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Innovation dominates forthcoming backpacker conference
Has the internet killed the retail tourism distribution channel?
What are the latest trends in digital youth marketing?
What are the best ways and methods for backpacker operators to incorporate technology and innovation into their businesses?
These are just some of the issues to be covered during a national backpacker conference being held next week in Newcastle.
More than one hundred influential industry players, decision-makers and tourism product suppliers from across the country will attend the all-day backpacker conference, organised as part of the Australian Tourism Export Councils (ATEC) Symposium, Australias key annual inbound tourism conference.
ATEC Managing Director Matt Hingerty said the $3.1 billion backpacker sector was one of the most important elements of the Australian inbound tourism industry.
In 2007 more than 566,000 backpackers came to Australia, which is 11% of the entire inbound market*, Mr Hingerty said. Backpackers arent afraid to take their time, get out of the capital cities and into regional Australia and it shows." "The average backpacker stays for 71 nights and spends $5481*, which saw the total backpacker sector spend rise by more than ten percent last year.
Backpackers are after the genuine Australian experience and the Newcastle and Hunter regions, with their world-leading food and wine products, are the perfect fit, Mr Hingerty said.
Mr Hingerty said that the potential of Newcastle Airport as one of Australia's leading regional aviation hubs, as well as the excellent tourism and holiday experiences on offer in the region meant Newcastle was an ideal location to host the backpacker conference.
"One of Tourism Australia's stated aims is to encourage incoming tourists out of the capital cities and to have a look around, to experience what makes our country unique." "Backpackers are trendsetters in this respect and show the benefits that tourism can offer by opening regional Australia to the world," Mr Hingerty said.
Backpacker Tourist Advisory Panel Chairman Peter Burke said the importance of the backpacker industry could not be underestimated.
Besides contributing $3.1 billion tourism export dollars into Australias economy, backpackers are one of the most importance sources of labour to many other industries, including mainstream tourism and hospitality. Mr Burke said.
It should be remembered that backpackers are tomorrows four- and five-star tourists and backpackers, due to their age, length of stay and regional penetration are better ambassadors for Australia than any marketing campaign.
Mr Hingerty said a range of top Australian and international speakers had been confirmed for Symposium, including:
** Innovation: leading into the future Lance Batty, General Manager, Connections and Sallie Gregory, Marketing Manager, Beaches Backpackers
** Technology at work: digital youth marketing Chris Borg, IT consultant, IB Solutions and Jessie Desjardins, Marketing Managerm Global Gossip
*8 Hunter Regional Update - Michelle Cox, Melaleuca Backpackers (representing Port Stephens BOA)
** Retail vs Online travel: Is retail dead? A panel, including Malcolm OBrien, Lonely Planet and Chris Guzowski, Director, Travel Apps
** Backpacker Panel Q&A session between conference delegates and backpackers".
"ATEC would like to thank key sponsors Qantas and Tourism New South Wales for their support. Their foresight is a large part of Symposium's continued success."
I would also like to thank the Hunter Regional Tourism Organisation, the Cessnock City Council, the Hunter Valley Gardens, Hunter Valley Wine Country Tourism, the Lake Macquarie City Council, Newcastle Airport, the Newcastle City Council and Port Stephens Tourism for their assistance and support," Mr Hingerty said.
Media are welcome to attend all public conference sessions. Interviews with speakers can be arranged on request. Please contact Nick Buchan at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0407 379 362 for further details regarding Symposium conference registration.
WHAT: ATEC Backpacker conference
WHEN: Tuesday April 29
TIME: 8.30am 5.30pm
WHERE: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Wharf Road, Newcastle
FULL PROGRAM DETAILS: http://symposium08.atec.net.au/page_var156
* Tourism Research Australia International Visitor Survey December Quarter 2007.
Watch out next week for TravelMole on location and TravelMole TV reports from the ATEC Backpacker Conference.
posted on 24 Apr, 2008