|May 31, 2000|
Australia To Drive New Tourist Market Development In Asia
|Australia will look to develop new tourist sectors in Asia following a return to growth from key Asian markets, Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) Deputy Managing Director, Bill Calderwood said today.|
Speaking at the ATC's flagship trade show, Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE), Mr Calderwood said the Asian markets had recovered well after two years of economic difficulties and it was now important to develop new tourist markets in Asia.
"Visitor arrivals from Asia grew by 11.5 per cent in 1999 and are expected to grow by a further 13.4 per cent this year to around 1.3 million visitors," he said. "Forecasts for the next five years are also strong with visitor arrivals to reach over 2.5 million by 2005."
"Exceptional growth was experienced from key Asian markets in 1999 including Singapore (up 8 per cent to 266,966 visitors), Malaysia (up 24.7 per cent to139,793 visitors) and Thailand (up 25.9 per cent to 61,849 visitors).
"The meetings and incentive sector is one key tourist market which Australia will look to further develop in Asia," he said. "Australia is well positioned to maximise incentive travel opportunities from Asia given our close proximity and competitive pricing."
Mr Calderwood said the Asian economic downturn had provided the ATC with an opportunity to re-evaluate the Asian markets, to undertake extensive research and to adopt a new, revamped approach to our activities.
"Australia's popularity as a tourist destination has not diminished, however shifts have occurred in the markets' travel trade," Mr Calderwood said.
"In particular the maturity of the Asian markets and their depth of understanding of Australia is allowing us to work toward creating a stronger profile for States and Territories in the market by developing brands for them which work under the broader Brand Australia.
ATC Regional Director for Asia, Richard Beere said it was evident from research that we needed to add new dimensions to Australia's image in Asia and to do this we need to offer more, new and better targeted tourism products.
"The importance of this is confirmed given that many Asian tourists to Australia are repeat visitors," he said. "For instance, 74 per cent of Singaporean tourists; 64 per cent of Malaysian and 57 per cent of Thais visiting Australia during 1999 were on their second, third or fourth trip.
"This approach will offer consumers a broader range of more specifically targeted products, thereby increasing our chances of involving them in greater number of activities across more regions."
Mr Beere said the Approved Destination Status (ADS) agreement with China, was proving to be a success with visitor arrivals rising by 21 per cent during 1999 and the latest monthly data indicates a 44.6 per cent increase in arrivals in February 2000.
"Growth from China during 1999 exceeded the official forecast of 92,000 by almost 6,000 and indications so far this year, driven by strong Chinese New Year traffic, point to a continuation of this positive trend," Mr Beere said.
Mr Beere said opportunities also existed in growing India and Philippines markets with both recording double-digit growth in 1999.
"Australia attracted almost 34,000 visitors from India in 1999, up 14.4 per cent compared to the previous year," he said. "The new visa issuance office in Mumbai and the daily direct Qantas flights between Mumbai and Sydney combined with the ATC's marketing activities should result in further growth from this important emerging market."
Visitor arrivals from the Philippines was up by 13.8 per cent compared to 1998 to 40,278.
Mr Beere said Taiwan, Indonesia and Hong Kong had experienced marginal declines during 1999, however these markets were forecast to return to growth in 2000.