TRAVELLERS WANT MORE SUSTAINABLE EXPERIENCES: KEY FINDINGS FROM ATE2018
Over 2,200 delegates descended on Adelaide, South Australia from April 16-19 for the annual Australian Tourism Exchange, Australia’s largest travel and tourism business-to-business event.
This year, over 140 Ecotourism Australia certified operators were represented, accounting for 26% of all sellers and 30% of Ecotourism Australia’s total membership. For the first time ever, certified operators were able to officially display their certification logos on their booth’s panels, creating strong brand recognition from buyers.
Ecotourism Australia Chair, Rick Murray and CEO, Rod Hillman, attended the event as buyers, taking the opportunity to meet with as many certified operators as possible.
“ATE is finished and whilst we’re exhausted, we’re very happy with the outcome, said Rod, reflecting on about 80 buyer appointments.
“The mood from our members was positive with real optimism, especially the Southern and Eastern States where real growth has occurred.”
Emily Ellis (Operations Manager) and Lina Cronin (Communications and Audit Manager) attended the event as sellers, sharing a booth with Fred Nucifora and Fiona Merida from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
Having the seller and buyer pass again proved to be a fantastic way for Ecotourism Australia to not only meet with buyers, discuss the value of certification and showcase all of Ecotourism Australia’s certified operators using the Green Travel Guide; but also to connect with members, build relationships and garner insights into current trends and future directions of the Australian travel industry.
Over the course of the four-day event, Emily and Lina met with close to 100 international and domestic buyers, of which 21% were from North America, 22% were from Europe, 37% were from Asia, 14% were from Oceania and 6% were from South America. Many of these buyers noted that their clients were increasingly demanding more sustainable experiences. Other highlights of the discussions with buyers included:
- USA buyers showing the strongest interest in eco certification, with some expressing interest in both training their own staff on ecotourism certification and potentially displaying certification on their websites and platforms
- Buyers from China, Taiwan and Japan communicating a growing interest in ecotourism, particularly amongst younger generations
- Buyers specializing in tailor-made travel seeing the Green Travel Guide as a valuable tool for sourcing responsible tourism product
- 75% of buyers requesting a full list of certified products for their reference and product preferencing
- The fact that nearly all buyers were familiar with the ECO Certified Tourism branding, with many meeting with Ecotourism Australia to seek clarification on its meaning
The attendance of Fred Nucifora and Fiona Merida viewed as extremely valuable both by Ecotourism Australia’s members in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and by international buyers, many of whom had questions about the state of the reef. Ecotourism Australia would like to thank the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority for its support at this important event.
Thanks and congratulations are also due for all Ecotourism Australia certified operators who attended ATE this year and truly showcased excellence in delivering ecotourism experiences in Australia.
To see a wrap up video of ATE 2018, visit Tourism Australia on YouTube. There are even a few cameo appearances by Ecotourism Australia certified operators!
Photo credit: Tourism Australia; Lina Cronin