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Tourism Australia signs deal with China Travel Service to boost visitors

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Tourism Australia has signed a three year agreement with China’s state-owned enterprise representing the tourism industry, China Travel Service, to promote travel Down Under to its rapidly growing middle classes, particularly those living in ‘secondary cities’.

The two parties will collaborate on a range of co-operative marketing initiatives as well as business and industry development opportunities.  Tourism Australia will also work with CTS to identify investment opportunities in Australia’s tourism industry.

Joint activities are likely to include brand promotion, digital marketing, PR, famils, theme stores and direct mail campaigns. Tourism Australia will also assist in providing ‘Aussie Specialist’ training to CTS’s best agents equipping them to better sell Australian holiday packages to Chinese consumers.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy said the new partnership represented the first time Tourism Australia had entered into a strategic agreement of its kind with an international travel agency.

“Distribution is critical to Australia achieving the targets set out in our China 2020 Plan, which is why this agreement with such an established and respected partner as CTS is so important. Their powerful distribution network and customer resources will be invaluable as we seek to expand our marketing footprint beyond Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and target China’s growing middle classes in more of the country’s secondary cities,” Mr McEvoy said.

“We are determined to develop tourism products of the highest quality for the 900,000-plus Chinese visitors expected to visit our country by 2020. CTS has a deep understanding of the market and, through their extensive distribution network, will help us communicate directly with those Chinese consumers that our research show have the desire and means to travel to Australia,” he added. “We made a very conscious decision to launch the latest phase of our There’s nothing like Australia campaign in China. Our research shows that the Chinese have a huge appetite for international travel and the good news is that Australia is at the top of their wish list,” Mr McEvoy said.

He said a key focus for the Australian tourism industry is to develop and promote high quality tourism products, including luxury experiences and specialist tours.

Mr. Xuewu Zhang, Chairman of CTS said: “China is now Australia’s second largest, fastest growing and most valuable international inbound market, with a record 620,000 Chinese visitors spending a record A$4.2 billion in 2012. We believe there is huge potential especially for further growth in leisure tourism.”

The deal between Tourism Australia and CTS was signed in Beijing by Tourism Australia Managing Director, Andrew McEvoy, and the China Travel Service Hong Kong Limited (CTS) General Manager Mr Tingshuai Wang, with Tourism Australia Chairman Geoff Dixon and China Travel Service Chairman Xuewu Zhang also in attendance.

It follows the signing of a separate Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Air China earlier this week.

“We now have major strategic marketing agreements with China’s three largest airlines and this latest MoU with CTS marks another significant step forward as we seek to deepen our presence in China and our understanding of this hugely important market,” Mr McEvoy said.

An outline of Tourism Australia’s strategic plan for China is available at www.tourism.australia.com/china.

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