Tourism Australia today announced Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, as its gold airline partner for the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE14), Australia’s largest annual travel and tourism business-to-business event taking place for the first time this year in Cairns.
ATE14 will see around 600 ‘buyer’ delegates from 38 countries and approximately 1,200 Australian ‘seller’ delegates converge in Cairns, Queensland from 11 – 15 May 2014, the first time the event will be held in a regional destination in its 35-year history.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline will provide return flights for international buyer delegates from UK, Europe, Singapore and the Middle East, including connections onto its alliance partner Virgin Australia’s domestic flights to Cairns.
Today’s announcement follows the signing in late 2012 of a A$6m, three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two parties, helping to grow international visitors to Australia from the UK, Europe and the Middle East.
Tourism Australia Acting Managing Director, Frances-Anne Keeler, said Etihad Airways’ award-winning service and extensive international network made it an ideal airline partner for ATE14.
“Etihad Airways may be one of the world’s youngest full-service airlines, but it has quickly established itself as a high quality airline with a strong commitment to Australian tourism, the latest example being the airline’s new Perth service beginning in July 2014.
“The MoU we signed over a year ago has significantly increased awareness of Australia amongst Etihad Airways’ large worldwide customer base and, more importantly, boosted traffic from some of our key inbound markets. This sponsorship deal represents a strong platform for further, mutually beneficial activities which I’m sure ATE14 will deliver,” she said.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways said: “Etihad Airways is pleased to be investing in the future of Australian tourism by supporting ATE for the first time in 2014.
“The Australian route is one of the most important in our global network and its performance is bolstered by the strong appeal of Australia as a destination for travellers, particularly from the UK, Ireland, Europe and emerging markets in the Middle East.
“The partnership with Tourism Australia for ATE14 is a logical extension of the MoU we signed in 2012 and underscores Etihad Airways’ enduring commitment to Australia and its contribution to the Australian economy and community life through partnerships with Sydney Opera House and Etihad Stadium, to name but a few.
“ATE14 gives us the opportunity to showcase the quality of our guest experience to a whole new group of travel media and industry stakeholders and demonstrate the reach of our global network plus the convenience and efficiency of our modern Abu Dhabi hub.”