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 July 14, 2014
Cairns, Australia Polls 'Near Perfect' Scores For Hosting of ATE14

 This year's Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE14) - held for the first time ever in Cairns - has been hailed an 'outstanding success' by organisers Tourism Australia and Tourism and Events Queensland, after receiving almost perfect feedback in a survey of the 1,800 international buyers and Australian sellers delegates who attended the event.

Overall satisfaction reached a record high this year with 100% of the Buyers and 99% of Sellers who responded to the survey expressing their satisfaction with the event.

A number of factors were highlighted by the 1,800 delegates as having contributed to the unprecedented success of ATE14:

- The welcome by the city of Cairns and enthusiastic support of the local community, which far exceeded expectations of delegates, who were able to see and appreciate the enormous importance of the event for the region;
- The casual, laid back atmosphere, helping to create an environment conducive to doing business;
- Flawless planning and execution of the event itself;
- The 'Queensland Welcome' and 'Farewell' functions were both singled out for special praise, with the 'Restaurant Australia-themed gala Farewell function in particular providing a unique opportunity to showcase Australia's amazing food and wine offering on a truly global stage.

Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O'Sullivan, said hosting the event in Cairns had presented several logistical challenges but had been extremely satisfying to deliver.

"ATE14 was certainly a challenging event. This year was the first time the event had ever been held in a regional destination in its 35 year history, which meant a lot of additional planning to deliver the business essence of ATE in a smaller destination with a relaxed look and feel.

"One of the great benefits of a regional destination was Cairns really rolled out the red carpet. From the airport to the exhibition venue, hotels, restaurants and surrounding sights and attractions, the people of Cairns were all aware and interested in the event and delegates.

"This warm welcome -- along with a lot of hard work from teams at Tourism Australia, Tourism and Events Queensland, Tourism Tropical North Queensland and key airline partners Virgin Australia, Etihad Airways -- resulted in fantastic feedback for what many are calling "the best ATE ever".

Queensland Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Jann Stuckey said the results of the delegate survey confirmed ATE14 as the most successful in the event's 35 year history.

"The result is testament to the tourism industry and Cairns community who are to be congratulated for their extraordinary efforts, support and enthusiasm towards staging this important world-class event, " Ms Stuckey said. "ATE14 personifies our DestinationQ partnership approach and has demonstrated that by working together we can put Queensland front of mind as Australia's premier tourism destination. "

Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Leanne Coddington said Queensland embraced the opportunity to host ATE14 and showcase one of the state's premier regional tourism destinations.

"Together we opened the destination's doors to the global tourism industry welcomed delegates beyond expectation and provided a true taste of Queensland hospitality which was well received, " Ms Coddington said.

"The record satisfaction rate amongst delegates has set a high benchmark for future exchanges and demonstrated what can be achieved when a collaborative and innovative approach is adopted by industry. "

Mr O'Sullivan said the survey results provided invaluable learnings for Tourism Australia and would help in the organising of next year's ATE, being held in Melbourne.

"Out of the biggest challenges for us in Cairns was space, which resulted in a decision to standardise the size and design of the exhibition booths. In our survey findings, 90% of Sellers told us they want this standardisation of booths to continue so that's what we'll be doing for ATE15 in Melbourne, " he said.

Mr O' Sullivan said this one piece of valuable feedback alone would save the industry over $2m in costs associated with building custom designed exhibition space.

ATE15 will be held in Melbourne from 21 -- 25 June at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Organized by Tourism Australia in conjunction with Tourism and Events Queensland, Tourism Tropical North Queensland, and airline partners Virgin Australia and Etihad Airways, ATE14 brought together 1,200 Australian delegates from 429 Australian tourism businesses to meet with 600 key buyer delegates from 36 countries to meet in up to 50,000 business appointments over five days.