PACIFIC tourism players must learn from the experience of large events like the Australian Tourism Exchange.
And regional visitor arrivals can increase significantly with strategic marketing of the Pacific and alliances with global partners.
South Pacific Tourism Organisation Acting CEO, Alisi Lutu, said many valuable lessons had been learned at the Australian Tourism Exchange on the Gold Coast.
“The Australian exchange has been running for 37 years while the South Pacific has only been operating for three so there’s much we can learn and build on,” Lutu said.
“They have built valuable partnerships with airlines and operators – something which we can obviously try to duplicate in order to build an attractive, vibrant event for the Pacific.”
More than 60 buyers from around the world will attend the South Pacific Tourism Exchange which opens for registration at Sea World Resort on the Gold Coast today (Thursday).
Around 74 sellers – airlines, resorts and tour companies – from the Pacific will market their products over the two-day exhibition sponsored by Bank South Pacific.
This is the third SPTE to be held in Australia and New Zealand to capitalise on similar events which attract global attention – especially Europe, Asia and the Americas.
“We’ve found last year in Melbourne and the year before in Auckland that the SPTE can pull valuable potential buyers from the Australian and New Zealand exchanges,” Lutu said.
“Because they are already in the region attending a similar event they don’t mind staying on another day to look at the options the South Pacific has to offer as a travel destination.
“It makes good sense for our operators to capitalise on these events which draw more than 500 buyers from crucial markets.”
Tourism exchanges typically draw a large number of travel writers who promote destinations through magazines, newspaper columns and television shows.
Meanwhile the Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Samoa have arranged roadshows in Australia before or after the SPTE, focussing on Brisbane and Sydney.
Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau CEO, Josefa Tuamoto, said Australia remained a key market.
“Most of our visitors are from Australia and our national airline flies into Brisbane and Sydney so we want to tap into these markets,” Tuamoto said.
“We’ve timed the roadshow so that the Solomons can maximise the time we spend out of the country not only with specific targeted venues but also at bigger events like the SPTE.”