Positive Outcomes for ATE16
Ecotourism Australia joined over 2,500 tourism industry professionals on Queensland's Gold Coast for the 2016 Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE16) between the 16th to 19th of May. The event proved yet again to be a valuable experience, providing an opportunity to network, build positive relationships, and gain insight into current trends within the industry and an opportunity to catch up with our members in attendance, who made up over 40% of all Sellers!
With a few changes in our approach to the event this year, attending as a Buyer as well as a Seller, we're seeing more positive outcomes than ever before. Our Operations Manager (Emily Ellis) was stationed at our booth accompanied by representatives from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (Renee Thompson and Matt Curnock); They met with over 70 international and domestic travel agents, wholesalers and retailers to talk about the benefits of choosing certified tourism operators. Meanwhile, our CEO (Rod Hillman), Chairman (Rick Murray) and Project Officer (Leonie Bowles) managed a Buyer registration with the intent of meeting with the +120 Ecotourism Australia members attending as Sellers.
Here are a few of the weeks highlights:
- This year we ensured members had an "ECO certified tourism" logo to display on their booth. As 40% of all Sellers attending the event were carrying the logo, brand recognition was at an all-time high and Buyer interest in the certification was instant and carried across strongly during all appointments.
- Having representatives from the GBRMPA present assisted in effectively reinforcing the integrity of our certification programs, and communicating this message through to Buyers.
- Our Green Travel Guide was once again used as a key tool to demonstrate the variety and quality of certified tourism operators, and the majority of Buyers recognised it as a useful tool for sourcing new product.
- The greatest interest in certified tourism products came from the USA, European and Canadian markets.
- Prior to the event, we allowed members who were not able to attend place preferences for appointments where their products would be showcased. This was deemed an effective approach and provided opportunity for Buyers to directly identify certification with specific products that appealed to their markets.
- General feedback from Buyers demonstrated an increase in customer interest in sustainable tourism experiences; these Buyers also noted that not enough tourism operators promote their certification status.
- As a Buyer, we visited 85 of our certified members and took the opportunity to invite feedback and provide an update on EA's latest benefits and developments.
We congratulate all of our members in attendance this year and hope they had a successful and productive experience.
Over the coming weeks, we will be following up on connections made at the event with the ultimate aim of bringing greater tangible benefits to our members.
If you have any feedback or questions following our participation in the Australian Tourism Exchange, please don't hesitate to contact our office.
(Image: A few EA members gather for a rare photo opportunity!)