has joined forces with PTI Australia to empower Pacific Island tourism operators to grab a bigger share of the global online travel market (estimated worth to be AUD$1.4 billion by 2022
), by sharpening their digital marketing efforts.
PTI Australia’s digital tourism program is key to assisting Pacific businesses; this year, six PTI Australia digital tourism workshops were held in Palau, New Caledonia, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, supporting the build of 27 new tourism websites. A record revenue of $10.57 million was generated in 2017 from online bookings through PTI Australia supported sites across 16 Pacific Island nations.
To further enhance PTI Australia’s digital tourism program, the world’s largest online travel site, TripAdvisor, adds further value to the workshops by equipping local operators with social media marketing skills and knowledge, as well as educating participants on the importance of customer referrals.
PTI Australia Trade & Investment Commissioner, Caleb Jarvis, said the partnership with TripAdvisor helps to fill a knowledge and skills gap that has been identified in local tourism operators based in the Pacific Islands.
‘Revenue from online travel bookings grew by 73%
from 2011 to 2016, yet many Pacific Island tourism operators have no online presence. Our partnership with TripAdvisor will strengthen our digital tourism workshops, educating participants about the importance of digital channels and social recommendations. This will allow them to be considered when holiday-makers are researching online where to stay and what to do in this beautiful part of the world,’ Mr Jarvis said.
Sarah Mathews, TripAdvisor’s head of destination marketing, Asia–Pacific, said PTI Australia was an essential partner for connecting with businesses in the Pacific Islands:
‘The Pacific Islands has something for the nature-lover with its tropical beaches, volcanic islands and natural scenery’, said Ms Mathews.
‘We are excited to launch the workshops with PTI Australia, which will provide local hospitality businesses and service providers with insights on travel trends and consumer behaviours to help them more effectively reach out and cater to global travellers.’
Brendan Coombs, who runs Driftwood Resort in Alotau, Papua New Guinea, said placing his resort online had opened the door to the larger international market.
‘We knew it was important to have a website, but didn’t understand how potential guests may find us online. With the website we created through PTI Australia’s digital tourism program, we have added an online booking option, improved our search engine optimisation and set up a Facebook page, as well as linking our page to TripAdvisor, which increased bookings by over 15 per cent,’ Mr Coombs said.
(Source: Pacific Trade Invest 13 December 2017)