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The Insight Files
Consumer trends and news curated by Tourism Australia
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The hardest thing we’ve done…changing our culture

The hardest thing we’ve done…changing our culture | The Insight Files |

The digital revolution is all the time creating so much that is new - networked citizens, new paradigms for value creation, new ways to solve problems and learn, work, govern and lead. The extraordinary growth, both in the capability of new technologies and the creativity of new business models are at the heart of much of it. This article outlines five key lessons observed by the outgoing CEO of Telstra:


  1. Providing great customer service is no longer optional.
  2. Reinvention is essential to remain relevant.
  3. Culture beats strategy every time, but you still need a strategy.
  4. Innovation and creativity is essential.
  5. A new leadership paradigm is needed.


Find out more.

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Which countries boast the best-looking locals?

Which countries boast the best-looking locals? | The Insight Files |

When one considers the reasons behind destination choice, one might think of a destination's cultural offerings, its food, its historical landmarks and so on. But surely the attractiveness of its people will have some bearing on the decision? According to a recent survey from MissTravel, the best-looking men can be found in Ireland (followed by Australia), while the best-looking women are in Armenia (Australian women come in 6th place). Could this be why international luxury travel network Virtuoso is seeing 137% growth in the popularity of destination Australia in the past 12 months? Click here to view the complete list of rankings.

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G Adventures authentic, local travel experiences a hit

G Adventures authentic, local travel experiences a hit | The Insight Files |

FROM spearfishing with Aborigines in tropical north Queensland to playing lawn bowls with the locals in Yamba, travellers are embracing travel experiences in which they can engage with the community.


Since introducing immersive, authentic trips in Australia in January, the Canadian founder of adventure travel company G Adventures, Bruce Poon Tip, says he has been overwhelmed by the response.


The company has 20 itineraries in Australia and plans to double the number next year.


"It was the fastest start-up program we have ever had," Mr Poon Tip says.

"We have been adding more departures as we have gone."


Other experiences in the itineraries include sleeping in a swag under the stars on a working cattle station near Rockhampton and in shearers' quarters on a sheep farm at Nundle in the New South Wales Outback.


The Australian trips are mostly aimed at international tourists, but Poon Tip has been surprised at the number of domestic bookings. About 20 per cent of guests who book the tours are Australian.


While many companies offer touristy indigenous experiences such as cultural performances, Poon Tip said he wanted to give travellers the opportunity to really engage with local communities.


G Adventures has made its mark in developing countries around the world with a focus on sustainable tourism and aims to change people's lives through travel and bring money back to local communities.


"People are going to more remote areas," says Poon Tip, who spoke recently at the Australian Tourism Export Council's annual symposium in Adelaide.


"We have found in recent times travellers are more attracted to open spaces than ever before, like Mongolia, Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands.

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How culture and heritage tourism boosts more than a visitor economy

How culture and heritage tourism boosts more than a visitor economy | The Insight Files |

Culture and heritage tourism plays a critical role in building the visitor economy and goes even beyond that. A recent survey showed that over 50% of respondents polled agreed that history and culture are strong influences on their choice of holiday destination. Statistics also indicate that culture and heritage tourism continues to grow as rapidly, especially in OECD and APEC regions. The global value of culture and heritage tourism is valued at well over $1 billion, with that of the Asia Pacific region being approximately $327 million. It is already directly responsible for over 50 million jobs in APEC countries, with the indirect benefits of culture and heritage tourism thought to be of the order of $1 billion and accounting for a further 75 million jobs across the region. 

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Food foraging the next travel trend in Australia, says gastronomic tourism expert David Scott

Food foraging the next travel trend in Australia, says gastronomic tourism expert David Scott | The Insight Files |

GASTRONOMIC tourism continues to be a hot commodity in the travel industry, as Australians search for more in-depth cultural experiences.


Southern Cross University lecturer David Scott believes food and wine festivals and foraging for food will be the next big things.

He says people are moving away from passive tourism, such as gazing at historic monuments and natural attractions, to a deeper engagement with locals for authentic experiences.

"Western tourists are looking for something that is transformational; something that will change them," says Scott, who teaches the SCU and Le Cordon Bleu online Master of Gastronomic Tourism.

"These experiences happen through the culture of a destination and the consumption of food.

"You're not just going to a vineyard to look at the wine but also to understand the culture.

"It's (about) the engagement with the grower, hearing stories (and) knowing that it's local food. "The ethical consumer is becoming more interested in sustainability, where farmers are getting a fair go." The growth of farmers' markets and market tours in Australia and worldwide is proof of this.

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Authentic experience key growing cultural tourism

Authentic experience key growing cultural tourism | The Insight Files |

More Australian are seeking an authentic indigenous holiday but demand from overseas visitors is still slow.


For many overseas visitors to Australia, their one exposure to indigenous culture might be watching a corroboree at a resort, or seeing a busker play a didgeridoo in the shopping mall.


The tourism industry, however, wants to create more authentic and diverse experiences, and also to create more jobs for indigenous people.


John King from the Australian Tourism Export Council is one of those leading this push.


He says there's strong evidence that tourists want more authentic cultural holidays in Australia.


"That's coming out in a lot of the research," he said."It's also coming back from feedback from people who in many cases express disappointment that either they had no opportunity for an indigenous cultural or tourism engagement or that it's been somewhat superficial."


Brian Lee is an is an indigenous tourism operator in Western Australia, near Broome.He says most of the demand for his cultural tours is coming from within Australia."We have a few internationals come through," he said.

"For us the international markets are mainly German, Swiss and a couple of Italians have come out."


The focus on cultural tourism is creating more employment opportunities for indigenous Australians wanting to work in hospitality.


Koos Klein from Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia says one quarter of his company's workforce is now indigenous, and it is operating training centres to further boost that number.


"We want to bring that to 50 per cent of total employees by 2018," he said.

"We guarantee graduates from these training centres a job once they have completed their course."


John King says there are several tourism companies in urban and rural parts of Australia that are now also realising the benefits of offering more indigenous tourism employment opportunities.


John King, National Indigenous Tourism Business Leader with the Australian Tourism Export Council.

Koos Klein, managing director of Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia.

Brian Lee, indigenous tourism operator in Western Australia, near Broome.

Steve Dann's comment, June 20, 2013 7:00 AM
This would be an interesting investigation
Sergi Tudela's comment, June 20, 2013 8:54 PM
Hi Steve, thank you for your comment. It is definitely something to consider when it comes to the authenticity of the traveler's experience. I believe the indigenous culture should be part of an overseas travel visitor as well as an Australian resident. Very interesting indeed.