Australian tourism representatives recently traveled to North America to renew relationships with travel agencies and tour operators, with Australia Marketplace returning to the United States for the first time since 2019.
The event, held in Los Angeles from August 7-9, 2022, featured two days of pre-scheduled meetups for approximately 200 buyers and sellers in attendance, as well as evening networking opportunities.
Minister for Trade and Tourism, Don Farrell, who attended the opening of the Australia Marketplace North
America, said the event was a chance to promote Australia as a tourist destination in a key market.
“The two-day event hosted by Tourism Australia offers Australian tourism industry leaders the opportunity to connect directly with travel agencies and tour operators across North America,” said Farrell.
“The United States was Australia’s third-largest source market for international visits and second-most valuable for spending, with 818,000 Americans traveling to Australia in 2019 and spending $3.9 billion.”
Tourism Australia chief executive Phillipa Harrison said the connections Australian tourism operators are making on Australia Marketplace are more important than ever as we emerge from the pandemic.
“Australia Marketplace offers our tour operators the opportunity to build business relationships with key qualified North American travel agencies and tour operators,” said Harrison.
“These connections are so vital to Australia’s tourism industry, as we seek to rebuild after being one of the hardest hit sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“We know the recovery will take time, but we want to get back to those pre-COVID levels as quickly as possible and North America will play a pivotal role in that. In 2019, Australia welcomed over one million visitors from the United States and Canada.
Tourism Australia’s regional general manager for North America, Chris Allison, said Australia Marketplace, at the Westdrift Hotel Manhattan Beach, was the first time the event had taken place since the start of the pandemic.
“It was an opportunity to remind the United States and Canada that Australia is open for business and there’s never been a better time to ‘Come Say G’Day,'” Allison said. .
“The event has attracted key tourism leaders from the United States and Australia and the relationships and future business it creates will be vital to Australia’s tourism industry in the future.”
Key U.S. travel industry leaders included Kirk Demeter, President of Travel Answers Group, Alex Sharpe, President of Signature Travel Network, Charlene Leiss, President of Flight Center Americas, Brett Tollman, President of The Travel Corp, and Dave Thomas, Qantas’ vice president of sales for North America.
Australia’s top tourism executives traveled to Los Angeles for the event, including Experience Co-CEO John O’Sullivan, Voyages Indigenous Tourism CEO Matt Cameron-Smith, Ultimate Winery Experiences CEO Kate Shilling , Paul McGrath, CEO of YHA, Craig Bradbery, COO of Baillie Lodges, and Virtuoso Senior. Vice President Michael Londonregan.
Tourism Australia is also planning future Australia Marketplace events in other key tourism markets, with events scheduled in Japan/South Korea in September and UK/Europe in November.