Aussies reach out to Arabs

Uluru is one of the major symbols of the Australian outback.

The Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) will be showcasing the charms of Down Under at the ATM in association with tourism representatives.

The Australian presence at the Dubai event is part of the country's annual effort to update the local marketplace on all the latest of specific interest to the Middle East traveller.

"This is an increasingly important international event for Australia, where we have the opportunity to reach out to the public and the industry and show them what Australia's got to offer, introducing everyone to the latest venues, hotels, charms and attractions," said Rodney Harrex, the ATC's manager for market development in the Middle East.

"The Middle East is an increasingly important market for 'Australia the destination' and we are keen to let everyone see we care and show off some of our famous Aussie hospitality here in Dubai."

The ATC has indicated that preliminary visitor arrival figures for the year 2001 from the Gulf were significantly higher than those the previous year, helping Australia achieve solid tourism arrivals from the Middle East region just a year after the Olympics drew record numbers from all over the world to the continent's shores.

The country is geared to welcome even higher numbers in 2002 and many popular sites for Arab visitors in favoured destinations like the Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne are reaching out, building mosques and other similar conveniences to welcome them.

"Given the uncertainty of the travel situation over the last few months of 2001, we are happy that Australia has rebounded so quickly," said Harrex.

"Of course, the bulk of the travel to Australia from the Middle East is undertaken in June, July and August but we are optimistic that the lure of Australia for the Middle Eastern visitor in terms of family entertainment, value for money, safety and extraordinary wildlife on offer, will remain high in 2002."

Exhibiting at the Australia booth this year are representatives from the most popular destinations for the Arab market, including Tourism Victoria, Tourism New South Wales, Tourism Queensland, the Western Australian Tourism Commission, Qantas Airways, Dreamworld theme park, Phillip Island Nature Park, Scenic World Blue Mountains, Accor Hotels, Australis Sovereign Hotel, Burswood International Resort Casino, Conrad Jupiters, Daikyo Hotels and Resorts and Cruises, Harbour Town Shopping Centre, Lawland Tourism and Lizid Travel.