New findings released today reveal the tourism industry continues to grow – international tourism increased by 5% in the first six months of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012.
The UNWTO World Tourism Barometer also found growth was stronger in emerging economy destinations (+6%) than in advanced economies (+4%), a trend which has marked the sector for many years now.
“The fact that international tourism grew above expectations confirms that travelling is now part of consumer patterns for an increasing number of people in both emerging and advanced economies” UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai said.
“This underlines the need to rightly place tourism as one of the key pillars of socio-economic development, being a leading contributor to economic growth, exports and jobs,” Rifai added.
The Asia and the Pacific region in particular experienced robust growth – coming in at 6% overall.
Speaking at the 2013 Australian Business Events Expo held in Sydney this month, Managing Director of Tourism Australia Andrew McEvoy urged business in the tourism sector to play to local strengths. “In the digital and social age, it’s really about getting advocacy through other people’s eyes, who can tell our story, perhaps even more powerfully than even us,” McEvoy said.
So what is it about Australia that wins?
McEvoy said that Tourism Australia survey data gathered from consumers and corporate end-users in 12 key markets around the world shows that Australia stacks up in many ways.
“We’re seen as perhaps the safest destination on Earth to travel to, which in a busy, sometimes angry world is a pretty good thing to have. We’re seen as a welcoming people. We also win the battle when it comes to world-class natural beauty. The real emerging one for us is food and wine,” McEvoy said.
“The world is traveling more and more on its belly, and conference delegates want to know they’ll eat well and drink well. And frankly, before people visit, many have a low perception of Australia’s food and wine, but when they leave, many go on to actually put us to number one. The fresh natural produce, the seafood, the farm gate to plate, the great artisan food. This is a story we want to tell much more powerfully when we’re pitching,” he said.
The point McEvoy really emphasises is to be authentic, and to be Australian, but to understand the needs of the audience being pitched to. “It’s the simple things, and it is our great natural beauty, but it’s also those big skies, the fresh air, and the Australian personality which really does cut through at the end of the day in this business,” he said.