Tell us about your business
Tourism Australia is the Australian Government agency responsible for attracting international visitors to Australia, both for leisure and business events. The organisation is active in 15 key markets, with Singapore being the sixth largest market by arrivals in 2019 (pre-COVID). Activities that we undertake include advertising, PR and media programs, trade shows and industry programs, consumer promotions, online communications and consumer research. While the COVID-19 pandemic has basically grounded all forms of travel, we maintained engagement with consumers through our always-on brand campaign and content amplification to continue inspiring bucket list travel ideas and planning for when travel resumes. We have also pivoted to webinars, virtual tours and online trade events to support training and maintain relationships between the Singapore travel trade and Australian tourism industry operators.
What’s your role all about?
An essential component of my role as Country Manager is to ensure strategic direction to drive Tourism Australia’s activities and partnerships in Singapore. Beyond destination marketing, we focus mainly on tactical conversion with our aviation and distribution partners to target leisure consumers and Business Events opportunities in driving increased inbound economic benefits for Australia. At the same time, we are working with key stakeholders from government departments, State Tourism Offices to the Australian industry operators to create and develop a range of travel experiences to inspire Singaporeans to explore more of Australia for a truly immersive travel experience.
What’s the hot topic in your sector right now?
Sustainability and Indigenous. For an increasing number of travelers, it is no longer just about enjoying a place while on holiday. It is about adding value while visiting – value to the place, and to one’s self. At Tourism Australia (TA), we are conscious of the importance of respecting and protecting the communities, cultures and lands that are so central to Australia’s destination appeal.
From engaging in the works of nature or wildlife conservancy, discussing ancient stories and contemporary art forms with local Aboriginal artists to getting hands-on with local producers, there are plenty of ways for sustainable travel in Australia. In striving to achieve this, TA advocates in showcasing sustainable and purpose driven tourism products and experiences, highlighting and encouraging industry best practices to raise awareness and to establish sustainable credentials for our partners, suppliers and operators.
Australia’s Indigenous Culture and Heritage is also an important pillar of our sustainability approach. TA’s recently updated Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) reaffirms our commitment to reconciliation and supporting respectful and productive relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, enabling greater cultural awareness and preservation of our cultural heritage.
Why are you a member of AustCham in Singapore?
To be part of the AustCham Singapore network, where we get to meet with different industry groups, foster business connections and to explore collaborative opportunities. In doing so, it is hopefully an opportunity to strengthen relationships and contribute positively toward the wider Australia-Singapore business community.
Where are your favourite places to go to relax in Singapore?
Top on my go-to places is the Singapore Botanic Gardens, where they remain largely undisturbed by urbanisation. There are lovely corners within the gardens for a leisurely stroll, gentle grassy slopes around Heliconia Walk for picnics, plus a good variety of restaurants and cafes within the vicinity, with some of my favourites being The Halia at Ginger Garden, Micro Bakery and Orh Gao Taproom in nearby Serene Centre, not forgetting those lovely cafes and boutique grocers in Cluny Court as well.
What are your predictions for the next 12 months?
Despite prevailing travel restrictions, optimism towards international travel in recent months has been fueled by higher vaccination rates amongst the resident population. Recent consumer surveys and data also showed that Singaporeans are becoming more optimistic about year-end holidays. As vaccination rates ramp up and with a stronger approach towards managing COVID-19 endemically, we continue to prepare for various scenarios for resuming travel to Australia– including scenario such as reopening potentially led initially by students and VFR (Visiting Friends and Relatives), followed by leisure travelers as air capacity increases to more gateways.