Visitor numbers from the GCC to Australia during this summer were up 21 per cent on last year, and the number from MENA was up 18 per cent, according to Andrew Oldfield, distribution development manager, Gulf countries, for Tourism Australia (TA).
And for 2008, he said: “We hope to continue the growth at a similar rate, however we are limited by the air capacity into Australia, obviously we depend a lot on all the airlines that depart from the GCC, I am sure with arrivals of the new A380’s later in the year we will see a lot more capacity.”
TA will be opening a new tourist office in India “very soon”.
TA will next year spend more time on educating the industry about Australia’s diversity in both city escapes and countryside retreats within easy reach of the cities. It will take the annual “Yinala” event (a forum devised especially for travel professionals from the GCC to experience Australia for themselves), to Perth, a less popular city for Arab visitors.
Tourists from the Middle East find Australia’s general friendliness, including welcoming immigration officials, plus as its food, family activities, weather and natural beauty as prime reasons for returning here.
Oldfield said that travel agents and tour operators in the ME region would benefit from the TA’s online training programme “Aussie specialist”.
“This programme can help all agents learn so much about Australia; it will help to build bigger and longer itineraries for their clients,” he said. “We also have the online Visa application facility where agencies can apply online on behalf of their clients making the visa process smooth and streamlined.”
He stressed that it was important for travel agents to remember that every non-Australian wanting to visit the country needs a visa and that all travel agents should apply through VFS ( www.vfs.ae) or at www.immi.gov.au.
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.