Australia's fightback begins

1 November 2001

HOBART - Australia has begun to roll out tourism campaigns across Asia and Japan in response to a sharp decline in visitor numbers.

Australian Tourist Commission managing director Ken Boundy said the collapse of Ansett and the September 11 terrorism attacks had combined to dent visitor arrivals.

ATC's Global Markets Barometer indicates the most serious declines have been in bookings from the United States - down by more than 50 percent.

"Respondents (to the Barometer) indicated that on average 13 percent of bookings to Australia have been cancelled since September 11 attacks," Boundy said.

"And more than half of all international operators reported enquiry levels for Australia were down compared to this time last year. The average decrease was 20 percent, with one quarter indicating enquiries were down by 30 percent or more."

New holiday bookings were down an average of 23 percent.

"However, respondents also indicated that shorter haul destinations were performing better than long haul destinations - providing an opportunity for Australia in Asia."

Boundy said that Australia faced a challenging situation but he hoped the A$1.5 million (US$759,000) advertising campaign in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and China would minimise the impact of recent events.

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