‘Reasonably Priced’ Australian Destination
Offering the best prices on accommodation and having activities to meet all budgets with value and quality, the Gold Coast is wooing the Indian incentive traveller. MICEtalk spoke to Martin Winter, Chief Executive Officer, Australia’s Gold Coast Tourism C
How do you differentiate between Gold Coast as a leisure or MICE destination?
Gold Coast is famous for leisure but it also has an outstanding opportunity and attractions for MICE. However from the incentive market, we do really well since Goal Coast has so many things to offer. Mainly, it’s because of the number of memorable activities available for an incentive group. In the 70km coastline, you can opt for hot air ballooning, jet boating, go deep-water fishing, high performance car racing, skydiving, bridge climb, to name a few. Apart from these high energy, high-octane, incentive activities we offer other experiences, such as, themed evening at a private island. During winter, we offer whale watching.
It’s the ‘wow’ experience that we offer which you cannot get anywhere else. And putting them together in itineraries, one can get really good deals at the Gold Coast. We also have the best prices in accommodation, which is about 30 per cent cheaper than Bri Brisbane and 35 per cent cheaper than Sydney (on average for s similar accommodation). Gold Coast is a very affordable destination. destin
What has been the response from the Indian market so far?
In the 12-month period ending September, we
have seen a 24 per cent increase in the number
of Indian visitors, primarily for MICE. We’ve had large groups in the past too from India, but we found the Indian market very fragmented and not easy to penetrate.
Now we are working with the trade through Tourism Australia. Last year we had 14, 000 Indian visitors come to the Gold coast and around 80 per cent came with incentives as their focus. It’s the market we believe in.
How would you position Gold Coast in India?
We promote Gold Coast as a diverse destination with
a lot of things to do and lots of choices at different price points. It’s not just a surfing destination. We have lots of good Indian food restaurants. A lot of hotels are tuned to the requirement of Indians, making your stay more comfortable.
Gold Coast really comes alive after dark. Indians
love to party and there is more to do here than
anywhere in Australia. We have a fantastic casino,
which even has Las Vegas performers putting up shows. We have the Surfers’ Paradise, which is the capital of our after-hours fun in Australia, clubs,
discotheques, restaurants and a lot of places to shop.
Where does India fit in as a source market for the region? What benefits do you offer Indian MICE groups?
India is perceived as a second tier source market,
but it’s growing rapidly. A growth of 24 per cent is remarkable. However in volume, China is the fastest growing market, but our biggest source market is still New Zealand.
We continue to partner with Business Events Sydney to attract more Indian groups. Usually, Indian groups don’t want a mono destination. So, Sydney
provides the city experience and we provide the fun.
We primarily work with the trade through dedicated sales calls to all key agents. We also provide incentives through familiarisations. We
don’t give any financial incentives, but large groups will get some in the form of offsets depending on the size of the group. These offsets include gifts and services. For a group of 1,000 Indians, the support we provide will be around AUD 50,000. Depending on the group, our support is approximately AUD 50 to 100 per person.
Our past figures show that an international convention delegate spends US$ 3,600 on a five-day period in Australia. Calculating this to two days, it’s approximately US $1,500 and that includes food, transportation, accommodation, internal airfare and daily spending. Leisure travellers spend less than half of that.
Bret Lee is from the Gold Coast and we can also
market the destination in India during sporting events.
For pure marketing, around 10 per cent of our global
budget is focussed on India
According to you, what are the top three exclusive opportunities in Gold Coast?
First is definitely Q1. It offers a 360-degree view of the
hinterland, city and ocean. The property gives the best introduction to the Gold Coast. Next, would be getting up-close with the cuddly koala. Different interactions with animals are experiences dear to the region and usually enjoyed by all. Lastly our nightlife, which
includes casinos and shows. Seeing the aboriginal
culture and interacting with the local people is also
something unique. Gold Coast has 65,000 beds and is a very affordable destination. We continue to offer value and quality.