LAST WORD

Va­ca­tions &Travel has the last word with John O'Sul­li­van from Tourism Aus­tralia.

Vacations & Travel - - Contents -

Join­ing Tourism Aus­tralia in 2014, John O’Sul­li­van is the cur­rent Man­ag­ing Direc­tor in charge of the na­tion’s global tourism mar­ket­ing agency and re­spon­si­ble for driv­ing Tourism Aus­tralia’s strate­gies to help grow the tourism sec­tor to more than $115 bil­lion by the end of the decade as part of the Tourism 2020 strat­egy. John has more than 20 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in sports mar­ket­ing, event man­age­ment and me­dia across Aus­tralia, Asia and the UK. aus­tralia.com

Q: When did you start out in the tourism in­dus­try?

My first job in tourism was whilst I was study­ing at uni. It was at the May­fair Crest Ho­tel in Bris­bane, un­der the le­gendary Doug Ryan, where I worked as a porter and as a func­tions’ waiter.

Q: What is it you love about your job and work­ing in the travel and tourism in­dus­try?

There is a lot to love about our in­dus­try, but I just love the peo­ple. In mar­ket­ing Aus­tralia to the world as a des­ti­na­tion for leisure and busi­ness events we have an in­cred­i­ble prod­uct to of­fer, with a com­bi­na­tion of stun­ning nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment along­side vi­brant young cities with an ex­cep­tional culi­nary of­fer­ing and in­cred­i­ble peo­ple – it re­ally makes you ap­pre­ci­ate that there truly is noth­ing like Aus­tralia.

Q: What are you most ex­cited about with Tourism Aus­tralia in 2019 and be­yond?

I am ex­cited about the prospects of our in­dus­try in the broader Aus­tralian econ­omy. Aus­tralian tourism has grown from strength to strength in re­cent years to the point where we are now wel­com­ing 9.1 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors an­nu­ally, spend­ing $42.5 bil­lion.

I am ex­cited about the fu­ture and the very real pos­si­bil­ity that our vis­i­tor econ­omy will sur­pass 10 mil­lion vis­i­tors an­nu­ally in the com­ing years. Im­por­tantly, this growth has sparked new prod­ucts and ex­pe­ri­ences around the coun­try for vis­i­tors to en­joy.

Q: Which in­ter­na­tional mar­kets are you see­ing the most growth from in terms of in­bound tourism?

China con­tin­ues to be the main con­trib­u­tor to in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tor growth and spend, with 1.4 mil­lion vis­i­tors an­nu­ally in the past year (up

7.5 per cent) and con­tribut­ing a record $11.27 bil­lion in spend. Along­side China, In­dia is an­other mar­ket that has been grow­ing strongly, with In­dian vis­i­tor num­bers in­creas­ing 19 per cent in the past year to 345,000. Then we have long stand­ing mar­kets like the US and UK that con­tinue to de­liver, with 783k and 744k vis­i­tors an­nu­ally and spend­ing $3.67 bil­lion and

$3.49 bil­lion re­spec­tively.

Q: Which tourism cat­e­gories are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing strong growth within Aus­tralia?

Our re­search shows that for in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors our world-class nat­u­ral beauty, culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ences, along with our friendly, wel­com­ing peo­ple are key tourism driv­ers for Aus­tralia. In par­tic­u­lar, we are see­ing a grow­ing trend to­wards gourmet tourism as in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors in­creas­ingly re­alise the depth and qual­ity of our culi­nary of­fer­ing.

Trav­ellers are ac­tively seek­ing out gourmet fes­ti­vals or be­spoke ex­pe­ri­ences, such as tai­lor­ing your own gin, to get a taste of our uniquely Aus­tralian pro­duce and cul­ture. When you pair this with our mag­nif­i­cent land­scapes and the ex­pand­ing of­fer­ing of Aus­tralia’s own unique bare­foot lux­ury and tourism ex­pe­ri­ences around our Indige­nous cul­ture, there are plenty of at­trac­tions on of­fer to in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors.

Q: In terms of re­gional tourism in Aus­tralia, what are the likely hot spots for travel in 2019?

Lo­ca­tions such as Nin­ga­loo Reef and Ex­mouth are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar, given their pris­tine wa­ters and abun­dance of sea life. The un­touched land­scapes of the Kim­ber­ley re­gion filled with dra­matic gorges and in­cred­i­ble wa­ter­falls is an­other grow­ing hot spot for vis­i­tors.

We are also see­ing grow­ing vis­i­ta­tion to re­gions such as the Fleurieu Penin­sula in South Aus­tralia as well as the re­gions in Tas­ma­nia, com­bin­ing out­stand­ing na­ture and food and wine. Then there is the spir­i­tual heart of Aus­tralia, Uluru, which has seen even greater pop­u­lar­ity with the Field of Light ex­hi­bi­tion.

Well-loved hot spots such as

By­ron Bay, the Great Ocean Road and Queens­land’s coastal hol­i­day en­claves and the Reef will also con­tinue to be pop­u­lar with trav­ellers.

Q: Grow­ing up in Queens­land, what are your best mem­o­ries of time spent in the Sun­shine State?

Sum­mer fam­ily hol­i­days at ei­ther the Sun­shine Coast or Gold Coast. My most dis­tinct mem­ory is our af­ter­noon fam­ily walks along the beach at low tide. End­less af­ter­noons…just per­fect!

Q: Now re­sid­ing in Syd­ney, what do you like to do in your leisure time and where do you like to go?

What’s leisure time?... As I am on a plane mostly I like hang­ing out in Syd­ney. Learn­ing to surf at Bondi Beach with Let’s Go Surf­ing has been fun and I just joined Monash Golf Club – not that I play.

Q: When trav­el­ling, what items do you never leave home with­out?

My Bose noise-can­celling head­phones – an ab­so­lute must. Al­most as im­por­tant as my pass­port! •

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