New and unique Cairns & Great Barrier Reef products were discussed with key travel trade delegates at the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) in Adelaide. The TTNQ team was joined by 60 local operators, while another 16 were part of the national brand exhibits, making the destination the strongest regional contingent at the event. The team conducted 200 trade appointments over four days in the Eastern and Western markets, plus TEQ and TA appointments.
Cairns & Great Barrier Reef is represented on about 85 per cent of all Chinese itineraries. The greatest challenge for these agents will be servicing the free and independent traveller (FIT) market which they expect to grow from 20 per cent to 50 per cent in the next two to three years. Cairns & Great Barrier Reef will benefit from having Contineo on the ground in China to train agents to sell the new products desired by the FIT market. This shift will benefit sports tourism and business events and assist with regional dispersal. There was much interest in self-drive and Port Douglas as a destination. Visitor numbers will decline as the FIT market overtakes groups, however, it will bring higher-yielding visitors who stays four to five nights rather than two.
TTNQ helped organise the ATE Queensland Japan night which attracted nearly every Japanese buyer. Japanese agents are very serious about selling Australia with Nippon Travel Agency aiming to double their visitor numbers by 2020. Indian agents are wanting to sell new experiences and send travellers further afield to Palm Cove and Port Douglas. Korean agents are keen to sell Cairns for next season’s Jin Air charter flights.
TTNQ Western Sales and Marketing Manager Claudia McFadden introduced European representative Julie Rohrbacher to agents in the Germany-speaking markets. The Western markets showed a lot of interest in food tourism, Indigenous culture and dispersing further into the region. The agents are looking for up-to-date information and destination news including photos to incorporate in their itineraries. They are also keen for local knowledge so they can make recommendations for the best places to have a coffee, dinner or to go for a swim.