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Sun 1 Oct 2006 12:00 AM

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Gulf gets enthusiastic about Oz

Tourism Australia (TA) has started to ramp up its trade awareness activity now that the summer season is well and truly over.

Pre-Ramadan, TA’s distribution development manager, Andrew Oldfield started aggressively marketing the Aussie Enthusiast online training programme to agents GCC-wide.

He also teamed up with Ian Cameron, manager of International Marketing at Tourism New South Wales, to conduct a mini-roadshow in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, where the duo met key travel agents, operators and wholesalers.

The aim of the tour, which focused on the Saudi Arabian market in particular in Riyadh, Al Khobar and Dammam was to promote what Sydney has to offer the GCC market.

“I discovered there is a perception that Sydney is just a big commercial city and therefore doesn’t have a lot of appeal to tourists, so what we have to do is go back to basics and educate the trade about the shopping, entertainment and family activities available,” Cameron told ATN.

“This will ensure they are confident about increasing the length of stay in Sydney to more than one night.”

Oldfield said he would work closely with the trade to create Australian itineraries and packages focusing on Sydney and trips within a two-hour drive of the city.

In addition he will take a group of UAE travel agents on a fam trip to Sydney and the Gold Coast at the end of this month, and in February, will accompany 50 GCC-based agents to Yinala in Melbourne, a trade show/fam trip/workshop staged exclusively for the Middle East market.

Oldfield said 40 agents from the region had already signed up to the Aussie Enthusiast programme; a figure he expected to at least double once e-mail blasts promoting the five-stage product knowledge programme had been sent out this month.

In other Australia-related news, Gold Coast Tourism (GCT) has appointed Dubai-based Mohamed Al Geziry Consultancy as its Middle East representative in a bid to increase the Gold Coast’s share of Middle East traffic to Australia.

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