Attending the two biggest annual trade shows in Cairns, Australia, followed by the NZ equivalent (Trenz) in Auckland, was a must do as far as I was concerned.
The first-ever regional Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) in Cairns has been declared a success by Tourism Australia Managing Director John O’Sullivan. Talking to John at the Salt House bar and restaurant at a South Australia reception after day three of the event John told me that ”Cairns had rolled out the red carpet for ATE14, and not just for you Jerry (!) Tourism Australia successfully attracted over 1,200 Australian delegates from 429 companies this year which is the biggest number ever to attend this event.” I was just one out of almost 600 key buyer delegates from 36 countries around the world. It felt good to share experiences and after show functions with product buyers from new emerging markets such as China, India and Russia. In pervious years the organisers had split the event into Western and Eastern hemisphere events.
ATE14 was made possible with the valued support of partners such as Tourism and Events Queensland, Virgin Australia and Etihad Airways. I think a very special thanks ought to go to Tourism Tropical North Queensland and the Cairns Regional Council. Some of these characters I have known and worked with for many years and it really was a case of catching up like the good old days
I particularly enjoyed Tourism Australia showcasing their new international food and wine campaign ‘Restaurant Australia’ at the farewell party. I think I sampled everything from locally caught lobsters to Kangaroo meat – happy memories for sure and I think we are all looking forward to next year when the event will be hosted in Melbourne.