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Research into impact of Olympics on Tourism

The Olympic Games have increased the likelihood of Americans taking their next holiday in Australia according to new research released today by the Australian Tourist Commission.

The research conducted by the ATC, the nation’s international tourism promoter, surveyed the ATC’s target market in the United States.

Addressing the Tourism Council Australia conference in Canberra, Australian Tourist Commission, Managing Director John Morse said the research clearly highlighted the impact of the Games on Australia’s international image as a holiday destination.

“Around 75 per cent of American travellers indicated they had seen pictures or stories in the media on Australia as a holiday destination as part of the Olympic Games coverage,” he said. “And, around half reported that this coverage had increased their interest in holidaying in Australia.”

“This includes 18 per cent who indicated that the Olympic coverage substantially increased their interest in travelling to Australia.

“Americans indicated a number of reasons as to why the Games increased their interest in holidaying downunder including a greater knowledge of the country, outdoor activities and scenery and a greater awareness of new or different aspects of Australia as well as the friendly Australian people.”

“The great news is that America’s love affair with Australia is not in isolation and the feedback from around the globe, including Europe and Asia is that Australia’s popularity is at an all time high.”

Mr Morse warned that there was a twelve months window of opportunity for the Australian tourism industry to capitalise on the increased awareness of Australia post Olympic Games.

“We now know the Olympic coverage has made an impact on our image in the US,” he said. “But we cannot sit back and expect Americans to come here automatically just because of media coverage. We must continue to work hard to convert the increased interest into actual holiday bookings.

“The research shows the coverage of the Olympic Games extended well beyond the sporting event and has helped to build a greater knowledge of our country, our people and further increase our popularity as a holiday destination.”

Mr Morse said the research also showed that Australia continued to reign as the number one dream holiday destination for American travellers.

“Australia’s popularity as a holiday destination in the US continues to soar,” he said. “We have been voted number one for the sixth consecutive year, with around 20 per cent rating Australia the number one ideal holiday beating both Italy and France.

Mr Morse said the increased interest in Australia as a travel destination was evident with the strong response to the ATC’s advertising campaigns in the US.

“The Hogan TV ad campaign, which began in the second week of the Games, is the most successful campaign of its type we have ever run in the US,” he said. “Bookings so far number more than 4000 and phone and internet inquiries are up past the 200,000 mark.

“As a result of this incredible interest, the ATC's trade partners have extended the booking deadline for the $1499 deal from December 8 to January 31 to allow more Americans to take advantage of this extraordinary package.

“The ATC will continue to work with industry partners and airlines to ensure that Australia remains high on the priority list for US travellers and that the momentum of the Games is carried throughout 2001.”

The US is the fourth largest tourism market to Australia with 442,943 visitor arrivals in the twelve months to July 2000, up 11.6 per cent compared to the same time last year. Visitor numbers from the US are expected to reach 482,000 next year.

Mr Morse said the ATC was undertaking tracking research in all major regions around the globe to determine the impact of the Olympic Games on Australia’s international image as a holiday destination.

To make further enquiries
click on www.australia.org.nz.

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