Australian Tourism Exchange goes hybrid for first time ever

Tourism Australia’s largest annual travel trade event opened in Sydney today, incorporating both live and online elements for the first time across two weeks.

The 41st edition of the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) is designed to connect tourism operators together with travel wholesalers and agents from Australia and around the world.

This year’s event is particularly significant, as it is the first time the tourism industry has gathered on such scale since pre-COVID.

The live three-day event, ATE Live, kicked off on Monday with a welcome by Tourism Minister Dan Tehan at the ICC Sydney, with more than 1,000 buyers and sellers in attendance from both Australia and New Zealand including inbound tour operators, luxe buyers, and specialist buyers.

ATE Online will follow from 10 to 17 June, and will facilitate connections with over 1,200 Australian sellers and international buyers who are unable to be in Australia in person.

More than 57,000 meetings have been created across ATE Live and ATE Online, with 99 per cent of buyer diaries being full.

Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison said that it was wonderful to look towards the industry’s future after one of the most challenging years on record for tourism.

“The tourism industry was one of the hardest hit, first by the impacts of the 2019-20 summer bushfires and then the COVID-19 pandemic, and while we know it will take time for the industry to fully recover, maintaining business connections is critical,” she said.

“Having the opportunity to bring together so many colleagues from the industry, both from within Australia and overseas, to make, maintain and develop invaluable links between Australian tourism operators and the global distribution network at ATE is more important than ever for ensuring Australia remains top of mind.

“While we look forward to the time when we can once again welcome back travellers from all our key markets around the world to experience our beautiful country, we continue to support our tourism operators, who are the lifeblood of our offering, through events such as ATE.”

Tourism Australia is facilitating ATE through full subsidisation of three nights’ accommodation for primary seller delegates and primary buyer delegates, as well as full subsidisation of the buyer and seller participation fees, through the $6.5 million in funding support from the National Bushfire Recovery Fund.

There are several other new elements to the 2021 ATE event. ATE Luxe is a new luxury program being trialled for the first time, and will take place across both ATE Live and ATE Online.

ATE Luxe is a bespoke opportunity for selected buyers and sellers who deliver high-end experiential products tailored to the luxury market.

The Aviation Program is also a new initiative for 2021, designed as an opportunity for airline and airport stakeholders to participate and meet with each other at ATE Live.

Senior airline representatives will be in attendance to participate in the Aviation Panel discussion on Tuesday, live recording of interviews with senior industry representatives are being hosted by CAPA, and there is exhibition space for airports and a lounge area for networking.

There are 25 airlines in attendance at ATE21, along with 14 Australian airports.

The ATE Live event is operating under COVID-19 safety measures set by the NSW government.