Rituparna Chatterjee – Mumbai
Tourism Australia is looking at further consolidating and building upon their Aussie specialist programme by introducing three new modules by next year. The Aussie specialist programme which is an online course for travel agents, aims at equipping them with adequate knowledge and skill to sell Australia to their clients. Currently the programme has 19 modules and will increase to 22 with the inclusion of three more modules. The three modules will be – food and wine, luxury lodges and the ‘Great Walks of Australia’ – a new product that is being launched through the module. These three modules will be for the existing Aussie specialist agents. At present, the programme has 815 Aussie specialist agents with 2200 travel agents yet to complete the programme.
Tourism Australia is also aggressively promoting Australia through associations with travel agents and airline companies. Elaborating on this, Nishant Kashikar, manager – India for Tourism Australia stated, “We are building consumer demand and creating attractiveness and awareness for the destination by associating with 20-30 television channels and continuing our association with Masterchef. Our partnership with airlines including Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Air India will be wrapped up to launch package fares. Air India will be starting their direct flights to Australia, and Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines will increase their capacity to Australia. ‘Dream Time’, a flagship trade event of Tourism Australia is being held in December this year. We are having co-operative campaigns with travel agents like Kuoni India, Mercury Travels, Kesari Tours and Kulin Kumar Holidays. We are also trying to work with other online partners like Make MyTrip.com, Yatra.com and TUI Travel PLC.”
Till June 2013, 166,000 tourists came into Australia, which was a four per cent increase from 159,400 tourists in December 2012. “Despite the economic slowdown, the leisure arrivals was up by 15 per cent and then spent was up by 16 per cent since there were more direct flights and the Australian dollar was also relatively stable as compared to other foreign currencies,” Kashikar explained. Through these promotional activities, Tourism Australia is looking at welcoming 175,000 tourists by this year end, which would be an expected nine per cent increase from previous year.