McEvoy addresses Cairns concerns

McEvoy addresses Cairns concerns
By admin

Tourism Australia will aim to manage expectations of sellers at next year’s ATE in Cairns as it admitted exhibition space will be at a premium in Tropical North Queensland.

Cairns was yesterday confirmed as the host city next year, the first time it has staged the annual trade show.

Dates have yet to be confirmed but it will take place in May

Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said the show will be a “different style of ATE”.

He admitted space will be tight with organisers set to erect additional temporary facilities to accommodate the event.

“You will still see high quality stands but perhaps less massive custom built stands, we’ll all just tone it down a bit and that may make it more affordable,” McEvoy told Travel Today. “Physically Cairns has got about 10,000sq metres of space which is slightly less than we had in Adelaide which was a tight squeeze. But we managed it.

“Cairns will also look at building additional temporary space. So we’ll do it but it will be a different style of event.”

McEvoy acknowledged some sellers may potentially be unhappy at having limited space and feel Cairns is too small – in much the same way operators felt about Queenstown for TRENZ in New Zealand in 2011 and 2012. 

“There will be issues around floor plans, custom built stands and those sorts of things but we’ll align expectations,” he said. “We need to make sure we properly align expectation because we just don’t have the same space as we have had in Sydney, we just don’t.

“We actually had a good look at Queenstown and Tourism NZ and the Travel Industry Association told us the spirit was amazing.”

While Sydney brought a “sophisticated, world city” approach to ATE, Cairns will provide an “irreverence and vibrancy” to the event amid a backdrop of “beauty and wonder”.

“A quarter of our trade show floor at any event is Queensland and more than half of that is North Queensland,” McEvoy added. “They are some of the best tourism leisure marketeers we have and I think it’s a great opportunity to give them a chance to have it in their own back yard.”

Despite potential space concerns, McEvoy said buyers and sellers he has spoken to are “excited” about taking ATE to Cairns.

Many of the buyers who sell the product in their respective countries have not been to Cairns for years, he said, while Australia-based companies understand that Cairns and Tropical North Queensland play a vital role in the local tourism industry.

“B to B is the number one reason people come to ATE and we will make sure we get that right,” McEvoy said.

Hotels are already on board “which is unbelievable one year out”, he added.

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