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 June 01, 2001
Asia To Remain Number One Tourism Market For Australia

 The Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) has launched over 50 advertising campaigns across Asia and increased its web marketing to ensure the region remains Australia's number one tourism market in 2001.

Speaking at the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) in Brisbane today, Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) Regional Director, Asia Mr Richard Beere said varying economic outlooks, changing consumer sentiment, shifting travel patterns and increased competition would make the next six months challenging for the Australian tourism industry.

"The ATC is undertaking a range of initiatives to ensure we increase Australia's share of outbound travel from Asia," he said. "A new advertising campaign focusing on soft adventure activities has been launched in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong along with infomercials in China.

"We have also launched eight new gateways in Asia to our website, australia.com which are tailored to each individual country's needs and are provided in three different languages.

"Additionally, hard conversion campaigns have been rolled out in every market in the region to help drive visitor arrivals to Australia."

Mr Beere said that softening economic conditions across the region could impact on visitor arrivals from Asia over the next six months.

"Consumer confidence is down in some Asian countries which impacts on their propensity to travel overseas," Mr Beere said.

"While Asia will remain Australia's number one tourism region and is expected to deliver more than 1.3 million visitors this year, it is going to be a mixed tourism performance from Asia for the remainder of 2001, with growth from some markets and declines in visitor arrivals from other markets.

"In the first four months of this year (January to April 2001) we have seen an overall growth of 5.9 per cent compared to the same time last year.

"This includes growth from Thailand (up 12.7 per cent to 31,500 visitors) and Indonesia (up 2 per cent to 33,200 visitors) as well as strong growth in visitor arrivals from emerging markets such as China (up 63.5 per cent) and India (up 15 per cent).

"However, visitor arrivals from a number of markets have declined in the four months to April 2001 including Taiwan, (down 19.6 per cent), Philippines (down 15.5 per cent) and Malaysia (down 3.9 per cent).

"Our largest and most competitive market in Asia, Singapore remains stable with around one per cent increase in visitor arrivals in the four months to April 2001."

Mr Beere said another challenge facing the industry was the shift in consumer travel patterns.

"There is a new mix of Asian travellers today," he said. "Asian travellers are not the same as they were five years ago and there is a definite need for the industry to ensure its marketing approach and tourism products meet the new needs of the consumers.

"Changing consumer travel patterns, holiday preferences, the decision making process and technology are all changing the way we interact with consumers. It all adds up to the need to reinvent the way we go about our business."

"However, it is also important to recognise that changes in the Asian traveller are not consistent across the region, and as such Asia must be treated as nine countries, not one region.

"For example, tourists from Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong are increasingly independent travellers moving away from the traditional all inclusive package tour holidays while visitors from China and Taiwan prefer package tours.

Mr Beere said the changing mix in Asian travellers also affects the Asian travel industry.

"Travellers are now seeking more information on Australia and we need to ensure that travel agents across Asia can provide details on our country to their customers and can also help to develop itineraries for their holiday to Australia," he said.

"The ATC's new Aussie Specialist travel agent program provides computer based training for agents which will assist in providing the most up to date and comprehensive information on our country."