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Australia Tourist Commission organises 'fam tour' for agents

MUMBAI: Good news for TV production executives who are looking for great locales down under. More than 100 leading travel agents from Asia will be heading to Australia this week as part of the recovery campaign to rebuild travel to Australia from the Asia region.

The Aussie Specialist Programme has been designed by the Australian Tourist Commission to provide retail travel agents with the knowledge and expertise to sell Australia.

These new Aussie Specialists will participate in the Australia familiarisation from 27 July to 2 August.

Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) Managing Director Ken Boundy has been quoted as saying that travel agents play an important role in selling a holiday destination. A release says that Aussie Specialist travel agents from India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand will expand their knowledge of the Australian tourism experience.

?Over the next week, the agents will travel to six states and nine cities and regional centres to experience first-hand the diverse range of travel experiences Australia has to offer,? Boundy said while adding that "the tourist dollar is currently fierce and such familiarisations will help to strengthen Australia?s position in the global travel market."

A press release says that travel agents will spend seven days in Australia visiting a combination of two destinations including Adelaide, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Tasmania.

Boundy says that while many of Australia?s key tourist markets in Asia have experienced a severe drop in business in recent months, over the past couple of weeks business has begun to pick-up with consumer confidence improving.

?Singapore, India, Malaysia and Thailand deliver more than half a million visitors to Australia each year,? Boundy said. ?In the five months to May arrivals from most markets in Asia have fallen, including India (down by 18 per cent), Malaysia (down 23 per cent), Singapore (down 22 per cent) and Thailand (down 19 per cent).

?Singapore is a mature market for Australia with high repeat visitation ? up to 70 per cent ? and we need to give visitors in this market new reasons to visit Australia. At the same time markets such as India and Malaysia have seen steady increases over the past decade and we need to ensure this upward trend continues," Boundy says while talking about India as a market.

Boundy also states: "Activities such as our current recovery campaigns, which total $33.2 million and span more than 10 countries, including a number of countries across the Asia region, and familiarisations for the trade will assist us in reversing declines in tourist numbers."

All participants on the fam trip should have completed the Aussie Specialist agents training programme. The three-part programme includes general destination information on Australia as well as specific information on the states and territories; product experiences relevant to various segments, and itinerary planning.

Agents who complete all three components of the Aussie Specialist training are listed on the ATC's consumer website www.australia.com and act as point of referral for enquiries on holidays to Australia in their respective countries.

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