Tourism Australia has signed a major new partnership with luxury travel network, Virtuoso, in a deal aimed to build greater connection between the international luxury market and Australia’s luxury offering.
Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan and Virtuoso chief executive and chairman, Matthew D. Upchurch launched the partnership at Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas, the luxury travel extravaganza.
The agreement, which includes Destination NSW, the South Australian Tourism Commission, Tourism Northern Territory and Tourism Tasmania, will last through until 2016 and will include a digital and print marketing campaign with a focus on trade engagement and agent training.
“Australia is one of the top destinations for our US market, with an impressive 137 per cent growth in year-on-year bookings from our network of luxury travel agencies across the US. This partnership is a fantastic opportunity to further leverage this demand for both our clients, and the Australian tourism industry,” Upchurch said.
O’Sullivan, who joined Tourism Australia’s LA-based partnership team at Virtuoso Travel Week, said the announcement coincided with the relaunch of the award winning Aussie Specialist Program (ASP) which helps to equip advisors with the knowledge and skills to sell Australia.
“We’ve put a lot of focus in the past 12 months into finding distribution partners which help us better target high yielding international travellers, and nowhere is this more important than the United States,” O’Sullivan said.
“The US now boasts more high net worth individuals than any other market in the world and these discerning travellers are looking for a unique, distinctive and high quality holiday experience, which we know Australia possesses.
“We will be investing additional marketing dollars and increasing resources on the ground, as well as working closely with our Australian state and territory tourism partners to ensure our premium story is told and sold well in the US,” he said.
Australia’s desirability is evidenced in the latest tourism data released last month showing that US visitors have spent close to AUD 2.95 billion, an increase of 14 per cent over the year.
Tourism Australia’s Regional General Manager Americas, Jane Whitehead said Virtuoso had an impressive network of premium travel advisors who generated more than USD 10 billion in sales from the US and Canada each year.
“With Virtuoso’s high-end client base, we now have an established distribution partner that will help us package and promote the best of our country’s premium product to this very important and lucrative market,” she said.
Edited by Peter Needham