- by travelpulse
- 07 Oct 2022
This week saw the welcome return of Tourism Australia's Marketplace North America event for the first time in three years, with Australia's industry leaders meeting with U.S. travel agents and tourism operators in-person at Westdrift Manhattan Beach hotel in Los Angeles.
Running August 7 through 9, the high-energy, three-day event was hosted by Tourism Australia, and sponsored by Qantas, American Airlines, Destination New South Wales and Tourism Queensland.
The excitement was palpable among the 102 buyers and 107 seller delegations in attendance. The Marketplace event provided a chance for business partners from both sides of the Pacific to reestablish connections after being separated for so long, due to the pandemic. Following two years of strict border closures for Australia, there were a lot of new developments to catch up on.
The affair kicked off on Sunday afternoon, with a North America Market Update stage presentation by some of the Aussie tourism industry's top brass. Speakers included Tourism Australia's Managing Director, Phillipa Harrison; Executive General Manager, Strategy & Research, Rob Dougan; Tourism Australia's Vice President, Americas, Chris Allison; and Senator Don Farrell, Australia's Minister for Trade and Tourism.
The opening presentation also included contributions from a panel of five top executives: Matt Cameron-Smith, CEO of Voyages Indigenous Tourism; John O'Sullivan, CEO of Experience Co.; Paul McGrath, CEO of YHA; Kate Shilling, CEO of Ultimate Winery Experiences CEO; Experience Co CEO, John O'Sullivan; and Virtuoso's Senior Vice President, Global Operations, Michael Londregan.
"We have started the hard work in terms of inviting Americans back to Australia," said Harrison. "This is such an important market for us, this has always been an important market for us and I can tell you that we are going to continue to invest very heavily."
"The U.S. was Australia's third largest source market for international visitation and the second most valuable for spend, with 818,000 Americans traveling to Australia in 2019 and spending $3.9 billion," said the Tourism Minister. Referring to the freshly-installed Prime Minister's administration, Farrell added, "The Albanese Government is committed to supporting Australia's tourism industry to return to the economic powerhouse we know it to be and to ensure that the world knows Australia is open for business."