Australia losing out to NZ, operators say

Australia losing out to NZ, operators say
By admin

Australia must step up its marketing efforts in key emerging markets in order to win back market share from neighbouring New Zealand, tourism operators have declared.

Rajesh Nambiar, international executive vice president of Indian outbound operator Saltours International, told Travel Today that intense competition in the Indian marketplace had seen its sales to Australia remain flat.

Australia is an “established product” in the Indian market which is “constantly looking for something new,” he said.

In addition, a spate of violent incidents against Indian students in Australia in 2009 was “still having an impact” on demand, according to Nambiar.

Meanwhile, New Zealand was “edging ahead” for Saltours.

“New Zealand has become a standalone destination in the last few years,” he said, revealing passenger numbers had increased by 15% over the past 12 months. “Their tourism board has done a better job than Australia.”

Nambiar criticised the recent Tourism Australia campaign saying its one approach for all markets failed to effectively target the Indian market.

“I understand that it’s cost-cutting, but it doesn’t work for us,” he said.

Instead he called for specific campaigns for specific markets.

James Liang, president of Chinese operator Century Holiday International Travel Group, echoed Nambiar’s calls for market specific campaigns, but said Australia remained one of the preferred destinations for a two week holiday, with improved air access aiding sales.

But he said luxury hotels and resorts beyond state capitals need to adapt for wealthy, older Chinese clients who check Chinese language services will be available before they book.

New Zealand is also becoming a more popular option for the Middle Eastern market, according to managing director of Dubai-based Connect World, Justin Jacob.

In addition, Europe, described as more “Arab-friendly”, continues to be popular. However, Australia is “picking up”, he added, reporting growth of between 5% and 6% in the last year.

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