Quality approved: Tourism Australia teams up with TripAdvisor

Travellers can now pick out trustworthy tourism products by looking out for a big Tick of approval.

The T-QUAL Tick, launched on Tuesday, will let Australia's 226 million domestic and international travellers instantly recognise approved tourist providers.

"It effectively means you can easily recognise what's a good quality product that's been through an accreditation process and has met appropriate standards," Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson P.

"It takes us out into households to people thinking about having a holiday, and gives them informed choice with a focus on a quality product."

The T-QUAL Tick is part of a major tourism initiative to improve competitiveness in the industry.

Tourism Australia (TA) is teaming up with global travel giant TripAdvisor, which is used by 44 million people to plan and book their holidays.

The world's largest universal travel site will use the Tick to feature some of Australia's top tourism experiences.

TA boss Andrew McEvoy said the new accreditation symbol was the beginning of a journey for tourism in Australia.

"I'd hope that from these small beginnings we will see a lot more operators see it as a consumer benefit," he said.

"In the past, accreditation schemes have been a lot of hard work without the consumers understanding what they mean, but with us and the Australian tourism industry getting behind it, more consumers will look for the Tick."

TripAdvisor will also combine user reviews from one of Australia's most popular celebrity chefs, Matt Moran, who will travel around the country doing online reviews of what the T-QUAL products have to offer.

Mr Ferguson also unveiled a new blueprint for Australia's tourism industry, which sets out how to capitalise on growing demand from Asia.

He says the fresh plan sets a course for industry and governments to work together to make the most of "the Asian century".

"Tourism 2020, which has been endorsed by all state and territory tourism ministers, brings the work, research and collaboration between the industry and governments into a single plan which links tourism supply with demand," Mr Ferguson said.

The new plan integrates the National Long-Term Tourism Strategy with the 2020 Tourism Industry Potential, which aims to double overnight tourism expenditure to as much as $140 billion by the end of the decade.

Mr Ferguson said Australia will never abandon its traditional markets of North America and Europe, which are facing tough economic challenges.

"But we have to accept that opportunities for the next five to 10 years for real growth will come from Asia. It's the Asian century.

"We've got terrific growth, over 26 per cent out of China in the last 12 months, tremendous growth out of Malaysia and Indonesia, and India's there with a growing economy of 7.8 per cent."

The minister said market opportunities have to be seized when they're available and the updated plan is all about lifting productivity, innovation and quality.

Tourism Australia (TA) is now spending one-in-five of its marketing dollars in China to capitalise on the country's incredible tourist potential, and that will increase in the years ahead.

But Mr Ferguson warned the way we do business has to keep pace with technology, with only 35 per cent of Aussie tourism businesses currently accepting online payments for instant confirmation bookings.

"That's where people do their research and that's where they want to make their bookings and that's one of the key opportunities of the long term tourism strategy - going with the times, online is the future."

AAP

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