Tourism Australia has been working hard to ‘keep the dream alive’ and ensure the destination is at the forefront of people’s minds for the much-anticipated long-haul tourism restart. The organisation’s Partnerships and Distribution Manager for UK and Northern Europe Pete Mills reveals plans for a relaunched Aussie Specialist Programme, educationals and roadshows .
What exciting things have you got coming up?
We’re working on a new version of the Aussie Specialist Programme that will be launched in mid-2021, with a fresh, more intuitive interface and updated modules with revamped content based on agent feedback. We’re also about to restart our industry webinar series that we launched during the first lockdown and ran until Christmas. The new series, Australian Stories, will feature Aussie characters with compelling tales around the subjects of nature and wildlife, sustainability and Aboriginal experiences, among others.
Where can agents keep up-to-date on new products or launches?
They can download The Hot List from our Tourism Australia corporate website, which is updated monthly, or go to our Trade Resources Hub (link at bottom of article). They’re both great resources for keeping updated on new product and operators.
How many Aussie Specialists do you have in the UK?
Our Aussie Specialist agents are our backbone of support for selling Australia as a holiday destination to the UK consumer and we currently have over 1,200 fully qualified and more than 70 Premier Aussie Specialists whose exemplary destination knowledge earns them this top tier status.
With the relaunch of the Aussie Specialist Programme mid-year, our expectation is that agents will want to engage further with us whilst attracting a whole new cache of frontliners keen to expand their destination knowledge.
How do agents become an Aussie Specialist and what are the benefits?
Agents must complete five training modules: three core modules and two additional ones.
The Aussie Specialist Programme helps frontline agents sell Australia more effectively and increase the number and value to their Australian bookings.
Benefits include industry recognition as specialist, promotion as an Aussie expert, industry deals for personal trips and additional training modules.
How has Tourism Australia adapted in the past year or so?
We’ve maintained engagement with partners and provided additional agent training and webinar opportunities, through the Aussie Specialist Programme and with our partners. We took our major event, Australia Marketplace – UK & Europe, online at the end of last year, facilitating more than 8,500 appointments between buyers, sellers and media over three days. Our online Industry Updates have kept trade partners in the UK connected.
From a marketing perspective, our strategy has been to keep the dream of travel to Australia alive in the minds of the British public. This has included media partnerships, always-on content marketing and inspirational social content. This in turn supports our trade partners by keeping Australia front of mind with travellers so that they’re ready to plan and book when the time comes.
What’s your plan for fam trips and roadshows?
We will definitely restart these once international travel restrictions between the UK and Australia permit. We’ll also be hosting trade partners again at our annual Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) event and on our bi-annual mega fam, Corroboree. Though technology has allowed us to do so much the past year, it has also highlighted that some experiences really do need to be had first-hand, so inviting our partners to experience Australia for themselves will be a key priority.
How will agents be able to sell Australia in the ‘new normal’?
Australia offers a lot of wide-open space with the ability to really get off the beaten track and enjoy true isolation.
Australia has always been known as a friendly and welcoming place but its handling of the Covid crisis also reiterates that it’s a safe destination with world-class healthcare available.
With travellers wanting to travel less frequently but for longer, Australia is an ideal destination. You can easily travel between cities or regions by car or by air. You can also cross the country on iconic train journeys such as The Ghan and The Indian Pacific. It’s a great destination for slow travel.
Travellers also want to be more considered in how they travel and really immerse themselves in a destination and Australia offers ways to meet with farmers, growers, distillers, vintners and many more in all parts of the country.
As the home of the oldest living culture on earth, no trip to Australia is complete without learning about and experiencing its Aboriginal culture. Trade initiatives, such as our Discover Aboriginal Experiences programme, are a great way to help customers experience this first-hand and meet with an Indigenous guide to explore sites of historical significance right in the heart of Australian cities, not just in the outback.
And see also: Trade Resources Hub