Tourism Australia’s head of Americas Commercial Partnerships, Robert Keddy, led a packed room with cheers of ‘Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oy! Oy! Oy!’ on Tuesday night (June 6) at an industry cocktail reception at Vancouver’s prestigious Blue Water Cafe.
Speaking to PAX, Keddy said that, “Tonight is just to be able to provide an update to our industry partners and let them know just how well Canada is doing in Australia. It’s a fantastic time to be selling Australia; there’s lots of opportunity, and there’s lots of momentum!”
Michael Mullin, of VoX International, Tourism Australia Western Canada Sales, told PAX that there were plenty of new additions for agents to the Aussie Specialist program.
“We started with just five basic modules, and now we’re up to about 30; we’ve added great things like Aussie Walks, Ultimate Wineries and Family Adventure. I’m excited because Australia is on the forefront for a lot of Canadians at the moment, it’s such a diverse destination, agents are really engaging with it and that’s what we’re all about. It’s always been on top of Canadians’ bucket lists and it used to be perceived as a really long flight, but now it’s really just two meals and a sleep!”
Guests networked while sipping wines from South Australia and enjoying seafood hors d'oeuvres before watching Keddy’s high-energy presentation on the Canadian market’s past year’s performance. Figures from Australian Immigration and Border Control for April 2016-March 2017 show an 11 per cent increase of Canadians entering Australia with 158,000 visiting in the past year, which Keddy said translates to a spend of $158 million, an increase in the leisure market of eight per cent.
Keddy said that the five key factors which drive Canadians to choose Australia as a destination are: safety & security, value for money, perceived friendliness, good food and wine, and history and heritage. Speaking about the newly relaunched Aussie Specialist program, Keddy said that agents can now enjoy a more accessible platform with fresh content, which is less text-heavy and focuses on brand new video and images to provide a great learning experience and helps agents tap into those driving consumer factors.
Keddy said that the Aussie Specialist program now has 1,100 registered agents and over 600 qualified Aussie Specialists across Canada. Agent incentives include the Corroboree West event where selected agents are hosted down under, and the Premiere level of Aussie Specialists; an upper-tier program which agents can apply to if they meet specific sales goals which earns them a listing on Australia.com plus exclusive opportunities to attend A.T.E. as well as Australia Marketplace.
Closing the presentation, Keddy played a video from Tourism Australia celebrating 50 years of marketing Australia internationally which opened with slow-mo kangaroos gracefully hopping across the screen, and took in the Paul Hogan years, plenty of beach, barbies and sunshine and a rapid fire of past slogans including ‘Feel the Wonder’ and ‘It Has To Be Seen.’