EcoTourism Australia aims for more high-value tourists

Quality over quantity is what EcoTourism Australia is aiming for, says Chief Executive Kym Cheatham. She points this out in a statement regarding the Global Eco Asia Pacific ecotourism conference held this month in Cairns. Focusing on the rich culture, endemic flora and fauna, the breath-taking landscape and uniquely Australian experiences for tourists should be the key motivating factor in driving visitors into the country.

Ms. Cheatham suggests that developing Australia’s tourism with the use of more profitable, sustainable and culturally-inclined products and programs in order to attract tourists into the country. She believes that the future of Australian travel and tourism lies in emphasizing the uniqueness of the country and boasting of Australian cuisine, wildlife, natural wonders, cultural history, plant-life, arts, and the like.

She compares the current model of the country’s tourism drive to that of Asian countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Korea and Malaysia. In these countries, the uniqueness of the culture and what puts it a cut above the rest is how they continue to increase the number of their yearly travelers and visitors. The importance of a sustainable ecotourism market is seen by how these countries are experiencing growth and momentum in the area of tourism and travels.

Taking a leap and focusing on what makes a visit Australia a one-of-a-kind experience should be one of the key things to be kept in mind. Ms. Cheatham also said that despite the costs, tourists will be willing to pay if the product or service is of the utmost standard.

Ten years after: looking back at Bali’s Ground Zero

After the devastating tragedy in Bali back in October of 2002, the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard pays her respects at the erected memorial monument in Bali, Indonesia. Gillard is joined by John Howrad, who was Australia’s PM at the time, in expressing her deepest sympathies to the friends and families of the 88 Australian tourists who lost their lives during the bombing of the Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) cultural park in Jimbaran as well as other sites in the Kuta tourist strip.

The attack took the lives of 202 people, whose families now remember at the memorial by bringing flowers and photographs. The ceremony marks the tenth year anniversary of the bombing caused by extremists. The two Australian authorities were met and joined by Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegewa.

Gillard gave recognition to the efforts of the Indonesian Government to eliminate and eradicate terrorism on its soil. She congratulated them on debilitating one of the most notorious extremist groups in the world. Jemaa Islamiya (or JI). The group, said to be the mastermind and perpetrator of this heinous attack as well as other bombings across the region, has been dismantled. She said the crack-down on terrorist groups has been quite successful. The people responsible for these deaths have been prosecuted according to the law.

Many of those who mourned for their loss saw the memorial event as a kind of closure after a decade of living in the shadow of that day. Indonesia and Australia still are in good terms, and the tourism between the 2 countries is still very vibrant.

Australia: Asia-ready by 2013

According to the latest ATEC Tourism Forecast Report, balancing both the complexity and the volatility of the country’s main tourism markets will be the key to Australia’s continued economic growth and tourism sustainability. Felicia Mariani, Managing Director for ATEC, reports that there is an indication of significant growth in Australia’s tourism markets both domestic and inbound, especially coming out of the Asian region.

She stated that, although international inbound travelers bring a good source of revenue for the country, the main source of income is still the domestic tourism sector. A lively tourism in the domestic scale would be “essential” to ensure their continued development.

Cultural awareness, she added, is needed in order to maximize the prospective increase of visitors coming from Asian markets. “The importance of the Asian Century to Australia is irrefutable. This is not just about Australia being ‘China Ready’; we need to be ‘Asia Ready’ first and foremost.”

Many challenges accompany this new opportunity to expand. According to Mariani, it is critical to be able to connect the different products and services they are offering to the right markets. Being competitive in both value and accessibility will result in success. She also forecasts that the yearly arrivals to the country will increase to up to 6.3 million visitors from the current 6 million in just 2 years.
She believes in engaging the traveler at a more individual and personal approach in order to fully take advantage of the growing Asian tourism market.