The Backpacker and Adventure Industry Forum, hosted by YHA was held this week at Byron Bay’s Community Centre. Approximately 150 delegates attended the event, mainly YHA hostel managers but also local operators, a strong Gold Coast contingent, plus transport and adventure reps and of course The Byte as your media.
Julian Ledger, CEO YHA Ltd, gave a briefing on industry updates, followed by Kristy Carstairs, Tourism Australia, highlighting the in market TA campaign, giving an insight to how the $10m youth market campaign is being wisely spent.
It was great to see Greyhound Australia finally back at a youth sector lectern, with Alex de Waal, CEO Greyhound Australia, launching the new Greyhound campaign (Whimit) and being open and honest about the paths our national coach carrier is taking.
The inimitable David Cox, Youth Specialist, Destination Gold Coast, presented on the success of their marketing strategies aimed at the backpacker and youth markets and how marketing has changed from mass marketing to peer reviews and social media. ‘Personalise or perish, engage with your market’, were the takeaways here as your market are also your brand ambassadors who can make or break your business.
Questions to our learned panel opened up with: “what can industry do collectively for tourism”? Tourism Australia’s Kristy Carstairs was very upbeat indicating the youth sector in Australia does exceptionally well compared to other countries around the world. Government haven’t been on our side regarding tax for working holiday makers and there has been plenty of bad publicity around treatment of workers on farms. Focus groups held recently in the UK and Germany by TA shows these agendas do not even register with travellers coming to our sunny shores.
The initial phase for TA’s spending has been completed. UK and Germany working visas have slowed down and this is where the next phase of TA spending will focus. Look out for Kristy next week at the WYSE conference in Sydney.
All in all a vibrant and well presented morning, kindly hosted by YHA.
What do you think industry can do better for backpacker / youth tourism in Australia?
Written by Mike Barrow