Findings and Feedback from the Australian Tourism Exchange 2017
Ecotourism Australia (EA) joined over 2,500 tourism industry professionals at the 2017 Australian Tourism Exchange in Sydney between the 15th to 19th of May and were pleased to see ECO Certified operators made up 20% of all Sellers represented at the event. Yet again, ATE proved to be a valuable experience, offering the opportunity to connect with our members, build beneficial relationships and gain insight into current trends and market interest in ecotourism.
EA took up a Seller registration this year with Emily (Operations Manager) stationed at our booth, while Rod Hillman (CEO) and Rick Murray (Chairman) moved across the expo floor to connect with as many of our 125+ certified operators represented. Our intent at ATE each year is to drive business to our members by ensuring Buyers are aware of the quality responsible experiences ECO Certified operators across Australia have on offer. Carrying on a successful move from 2016, we had each of our members proudly displaying the ECO Certified Tourism logo at their booths, which made for easy brand recognition.
Once again, Renee Thompson and Dr. Matt Curnock from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) joined us to support the GBRMPA High Standard Tourism Program and ensure Buyers received an accurate update on the current health of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Their attendance was very well received by the international market and greatly appreciated by our GBR operators, while effectively reinforcing the integrity of our certification programs.
We met with 80 international and domestic representatives from a great range of international retail agencies, wholesalers, inbound tour operators, and product representation companies. We found that while all were familiar with the principles of ecotourism, a third of these representatives were already familiar with ECO Certification specifically, and 20% expressed that their company had a desire to move towards more sustainable operations including the preferencing of products with sustainability certification credentials over others. Predominant markets demonstrating an interest in ECO Certified product were Europe (particularly Germany and the Netherlands), the United Kingdom, and Brazil.
Key findings and feedback from ATE17:
- 20% of all Sellers were ECO Certified operators. Over 125 booths displayed the ECO Certified Tourism logo, strengthening brand recognition. Many Buyers expressed their recognition of the logos from last year and their appreciation for how the logos made it easy to identify responsible products.
- 40% of Buyer appointments asked specifically about the current health of the Great Barrier Reef and the impact of tourism on the fragile ecosystem. With Renee and Matt from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority present, we were able to provide accurate updates on the current state of the Reef, and reinforce that tourism plays an important role in the Reef’s protection and conservation, and communication of accurate messaging.
- Over 30 new retail agencies, wholesalers, and ITOs have signed up to receive our monthly industry updates; our monthly updated list of our Certified operators and products. These updates are used to assist them in sourcing and preferencing quality sustainable nature tourism experiences for their clients.
- The Green Travel Guide was once again used as a key tool to showcase the variety and quality of our Certified tourism operators. The majority of Buyers across our appointments expressed interest in using it as a tool for sourcing responsible products.
- All Buyers across our appointment schedule were already working with multiple ECO Certified operators, with many expressing that they felt operators would benefit greatly from communicating their Certified status through their business dealings.
- We met with 80 international and domestic representatives from a great range of international retail agencies, wholesalers, inbound tour operators, and product representation companies. We found that while all were familiar with the principles of ecotourism, a third of these representatives were already familiar with ECO Certification.
- 20% of Buyers across our schedule expressed that their company had a desire to move towards more sustainable operations including the preferencing of products with sustainability certification credentials over others.
- The most predominant markets demonstrating an interest in ecotourism and recognition of ECO Certified operators were Europe (particularly Germany and the Netherlands), the United Kingdom, and Brazil.
- Some Certified Operators offering wildlife experiences reported instances where ECO Certification became a key conversion point during their own Buyer appointments.
Over the coming weeks, we will continue following up on connections made at the event with the ultimate aim of bringing greater tangible benefits to our members. We congratulate all our Certified operators in attendance this year and hope they had a successful and productive experience, leading to many new business opportunities.
Should you have any feedback or questions following our participation in the Australian Tourism Exchange, please get in touch. email@example.com | 07 3252 1530