Welcome everybody and thank you for taking the time to be here. I particularly acknowledge Tony South, who is the Chair of Tourism Australia, and his team, and to Vito from Virgin who is Tourism Australia’s major airline partner, who we will be talking to afterwards. Also to Richard Tognetti from the Australian Chamber Orchestra – how good was that? I said to Richard afterwards that gave me goose bumps just listening to the indigenous song and also the rest of the performance – a clear demonstration of the breadth of the experience that you will receive if you come to our wonderful country. So thanks Richard and thank you to your orchestra for being with us – they have been fantastic tonight – and congratulations to you on your performance.

Australia is in a really wonderful place at the moment, despite the currency fluctuations, despite other things that are happening around the world at the moment we have seen a continued growth in our international visitor numbers for a considerable period of time now. We know that we are in a global market, we know that market is super competitive and that market is looking for an authentic and genuine experience and that’s what we would like the Australian international tourism experience to be. And I think you will see a demonstration of that tonight in the presentation.

We know that we sit at the top of the global aspiration but what we would like to do is to convert that aspiration into visitation and that’s why it is so important that we have strong friendships and strong relationships directly through the market. And the real value of those relationships in our key markets, and why our officials, our staff at Tourism Australia and Austrade work so hard to develop that strength in relationships, because we need to understand what you’re thinking, what your customers are thinking and then how can we compete to make sure that the offering we have lives up to the expectation and attracts those who aspire to come to our fantastic country.

So we sincerely appreciate your attendance here as important partners in one of our key markets. We appreciate the fact that so many of you have taken the time out to be part of our Australia and US Business Week and part of one of Tourism Australia’s key marketing programs. We have from Australia a number of providers of quality products and we hope the interaction between you and them over these coming days, as part of this program, really does provide the opportunity for us to meet our aspirations to welcome so many more people from North America to our wonderful shores.

Now a couple of things about our latest campaign; Jane indicated to you that the focus is on one of our great natural attributes which is our aquatic and our coastal regions – now that could be anything from Ningaloo in the West to the Great Barrier Reef in the East or from the Three Capes Track in Tasmania to the wonderful Katherine Gorge of the Northern Territory. So it doesn’t matter whether it is north, south, east or west, we have something pretty spectacular or, for that matter, whether it is the Murray River that runs inland through Australia and shows you some of our wonderful food producing areas – another one of our great attributes that’s been part of our marketing campaign for a period of time for Restaurant Australia, which will continue, alongside our aquatic and coastal campaign.

Now I did just happen to pick up the recognition of the fact that, despite that Australia is the star in the campaign, it does feature Chris Hemsworth. Another one of our natural attributes. Chris puts forward the proposition that Australia is not only a place that you see – it’s a place that you feel. The fact that Chris brings such amazing star quality to the campaign and recognition, particularly in this market, is something that is really important to us. We are really pleased that his involvement will continue to evolve over the campaign and we’re absolutely delighted that he’s been prepared to take up a position in that campaign. Now I do realise that I’m standing between you and your dinner so I’m going to promise to be as short as possible. So please enjoy this Summit, again, thank you so much for taking the time and the opportunity to be here and if you haven’t seen our aquatic and coastal campaign clip, here it comes now and it’s a clear demonstration as to why There is nothing like Australia!

Thank you all for being here and enjoy the conference

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