Ecotourism Australia Seeks High-Value Visitors

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By Vittorio Hernandez | October 10, 2012 11:40 AM EST

To develop a more profitable tourism industry, Ecotourism Australia Chief Executive Kym Cheatham pushed for more focus on high-value visitors instead of just increasing the number of tourists.

"It is time to reinvent Australian tourism, rather than rehash the reasons for the protracted downturn we are stuck in. The endless pursuit of growth in numbers is a hollow ambition, with mass tourism bringing profitless volume," Newsport quoted Ms Cheatham who will take part in the Global Eco Asia Pacific Ecotourism Conference in Cairns next week.

Instead of just growing the number of arrivals, she said the country's tourism sector should develop financially viable, environmentally sustainable and culturally responsible tourism products by working with smaller regional tourism operators and communities.

She pointed out that other Asian nations such as Malaysia, Cambodia, Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia are benefitting from ecotourism which could also be done in Australia.

"Australia is one of the most desired landscapes in the world, with unique native flora and fauna and an indigenous culture that resonates with visitors from around the globe. I think we can take the inspiration from South Africa which doesn't apologise for the cost involved in high quality safaris. It's about focusing on the experiences that are unrivaled that people will travel for at any cost," Ms Cheatham said.

She made the suggestion on the same day that Tourism Australia inked a $14-million agreement with Emirates, a major Middle Eastern airline, to help sell Australia to the world. The campaign targets tourists from Europe who fly Emirates through the air carrier's Dubai hub, particularly those from the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy, as well as visitors from New Zealand.

Emirates, which flies more than 30 destinations in Europe to Australia through Dubai, entered into a three-year deal that will include traditional marketing campaigns, digital promotions, events and sponsorships. Emirates has 70 flights weekly to Australia, including 21 to Sydney and Melbourne, 14 to Brisbane and 14 to Perth.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval for Emirates' codeshare agreement with Qantas beginning April 2013 in which the Australian carrier will have stopover to Dubai instead of Singapore for its London trips.

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