Tourism Australia is ready to turn its attention to South-east Asia in its next campaign period as it waits for the Covid-19 situation to improve.
Speaking on the sidelines at AIME 2020, Tourism Australia chief, Phillipa Harrison, told TTGmice that Singapore and Malaysia have been identified as key markets, with Indonesia also in the mix.
“I don’t think there is any making up for the downturn in China closing for business,” said Harrison. “But we’re doubling down on our markets and looking at other markets while China is temporarily closed”.
It’s believed about 40 hosted buyers from China were forced to cancel AIME 2020 plans due to the Covid-19 travel bans. But attendance numbers for AIME are healthy, with some 2,500 suppliers and event planners registered to attend the three-day programme.
Earlier, Harrison addressed the media at AIME’s launch, outlining the challenging task ahead for the recovery of Australia’s tourism industry after successive setbacks due to the devastating bushfire season and Covid-19 outbreak.
The Australian government has pledged A$76 million (US$50.9 million) for tourism recovery, A$61 million of which will go to Tourism Australia, with a significant portion aimed at encouraging domestic tourism for the first time in eight years.
“This year we are telling people to Event Here This Year. That’s really around capitalising on the overwhelming support that Australians have shown for each other during this time… It doesn’t have to be your main conference, it can be something as small as an offsite,” Harrison elaborated.
She added that there was a prevailing misperception about Australia that needed to be fought: 61 per cent of people in the 15 markets they researched believed inaccurately that more than a quarter of Australia is burnt from the bushfires.
To this end, Tourism Australia will run a six-month campaign to promote “stories of regeneration” as part of an “upscaled, weighted campaign” going out this month and next.
Meanwhile, Harrison revealed that Tourism Australia’s incentive showcase in Perth in December resulted in A$100 million worth of business leads, with seven business events wins valued at A$11 million that were not impacted by the bushfires, reinforcing the value and resilience of the business events sector to Australia.
AIME organisers hope that with Asia-Pacific meetings industry members engaged in networking appointments today and tomorrow, the message will be reinforced that Australia is safe and open for business.