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Saturday, Nov 23, 2002

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Australia woos tourists from South

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TARGETTING the southern Silicon Triangle and tier-two cities in the country, the Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) is set to leverage the latent tourist potential here by wooing corporate and newer segments as there is perceptible shift in business opportunity in the country from a predominant western and northern region to the South.

The General Manager, South & South-East Asia, ATC, Ms Maggie White, told Business Line that the shift is perceptible following the growing number of middle-class working professionals driven by a few industry sectors.

"It is this young and mobile class of professionals we are targeting as tourists." ATC, which has the mandate to promote tourism, is on a mission to train travel agents across the country. This, the ATC plans to offer through a special online training programme termed ASP (Aussie Specialist Programme) which makes these travel agents IT savvy. Covering 19 modules, and spread over three parts, this provides travel agents an overview of the facilities and also experience a more fruitful association in tourism promotion.

Ms White said that the programme launched in the country would be gradually rolled out to other parts to cover travel agents all over the region. Apart from the training programme, these selected travel agents get a fully paid trip to Australia to experience various facilities and in turn share them and help in informed decision making for tourists.

"Increasingly, major multinationals are looking at Australia to reward their employees with holiday packages. This trend is set to go up by the day. For instance, Johnson & Johnson hosted a holiday for its employees in Sydney.

With pharmaceuticals, insurance, automotive and information technology verticals grow- ing, we expect more professionals to latch on to the tourism potential in Australia. Though India currently figures relatively lower at about 50,000 tourists, in terms of overall tourist traffic, we expect this to show a steady upward trend," Ms.White said.

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