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ATE: Tourism Australia signs airline deals worth $80 million

VIRGIN AUSTRALIA REGIONAL BRANSON 2 EDITED

Tourism Australia has signed two massive airline deals at Australian Tourism Exchange with Virgin Australia and Etihad Airways worth AUD$80 million over five years.

Leading the way, Tourism Australia and Virgin Australia have announced their intent to renew their ongoing relationship which will see the two parties jointly spend AUD$50 million over the next five years promoting Australia to leisure and business travellers in key international markets.

The new deal represents the largest ever commercial arrangement Tourism Australia has entered into with an airline partner and builds on a successful existing three year arrangement with Virgin Australia.

Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O’Sullivan, said the new agreement will provide valuable support for Tourism Australia’s global campaigns and marketing activities, as well as some of the industry’s most important trade and business events.

“Building strong and sustainable relationships with our airline partners has become a key plank in our growth strategy and nowhere has this approach been more productive than in our evolving partnership with Virgin Australia, particularly some of the great recent work we’ve been doing together in the United States,” he said.

“At AUD$50 million this is a very significant deal in financial terms and also in its scope, covering marketing campaigns, trade and business events as well as media hosting he said.

As one of Australia’s largest airlines, with a network of 47 domestic destinations and more than 450 destinations worldwide, Virgin Australia plays an important role in facilitating the travel of international visitors to and around Australia.

Virgin Australia Chief Executive Officer John Borghetti said: “Virgin Australia recognises the importance of working closely with Tourism Australia to promote this great country to the world. This renewed deal demonstrates a significant increase in our investment and commitment to inbound tourism.

“In recent years we have captured the attention of international audiences through major campaigns and tourism initiatives including ‘Someday’ and ‘Restaurant Australia’, the largest campaign ever run by Tourism Australia in the United States.

“Virgin Australia is fortunate to have four of the best airline partners in the world – Air New Zealand, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines – all of whom are invested in supporting Australia’s growth as a business and leisure destination. We look forward to working closely with our partners and Tourism Australia to market Australia on the world stage in innovative and powerful ways,” Borghetti said.

The primary marketing focus of the deal will be the United States, Australia’s fourth largest inbound market, currently worth more than AUD$2.6 billion in annual tourism expenditure and predicted to grow up to AUD$5.5 billion by 2020.

In addition, the agreement will cover targeted support for Tourism Australia’s premier trade and business events program, including continued support of Australia’s largest tourism and trade events, Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) and Dreamtime. Virgin Australia will also host travel for international and domestic influential visitors such as media, delegates and business and trade decision makers.

Tourism Australia and Etihad Airways have deepened their commercial partnership by signing a five-year, AUD$30 million marketing deal to promote Australia to leisure and business travellers in key overseas markets.

The new ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ – signed on Monday 22 June at the Australian Tourism Exchange in Melbourne – extends an existing three-year deal worth A$12 million which expires this year.

Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O’Sullivan, said the new deal highlighted Etihad Airways’ commitment to the Australian market.

“We’re delighted to further strengthen our relationship with Etihad Airways. This is a landmark agreement which will provide valuable support for Tourism Australia’s global campaigns and marketing activities, as well as some of the industry’s most important trade and business events,” he said.

“Through their strong global footprint, particularly within Europe and their global partnerships, Etihad Airways is now one of Tourism Australia’s most important aviation partners, actively supporting some of our most important international campaigns and playing a critical role feeding traffic to Australia’s key international gateways,” O’Sullivan said.

Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, said: “Today’s announcement of a further $30M over five years to promote Australia overseas reinforces Etihad Airways’ commitment to the Australian market.

“It’s pleasing to see our continuing investment in Australian tourism attracting more and more visitors each year and delivering economic benefits to tourism operators Australia-wide.

“Etihad Airways and its partner airlines – notably airberlin, Alitalia, Air Serbia, Air France/KLM and Virgin Australia – offer a combined network of more than 180 cities throughout Europe and Australia, positioning us as enablers of sustainable tourism growth, and offering consumers greater choice and better connectivity.

“Together we add real muscle to Tourism Australia’s efforts to promote tourism from overseas and enable visitors to see more of Australia while here.

“Plus, when it comes to the flying experience, there’s not another airline operating to Australia that offers travellers the level of luxury, comfort and service of Etihad Airways’ all-new A380 and B787 Dreamliner fleet with their revolutionary new first, business and economy class cabins.”

The primary focus of the deal will be promoting Australia to international leisure and business travellers within Europe – specifically rolling out new tourism campaigns in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy.

In addition, the agreement will cover targeted support for Tourism Australia’s trade and business events program, including continued support for Dreamtime. The airline will also provide international tickets for media/trade and business events famil programs.

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