Tourism Australia is revamping its Aussie Specialist Program (ASP) and shifting the focus of its tourism promotion to coastal and aquatic destinations, following its successful Restaurant Australia campaign.
Google search analysis has revealed a 10% decline in searches for Australian beach and coast attractions. The new campaign will aim to turn that around.
At the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE15) in Melbourne yesterday, Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan said Restaurant Australia had aimed to correct a misconception – namely that Australia was not at the forefront of food and wine experiences. The campaign had worked and consumers now ranked Australia with France and Italy for gastronomy.
The coming coastal and aquatic promotion campaign (its name has not been finalised) would “unashamedly play on our strengths” and push the image of Australia’s unparalleled coastal and sea attractions.
On the ASP front, O’Sullivan said the move aimed to give travel sellers globally the knowledge and skills to better promote and sell Australia.
The relaunch follows an extensive review of the global online training program and includes a new digital platform as well as training resources which will be shared by Tourism Australia and all eight of its state and territory tourism partners.
O’Sullivan said the changes would involve the recruitment of a team of Aussie Specialist trainers to work with the travel trade to ensure the industry spoke with one voice.
He said the changes were critical to the industry achieving its Tourism 2020 goals.
“Whilst our Aussie Specialist Program is still recognised as one of the world’s leading destination training programs, it has now been in existence for 26 years and we feel could benefit from a bit of reshaping to keep us ahead of the competition,” he said.
Fundamental to the changes is a new digital platform, including a new website which features interactive training modules, itinerary suggestions, factsheets, latest industry news updates, destination FAQs and an interactive map. The site works across all mobile devices.
As part of the ASP website relaunch, Tourism Australia’s Premier Aussie Specialist program will be extended to all key markets. The program, which incorporates the very top sellers within the Aussie Specialist Program, was previously only available in four key markets.
In addition to the new website, a team of Aussie Specialist trainers is being recruited to help provide face-to-face training in key markets for frontline travel sellers.
O’Sullivan said that underlying the changes was a fundamental recognition of the vital role played by frontline travel sellers in selling Australia.
“Our research and experience tells us that traditional distribution channels remain critically important when it comes to selling Australia. Through these changes we are better equipping travel sellers with the knowledge and the skills to promote and sell Australia more effectively.
“This is a significant investment in how we take our tourism experiences to market internationally and will result, I firmly believe, in very real benefits when it comes to converting new business and improving yield,” O’Sullivan said.
O’Sullivan said a key principle behind the relaunch had been securing the support of all state and territory tourism bodies, enabling Australia to speak with “one voice” when promoting the country and its tourism product to the world.
“The feedback that we’ve had from industry is that they want to see all levels of Government working more collaboratively in relation to international distribution, and that has certainly been central to our thinking as we’ve sought to improve the program,” O’Sullivan said.
The program will be available in 11 languages and rolled out progressively across all markets over six months, starting August 2015.
Written by Peter Needham