Tourism Australia and Etihad Airways have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at bringing more visitors from the Middle East, UK and Europe to Australia by leveraging the airline’s expanding international network.
Under the new strategic marketing agreement, the signatories will together invest up to A$6 million over the next three years in a range of cooperative programs targeting visitors from the Middle East, UK and Europe.
Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy pointed to the airline’s recent decision to upgrade its three-times-per-week Brisbane service to a daily operation as evidence of its continued Australian expansion plans.
"In just five years of flying to Australia, Etihad Airways has demonstrated a strong and growing commitment to its Australian operations. Thanks to its rapidly expanding international network, Etihad Airways is feeding increasing numbers of passengers onto Australia bound flights through its Abu Dhabi hub, particularly from Australia's traditional high volume markets of the UK and Europe,” Mr McEvoy said.
Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said Australia was strategically important to Etihad Airways and contributed significantly to the airline's bottom line.
"We not only have 16 per cent of our global seat capacity dedicated to the route but also major investments in community assets like Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium,” Mr Hogan said.
Hr Hogan said the airline’s game-changing partnership and codeshare strategy was one of the key enablers of its investment in Australian tourism and specifically, the new strategic marketing agreement with Tourism Australia.
“Tourism Australia is doing an impressive job creating demand throughout Europe for business and leisure travel to Australia. Our partnerships with airberlin, Air France-KLM, Alitalia and Czech Airlines, are tapping into this demand and, significantly, are offering flights to Australia from destinations throughout Europe that were previously offline.
“On top of that, our partnership with Virgin Australia adds another powerful dimension to the marketing of Australian tourism. As well as giving overseas visitors a wider choice of destinations within Australia, helping to disperse them around the country, it also delivers major benefits to the Australian economy, domestic tourism operators and regional communities.
“There is a great natural synergy between the MoU with Tourism Australia and our airline partnerships, particularly the one with Virgin Australia. In fact, Etihad Airways and Tourism Australia have already started planning a major campaign for the first half of 2013 – together with Virgin Australia – in order to leverage the synergies of the airlines’ joint networks and cooperative marketing spends,” Mr Hogan said.
Mr McEvoy added that markets covered by the arrangement aligned strongly with Tourism Australia's balanced portfolio approach and were critical to Australian tourism achieving its Tourism 2020 strategic goal of doubling annual overnight visitor expenditure to up to A$140 billion by the end of the decade.
Under the new marketing partnership and in line with its continuing efforts to speak with ‘one voice’ in its international marketing, Tourism Australia and Etihad Airways will jointly seek involvement of the States and Territories in future cooperative campaigns.