Tasmania redirects resources to Asia

TOURISM Tasmania is refocusing its tourism strategy, pulling resources from New Zealand, Japan and the UK to increase its reach into China and South-east Asia.

Speaking to TTG Asia e-Daily at the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE), Troy Grundy, Tourism Tasmania’s distribution operations officer, said that the state government had appointed new representatives in Shanghai in addition to representatives in Singapore and Hong Kong, and would be leading a fact-finding mission to the region in May to explore new markets and tourism opportunities.

Grundy said that six operators would be travelling with government representatives to Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, marking the first of such private-public initiatives.

While the overall number of international tourists visiting Tasmania declined in 2012, there was a 43 per cent jump in visitors from China, contributing to a 40 per cent growth in Asian arrivals in the last five years.

The growth can be somewhat attributed to increased international flights into the gateway of Melbourne and smoother connections to Hobart and Launceston, but Grundy said that state’s natural appeal also played a part.

“We have what Asian visitors want,” he said. “We offer a unique taste of Australia with wildlife, clean air, space, and amazing food and wine.” The state also offers ample opportunities for self-drive holidays, an increasingly popular holiday mode (of travel) among Asian travellers to Australia.

Grundy said the government was investing in new cooperative campaigns. Having worked with companies like Caltex and U Travel to promote self-drive holidays in Asia, it was also looking to partner Tourism Victoria to package the two destinations.

A number of Tasmanian tour operators are already preparing for the predicted rise in Chinese visitors, with more hotels printing brochures in Mandarin and looking at implementing UnionPay facilities, a bankcard association popular in China.

Meanwhile, Tourism Australia has jointly released a new report on five key South-east Asian outbound markets – Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – together with the World Tourism Organization, which is meant to help its tourism industry better cater to these emerging markets.

According to Tourism Australia managing director, Andrew McEvoy, the five countries have the potential to be significant source markets for Australia in the coming years. In 2012, these five countries accounted for US$47 billion in international tourism expenditure, up from US$25 billion in 2006.

The NTO will also ramp up its marketing war chest to nearly A$150 million (US$155 million) this year, with the country’s food and wine experiences playing a more central role in its activities.

*Our original copy stated that Tourism Tasmania had appointed new representatives in Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai last year. We also said that it was investing in new cooperative campaigns with companies like Caltex and U Travel to promote self-drive holidays in Asia and working with Tourism Victoria to package the two destinations. These are incorrect and have been changed.

By Natasha Dragun

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