The recent Queensland floods have not helped a tourism industry struggling through an already dramatic downturn - but operators are being urged to rebuild strategically.

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Daniel Gschwind.

 

Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) wants tourism businesses to rebuild by evaluating their products and keeping pace with changes demanded by domestic and international visitors. To assist, QTIC has created a state-wide Reshaping Queensland's Tourism Landscape program starting in Brisbane on February 19.

QTIC chief executive Daniel Gschwind said many operators would now be entering another rebuilding phase following on from recent weather disasters, but whether or not they were directly affected, businesses could never stay stagnant.

"The tourism industry signed up to the Queensland Government's DestinationQ partnership agreement with the goal of doubling visitor expenditure by 2020," Mr Gschwind said.

"QTIC believes to achieve this goal, the industry needs to constantly review its products and make customer-focused decisions to maintain successful business growth into the future.

"It is essential for tourism operators to renew their products and services if they want Queensland to be the number one tourism destination in Australia," Mr Gschwind said.

"QTIC is pleased to see many tourism operators are maintaining the momentum of post-flood efforts by repositioning themselves to remain viable.

"However, many more need to embrace a new way of thinking despite their fear about making business changes. It's time for Queensland tourism operators to get serious about better management of the overall tourism experience."

He said QTIC's state-wide business program, Reshaping Queensland's Tourism Landscape, provides tourism operators with tailor-made training, product analysis and quality service assessment.

Brisbane tourism operators are invited to register for the Brisbane Reshaping Queensland's Tourism Landscape program to be held on Tuesday, February 19.

The Reshaping program provides businesses with an opportunity to put into operation Tourism and Events Queensland's Hero Experience activity, developed in partnership with Regional Tourism Organisations.

The Hero Experience activity is supported by the State Government's $20 million Tourism Investment Strategy to support destination marketing and development. The project works to identify a suite of unique tourism selling points for Queensland destinations which can be used to guide marketing strategies, product development and renewal.

Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey agreed with QTIC's assessment that operators need to be prepared to adapt to change in order to meet visitor expectations.

"Many travellers have embraced new technology to the point where they have become almost totally reliant on it and as an industry we need to provide new options to avoid alienating a significant and growing share of the available marke," Ms Stuckey said.

"I would encourage all operators, where possible, to participate in the Reshaping Queensland's Tourism Landscape program."

The Reshaping Queensland's Tourism Landscape business development program costs $640 and includes a full-day facilitated session, combined with three hours of commercial-in-confidence coaching. The program can run in any location subject to a minimum of five attendees, according to Mr Gschwind.

Registrations for business development sessions (held in addition to the February 19 program in Brisbane) must be confirmed by the end of February 2013 and training sessions need to be undertaken before May 2013.

The program is subsidised by Skills Queensland's Strategic Investment Fund to support skills and workforce development.

QTIC is the state's peak body for tourism. The council is a not-for-profit membership organisation representing more than 3,000 regional members, operating in all sectors of the tourism industry.

Tel: (07) 3236 1445

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

http://www.qtic.com.au/

 

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The Destination Sydney consortium -- led by AEG Ogden with Lend Lease, Capella Capital and Spotless Facilities Services -- is the New South Wales Government's preferred developer of a rejuvenated and integrated convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct at Darling Harbour.

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SCEC and Darling Harbour will be transformed into an even more spectacular events precinct with ICC Sydney.

Dubbed the International Convention Centre (ICC Sydney), it will replace the existing Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. Construction will start in December this year and is due for completion in December 2016.

AEG Ogden, with its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Brisbane, is the leading venue manager in the Asia Pacific region and will be the operator of the $1.1 billion ICC Sydney.

AEG Ogden chairman and CEO Harvey Lister commended the NSW Government’s vision to create a world-class, integrated facility that will ensure Sydney is a leading player in the business and events industries well into the 21st century.

“AEG Ogden is privileged and excited by the opportunity to work with Government and industry in ensuring the venue is a key contributor to economic growth in Sydney," Mr Lister said.

“ICC Sydney is destined to be a showcase international venue in one of the world’s leading cities and is a welcome addition to the AEG Ogden family of award winning venues in Australia, Asia and the Middle East."

AEG Ogden’s director of convention centres, Geoff Donaghy said the new venue, featuring waterfront facilities in a prime CBD location, would position Sydney as one of the world’s most desirable meeting destinations.

“Utilising our international operational and marketing experience and our global venue network, we plan on taking the meeting and events business to a new level through ICC Sydney,” Mr Donaghy said.

Mr Donaghy, who will also assume the role as CEO of the new venue’s management company and is a former chairman of the Business Events Council of Australia, said the ICC Sydney would include a convention facility capable of holding four fully separated concurrent events of over 12,000 delegates in a total exhibition capacity of 40,000sqm.

There would be an external event deck of 5,000sqm featuring spectacular views of the Sydney CBD and a premier red carpet theatre with a capacity of 8,000 suitable for international entertainment acts and being used for major convention plenary sessions.

There would be a Grand Ballroom to provide Sydney’s premium banqueting space for more than 2,000 and a new ICC hotel complex with up to 900 rooms.

Destination Sydney will take control of the project and site in December 2013 when construction of the new facility begins. The ICC Sydney will replace the existing Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Up to 1,600 jobs will be created in the construction period, according to AEG Ogden, which is a joint venture between Australian interests (AEG Ogden originally began managing the Brisbane Entertainment Centre when it opened in 1986) and AEG Facilities of the United States.

AEG Ogden manages venues throughout the Asia Pacific region, including the Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Kuala Lumpur and Qatar and Oman (under construction) Convention Centres, Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane and live theatres including Perth’s His Majesty’s Theatre and the Perth Concert Hall. Sydney’s Allphones Arena, the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, the Newcastle Entertainment Centre, and the Perth Arena.

In Western Australia, AEG Ogden also manages the State Theatre Centre, Albany Entertainment Centre, and Subiaco Arts Centre.

AEG, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Anschutz Company, is the leading sports, entertainment and venue operator in the world.

AEG Facilities, a stand-alone affiliate of AEG, owns, operates or consults with 100 of the industry’s preeminent venues worldwide, across five continents, and works in concert with affiliated AEG entities, including live event producer, AEG Live, AEG Global Partnerships, AEG Development and AEG 1Earth to support the success of AEG venues across the globe.

AEG owns, operates or provides services to venues including STAPLES Center (Los Angeles, Calif.), The Home Depot Center (Carson, Calif.), Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE (Los Angeles, Calif.), Citizens Business Bank Arena (Ontario, Calif.), Valley View Casino Center (San Diego, Calif.) Sprint Center (Kansas City, Mo.), XL Center and Rentschler Field (Hartford, Conn.), The Rose Garden (Portland, Ore.), KeyArena (Seattle, Wash.), KFC YUM! Center (Louisville, Ky.), American Airlines Arena (Miami, Fla.), AT&T Center (San Antonio, Texas), Time Warner Cable Arena (Charlotte, N.C.), Prudential Center (Newark, N.J.), Target Center (Minneapolis, Minn.), Mercedes-Benz Arena (Shanghai, China), MasterCard Center (Beijing, China), The O2 Arena (London, England), O2 World (Berlin, Germany), O2 World Hamburg (Hamburg, Germany), Ahoy Arena (Rotterdam, Netherlands), Pernambuco Stadium (Recife, Brazil), Allphones Arena (Sydney, Australia), Globe Arenas (Stockholm, Sweden), Ulker Sports Arena (Istanbul, Turkey) and the Qatar National Convention Centre (Doha, Qatar).

www.aegogden.com

www.aegworldwide.com

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Accommodation booking portal Wotif.com has found Queensland remained Australia's top destination state in 2011 - even in spite of the natural disasters it faced in January and February.

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Links Hope Island Golf Course illustrates the broad appeal of Queensland.

 

Wotif also found Sydney to hold its mantle as the top destination city in Australia, followed by Melbourne, the Gold Coast and then Brisbane.

The Wotif list is based on more than 250,000 bookings per month by Wotif.com customers in 2011.

Queensland managed to hold the most represented state status, with eight destinations in Australia's top 20 including Gold Coast, Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville, Port Douglas, Mackay and Airlie Beach.

Wotif Brands general manager Megan Magill said it was great to see Queensland maintain its place in the tourist market after a tough year.

"2011 was a challenging year for a lot of tourism operators in Queensland with floods and cyclones," Ms Magill said.

"Despite this we've still seen some exceptional growth in regional areas of Queensland, like Rockhampton, which is largely due to more affordable flights and better access via rail and coach.

"This great result is a real testament to the dedication and hard work of tourism operators in Queensland," Ms Magill said.

New South Wales was the next closest state, with five destinations in the top 20 Australian list.

Queensland's complete top 10 destinations in 2011, with the top eight's order unchanged from last year were Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Townsville, Port Douglas, Mackay, Airlie Beach, and Rockhampton overtook Hervey Bay.

Australia's Top 20 destinations list was compiled based on bookings made through Wotif.com during 2011 and included a mix of capital cities and regional areas.

This list order was unchanged from last year: Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Sunshine Coast, Canberra, Cairns, Hobart, Darwin, Townsville, Newcastle, Launceston-Tamar Valley, Port Douglas, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay, Mackay and Airlie Beach.

Headquartered in Brisbane, Wotif.com sells accommodation online in over 66 countries.

http://www.wotif.com/

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has granted authorisation for Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines (SIA) to enter into an integrated network aviation alliance.

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Singapore Airlines A380: more lift for ally Virgin Australia

 

For business travellers it means earning and redemption of frequent flyer miles on SIA and Virgin Australia flights by the end of the year and codesharing is expected to commence early next year.

Under the alliance, SIA and Virgin Australia will codeshare on each other’s international and domestic flights, offer reciprocal frequent flyer programme benefits and lounge access and  co-ordinate schedules between Singapore and Australia and beyond to provide seamless connections.

Commercially, it means joint sales, marketing and distribution activities.

Draft approval was awarded by the ACCC on October 13. On October 20 the Competition Commission of Singapore announced its approval of the alliance.

"The ACCC considers that the alliance is likely to lead to increased competition for international air passenger services," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

Under the alliance, the airlines will cooperate on all aspects of their Australia–Singapore services and any international and domestic connecting routes, including joint pricing and scheduling and joint marketing and sales.

 

"The ability to offer a comprehensive international and domestic network, along with enhanced frequent flyer and lounge products, is likely to be attractive to both corporate and government passengers," Mr Sims said.

 

The ACCC view is that the alliance is unlikely to be significantly anti-competitive in any of the relevant markets. The parties currently compete on a limited number of routes where competitor airlines are in a position to constrain the alliance’s price and service decisions.

 

While noting SIA’s shareholding in Tiger Airways Holdings, the ACCC considered that the alliance was unlikely to lessen Tiger Airways Australia’s incentive to compete in the domestic market.

 

Authorisation provides immunity from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.

 

www.singaporeair.com 

 

www.virginaustralia.com  

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Philips senior director and head of strategic sustainability for its Energy and Climate Change division, Harry Verhaar, will join world-renowned keynote speakers Richard Branson and Rudy Giuliani at the 2011 Asia Pacific Cities Summit (APCS) being hosted by Brisbane from July 6-8.

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Brisbane's South Bank is fully operational again and ready to receive Asia Pacific Cities Summit delegates from up to100 global cities in July.

 

Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk  said he was delighted to announce Mr Verhaar, a highly regarded international figure in the climate change effort, as the event's third international keynote speaker.

"As a thought leader in the area of sustainability and climate change throughout the world, I welcome Mr Verhaar as the third keynote speaker at the 2011 Asia Pacific Cities Summit," Councillor Quirk said.

"Mr Verhaar will address the implications of city infrastructure choices on climate change and how pursuing environmental benefits also makes cities more liveable by revitalising public spaces, and creating notable health benefits."

Cr Quirk said Mr Verhaar's announcement now complements former Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani and founder of the Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson as the third international keynote speaker at the 2011 APCS.

"We now have a keynote speaker who is a global identity with exceptional entrepreneurial expertise, one with vast experience in government and leadership, especially in leading during times of crisis, and now, a forward-looking business leader who can talk about urban sustainability and the benefits of economical, ecological and social development," Cr Quirk said.

"Mr Verhaar is renowned for being an active member of many climate change groups including The Climate Group, World Green Building Council and several UN organisations, and he was most recently part of the UN's COP16 Climate Change Conference in Cancun and previously Copenhagen in 2009," Cr Quirk said.

Mr Verhaar welcomed the opportunity to be part of the international forum.

"The 2011 Asia Pacific Cities Summit, to be held in Brisbane, is a wonderful opportunity for leaders and delegates from across the region to interact and learn from each other," Mr Verhaar said.

"As Philips senior director of Energy and Climate Change, I hope to give examples of regional and local authorities taking a leadership role in driving change from the ground up," he said.

Cr Quirk echoed this sentiment and said he was keen to use the summit as an opportunity to showcase that Brisbane is fast becoming a leading green city and to demonstrate Brisbane's place as Australia's new world city.

"Through the summit's business matching program, delegates will be able to forge international business partnerships with the world's fastest growing market - the Asia Pacific region and I encourage local business and civic leaders to join this forum," Cr Quirk said.

Cr Quirk added that Brisbane is definitely back to business following the January floods and the summit is another way to showcase this to the world.

"This July we will welcome business and government delegates from up to 100 cities, with 80 cities already committed, including 19 from East Asia, 10 from South East Asia, 35 from Australasia, seven from South Asia as well as cities from Europe, Africa, Middle East, North Asia and the Americas," he said.

"The summit will deliver considerable trade and investment opportunities to help boost the economy.

"In Incheon in 2009, deals for Brisbane companies brokered through the summit in South Korea were in the vicinity of $4million and continue to increase," Cr Quirk said.

"Already, through the 2011 APCS business matching program, a Brisbane-based company is in advanced negotiations with an Asian business for a contract that could generate around $50million in export opportunities annually," he said.

The biennial APCS is an integral part of Brisbane City Council's economic development agenda to generate international networks and drive business opportunities for Brisbane businesses throughout the Asia Pacific and beyond.

The APCS, an initiative of Brisbane City Council, supported by the Queensland Government as principal partner, with platinum sponsors ANZ and IBM, will take place at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from July 6-8. 

This year's summit is themed The Business of Cities, and will focus on three streams: the business of green cities, the business of growing cities, and the business of smart and connected cities.

www.apcsummit.org

Tel: +61 7 3858 5582

Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister from 1997-2007, is making his first speaking appearances in Australasia since leaving office, this week in Brisbane and Perth.

Mr Blair will be sharing his unique insights and experiences in leadership, negotiation and innovation to audiences in Brisbane on Thursday evening and Perth on Friday.

Mr Blair has been described as one of the defining politicians of our times and, as audiences at the Brisbane and Perth Convention and Exhibition Centres are set to discover, is one of the most engaging, respected and in-demand speakers of this generation.

In addition to his experience in office and his influence on world politics, Mr Blair continues to play a leadership role on issues such as faith and globalization, the Middle East peace process, African governance and climate change.

According to event sponsor Anthony Pratt, chairman and CEO of Visy, Mr Blair's visit will be a unique opportunity to hear from one of the world's most admired leaders.

"I first met Tony Blair in 2006 and we share a common interest in finding solutions to the challenges of climate change that bring business, government, and the environmental community together," Mr Pratt said.

"I also admire the role he is playing as an international statesman. So I'm delighted that Australian audiences will be able to hear from him in person."

Mr Blair's memoir, A Journey: My Political Life, was released in September 2010 and made the New York Times Best-seller List within a week of its release.

The two Leadership, Negotiaition and Innovation events are supported by the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce which promotes business links between the countries.

http://www.aicc.org.au/

 

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CORPORATE Travel Management (CTM) has made a strategic move into the East Asian travel market by acquiring one of the region's best-known brands, Westminster Travel, which has offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Macau and Taiwan.

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Jamie Pherous.

CTM founder and managing director, Jamie Pherous, said the group's A$49.2 million purchase of 75.1 percent of Westminster Travel would become effective on January 31, 2014. 

The two current major shareholders of Westminster, which is listed on Singapore's Catalyst Exchange, Dato Wong Sin Just and Yu Kam Yee Lawrence, will retain 24.9 percent and remain active in the business following settlement. That stake is to be held by Ever Prestige, a special purpose vehicle jointly owned by Dato Wong and Mr Yu.

Westminster Travel is a multiple award-winning pan-Asia travel management and services provider. Westminster started in Hong Kong and has been operating for 40 years, achieving compound annual growth in NPAT of 19 percent over the last five years.

Mr Pherous, said the acquisition was a natural step to maximise regional business opportunities for both companies following several years of their respective management teams collaborating on networking clients and joint tenders together.

"The acquisition of Westminster Travel fast-tracks our entry into the Asian travel market, delivering an immediate, mature footprint in five key countries and territories," Mr Pherous said.

"After working with their management team for several years, it became clear to us that Westminster Travel possesses all of the qualities we look for - a highly experienced and passionate management team, a business culture which values its people and its clients, and new opportunities to grow together through a regional client offering."

"Like us, Westminster Travel has been recognised by its industry as a leading provider in its region and has innovation as a core driver of the way it does business - evidenced by its focus on client-facing solutions created through in-house development platforms."

Dato Wong said the move was a natural progression for Westminster Travel's growth.

"For our business to continue to grow in the coming years, it was clear to us that we needed to have an international partnership in place," said Dato Wong.

"The challenge was to find a company which not only held the same growth aspirations as ourselves, but which also placed a high value on its staff and exceptional customer service, and we have found that with CTM.

"We have so much confidence in the opportunities ahead for our business that we have decided to retain an ownership interest, and we look forward to building and expanding the business together with CTM's management."

This financial year Westminster Travel has had sales with an audited total transaction value (TTV) of about A$740 million, with an A$9.32 million EBITDA and an NPAT result of A$7.32 million.

CTM has revised its 2014 financial year EBITDA guidance to $27.0m-$28.0m based on Westminster Travel's contribution for the five month period of February 2014 to June 2014, and CTM's execution in the Australia/New Zealand and USA operations continuing to trade in line with previous guidance.
Mr Pherous said together with Westminster Travel management, CTM will now work through a transition plan to maximise the combined opportunities on offer.

Morgan Corporate Limited and CIMB Bank Berhad, Singapore branch acted as joint financial adviser to CTM.

CTM has been acknowledged by the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) as the Best Corporate Agency in Australia eight times in the past 10 years and was inducted into AFTA's Hall of Fame in 2010 for continued excellence. CTM was the first Queensland Leaders member company to go through to listing on the Australian Securities Exchange and has since become a partner in the organisation that helps to foster the next generation of leading companies based in Queensland.

Westminster Travel has been awarded as the Best Travel Agency in Hong Kong four times in the past six years.

http://www.travelctm.com

www.westminstertravel.com

www.queenslandleaders.com.au

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