consumers in our key overseas markets.

“The connections made at ATE help deliver around three million visitors each year, spending up to $8.5 billion whilst they are here, thereby helping to further grow our visitor economy.

“This year’s ATE is particularly timely as it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Tourism Australia’s predecessor, the Australian Tourist Commission – the Australian government’s first agency solely dedicated to marketing Australia to the rest of the world.

“Holding ATE at the newly opened $1.5 billion ICC Sydney is also timely as it is one of many new infrastructure developments that is encouraging unprecedented investment in the city’s hotel sector – further bolstering Sydney’s and Australia’s credentials as a world-class tourism destination,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

The immediate economic benefits of hosting ATE in Sydney include an immediate injection of $10 million in to the local economy during the week of the event. In the 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.

The Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) is being held through to 18 May 2017 at the ICC Sydney.