TTNQ Western Marketing Manager Claudia McFadden and eight TTNQ members attended QoT Europe and UK/Scandinavia, a biennial event organised by Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) to promote the State to Australian specialists, wholesalers and product managers.
Both the Europe event to Zurich, Milan, Kempten, Oberjoch, Nurnberg, and Dusseldorf, and the UK event to Copenhagen and London, were strongly attended by the travel industry and a credit to the TEQ Munich and London teams. The fact that 22 Queensland operators supported the roadshow shows the importance and commitment by these businesses into the UK and Europe.
QoT Europe was an invaluable way for our members to learn more about what the Western markets are seeking in travel, especially with the uncertainties following Brexit and the strengthening of the Australian dollar. The exchange rate in the UK is of concern with some travel packages increasing up to 20 per cent. However, great airfare prices are helping grow numbers from this market and if airfares stay this attractive they may negate the increase in package price.
Despite these uncertainties, Queensland and Australia are still strongly positioned in this market with some wholesalers reporting an increase of up to 50 per cent in bookings to Australia. The great news is Cairns & Great Barrier Reef is on top of nearly every agent’s itinerary in these markets. This underlines the importance of our Western markets, especially considering their substantial length of stay, which agents advise is increasing. The agents welcomed the direct SilkAir connection but said more seats were needed during the high season.
Conversations with the European and UK managers reinforced the strength of the quality experience the region offers and identified the great opportunities in the drive market, boutique out-of-the-way products, new products and adventure experiences. The Great Barrier Reef remains on top of everyone’s list of things to see and do, closely followed by the rainforest and outback. Indigenous experiences involving nature also are sought after. Camper and hire car demand is increasing with the Brisbane to Cairns route a must-do trip. There was great interest in drive content, maps and in-region itineraries with information on hikes, walks, waterfalls, events and local places to eat.
A number of Cairns & Great Barrier Reef products participated in QoT Europe for the first time with the goal of working more in the Western market. Joining TTNQ were:
Elizabeth Webb Coral Expeditions
Susan Crockford The Reef House
Tara Bennett Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree
Sheena Walshaw Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours
Wade Bowen Thala Beach Nature Reserve
Angela Freeman Hartleys Crocodile Adventures / Wildlife TNQ
Jasmine Porteous Castaways Resort & Mission Beach Dive
Claudia received numerous requests from the agents who attended QoT to follow up on product to fit their brochure production and the growing demand for tailor-made itineraries.
A Product Managers’ Weekend was held in the snow at Oberjoch in Southern Germany giving our members an invaluable opportunity to build working relationships with 61 product managers from all over Europe. It was a huge effort by Kai Ostermann, Annette Kegel, Adriana Fischer and Peter Mierzviack from TEQ Munich to organise such a highly successful weekend which included one-on-one workshops with the 22 Queensland suppliers and a Queensland Winter Olympics in the snow.
TTNQ and our members are looking forward to a busy first half of the year building on recent Western market successes and cementing relationships further through Tourism Australia’s Australia Marketplace in the United States and QoT North America in March, and the Australian Tourism Exchange in May.
Alex de Waal
Chief Executive Officer