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Tourism Futures

Educational travel boosting Australia's tourism industry

eTN Staff Writer  Jul 07, 2009

Often scorned for having limited practical experience and business savvy, it is the academics that are exceling in today’s extremely challenging business environment and are continuing to attract strong visitation to Australia.

Tourism industry identity and convenor of the Tourism Futures conference, Mr. Tony Charters is highlighting the success of the education sector in the lead up to the prestigious national conference sponsored by Tourism Queensland and Tourism Australia.

Since 2000, 46 percent of the total growth of Australia’s inbound tourism market has been derived from international education visitors.

Over the same period, international holiday makers have delivered just 14 percent of the total growth.

“Academics are easily stereotyped as being cosseted away from the cut and thrust of the business world, but when everyone else is reeling, it is the education sector providing a guiding light for the tourism industry,” said Mr. Charters.

“Tourism Futures is renowned for taking a forward looking agenda - casting an eye into the next decade - and while the industry and policy makers at all levels of government have some critical tactics to decide upon, it is refreshing to see one sector getting very impressive results.”

The ironic success of universities and the education sector could provide a footprint for marketing to key markets such as India and China.

“They obviously have very effective marketing strategies with good networks and communications channels,” said Mr. Charters.

“We should be prepared to closely examine their methods and strategies to look for a way forward for the broader industry.”

While education tourism represents just 6 percent of the incoming international tourism numbers it delivers 22 percent of the total revenue from inbound tourism.

Key countries responsible for this growth include India and China. Those nations, together with many south-east Asian countries, greatly value and invest heavily in western education for their children.

“Not only do academic institutions attract the students for their studies, but the students will almost always do some form of travel while they are here, as well as often attracting their families for visits and holidays.

“Once links are established with our country, there will be a natural affinity between the students and Australia that will stimulate visits again in the future. So there is an ongoing return from the success of the educational institutions,” said Mr. Charters.

Tourism Futures will be held from August 17-19 at the Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort & Spa, supported by the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation and Gold Coast Tourism, alongside Queensland Tourism and Tourism Australia.

For a conference program and to register, visit

Educational travel boosting Australia's tourism industry
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