South Australia eyes Middle East market

Swim with the sharks at Port Lincoln

THE South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) has appointed a marketing representation company in Dubai ahead of the Emirates’ scheduled Adelaide launch on November 1, 2012. The organisation will be represented in the GCC by Oldfield Management Group (OMG!), a leading destination marketing company based in the UAE.

Sigrid Frede, international operations manager, SATC explains the move as strategic: “We are very excited to welcome Emirates to South Australia. Adelaide is Emirates’ fifth Australian destination, the first flight direct to Adelaide by any GCC carrier and hugely significant for us.

Andrew Oldfied, director for Oldfield Management Group adds, “There were 5.98 million visitor arrivals for year ending July 2012, an increase of 1.3 per cent relative to the previous year alone. Though the Middle East arrivals are still very small, it continues to show strong growth with an increase of 10.1 per cent in 2012.”

“We also see strong repeat visitors from the GCC. The two-year multi entry visa makes it easier for travellers to come back. In addition to leisure traffic, the Middle East has a lot of student travelling to South Australia to pursue various courses that we offer.”

The Middle Eastern visitor has traditionally been wooed by Australia because, according to statistics by Tourism Australia, the average tourist stays for three weeks and spends AUD $7,025 ($7,190) per head excluding air tickets. The SATC will back its marketing effort with direct interaction with travel agents to educate the trade and will work with the top five regional agents to develop product specific to the Middle Eastern demand. The SATC will focus on marketing the state’s key destinations: the capital city Adelaide, Kangaroo Island and Barossa. 

“Tourism Australia and Emirates have announced they will collectively spend up to A$14.3 million ($14.6 million) over the next three years on a range of joint marketing activities focusing on some of Australia’s leading inbound visitor markets – the UK, Germany and New Zealand, in addition to France and Italy,” said Oldfield.

“Locally, Tourism Queensland has plans to continue its work with Etihad and Emirates for next summer further boosting arrivals figures,” adds Oldfield. “For 2013 summer, there will be a lot more consumer focus on marketing campaigns together with our strategic airline partners and key retail agents.”

Speaking about the destination, Frede added; “Adelaide is a charming ’20-min city’ that is easy to get around, walker friendly and surrounded by stunning parklands. It features delightful heritage buildings, boasts a great alfresco café culture and you will be spoiled for choice with the numerous restaurants on hand. From the CBD, a 20-minute drive can transport you to the beautiful Adelaide Hills or to the beach. Just one hour from Adelaide, Barossa is world-renowned as Australia’s food and wine capital.

“Kangaroo Island is the star of the show and the only place in the world where one can see a large variety of Australian wild animals up close. At the Seal Bay Conservation Park, for example, a ranger escorts you while you walk on the beach with sea lions! They are very playful animals, and it is an experience never to be forgotten. Equally impressive are the Remarkable Rocks, perched precariously above the coastline. Those wanting to stay in the ultimate in luxury accommodation can do so at Southern Ocean Lodge – often featured in lists of the best hotels in the world.” 

“Those seeking that extra bit of excitement should head to Port Lincoln to swim with the Great White Sharks – one of only a few places in the world you can do this. A boat takes you into the deep sea and you are lowered in a cage to safely encounter sharks up close. At Port Lincoln there are also fun tuna farms, where people jump in and swim with tuna, a large fish usually about 1.5-2 m, and an extremely fast swimmer.”

Besides its leisure offerings, Tourism Queensland has a five-year incentive strategy aimed at positioning Queensland as one of the world’s leading destinations for corporate travel incentives.

“It started with last year’s global incentive campaign, ‘The Million Dollar Memo’ which saw 20 participants tour Queensland in the 10-daylong event and participate in a number of ‘barefoot luxury’ experiences and challenges to be judged on their teamwork and competitive abilities,” adds Oldfield. “The Queensland incentives website,, continues to be a popular resource for international companies and incentive agents researching incentive travel destinations for staff, attracting more than 15,000 unique visitors to date.”

“In the year ended March 2012 Australia welcomed 678,000 incentive travellers who spent $824 million while in the country,” he added.