ATE celebrates record attendee numbers in Melbourne 

ATE celebrates record attendee numbers in Melbourne 

Australia Tourism Exchange (ATE), Australia’s premier tourism event, saw a record number of attendees descend on host city Melbourne this week, as the country looks set to reach pre-pandemic arrival figures by the end of the year.

Speaking at the 44th event, Phillipa Harrison, Managing Director at Tourism Australia (TA), emphasised the importance of aviation in the industry’s growth, particularly with new routes and increased connectivity within key markets.

From Europe, Turkish Airlines launched a direct route from Istanbul to Melbourne earlier this year, its first destination in Australia. It operates three weekly flights to Melbourne, and is the only European airline to serve the city.

The inaugural Perth-Paris route will kick off in July this year, just before the Paris Olympics, and Emirates will also return to Adelaide with flights from Dubai with direct daily flights from October 28.

Delegates were also told of new domestic routes that have come to market, which Harrison said was “important because most people who visit Australia don’t visit one state they visit several states, so more connectivity around our country is important in moving and dispersing our international travellers.”

Virgin Australia is to operate two new direct flights to Uluru from June 6, operating from Melbourne and Brisbane. Qantas will begin flying to Perth from July 12; Emirates to Adelaide from October 28.

And the country is experiencing a demand for cruise and self-drive travel. “We’ve seen a boom in cruising and people discovering our coastline and beyond, said Harrison.

“We’re also seeing a lot more people self-driving. We have some amazing epic drives that we’re going to start talking a little bit more about on a on an international stage.”

Sports tourism is a key focus for the tourist board in the run up to the Brisbane Olympics in 2032, with the ‘Decade of Green and Gold’ in full swing to promote the event.

“We have an incredible range of national events in the lead-up to the Olympics in southeast Queensland and Brisbane over the next eight years,” said Harrison. “It was a big moment when we had the Sydney 2000 Olympics and we are very excited to be hosting again in 2032 and really making the most of this opportunity.”

Targeting  high-yielding travellers continues to be a key focus for 2024 and beyond, which Harrison said “doesn’t necessarily mean high net worth individuals, it means travellers who want to disperse around Australia and take a deep dive into the country’s cultural offering”.

TA’s recent working holidaymaker campaign, Work and Play the Aussie Way, which refunded the temporary visa application charge (A$495) to encourage long-stay travellers, is one example of this.

Showcasing the country’s Indigenous offering is also s priority, particularly building on premium Indigenous tourism product. 

“We’ve always been a premium destination,” said Harrison. “But we do premium a little bit different here in Australia. It’s really about a sense of place, and a unique and rare connection with our beautiful landscapes and people.

“We have the longest continuous living culture on earth,” she said.

“We have so many more Indigenous people in our industry telling their story on their country.”

ATE will return next year with Brisbane, Queensland, the host city. 


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