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Australian Tourism Export Council Needs Working Holiday Makers to Help Meet Tourism’s Unskilled Labour Shortage

By | 2022

As the industry’s peak export tourism association, the Australian Tourism Export Council is calling for a period of three months work in the tourism and hospitality sector, to be included in the eligibility criteria for Working Holiday Makers, as visitors to qualify for a second-year visa, expanding it to include areas beyond the current ‘northern or remote and very remote Australia’ qualifying regions.

According to ATEC, widening the eligibility criteria under which Working Holiday Makers can extend their stay by an additional one to two years, will help to meet the tourism industry’s dire need for unskilled labour.

“Tourism and hospitality businesses across the country are facing severe shortages in staff, particularly the unskilled workforce which helps businesses to meet the demands of seasonal fluctuations,” said Mr. Peter Shelly, managing director of ATEC.

He further added: “Previously WHM holders could work for three months in jobs primarily in the agricultural sector, in order to qualify for an extension of their visa.  Some jobs in the tourism industry also qualify, however these are restricted to work in regional areas of northern parts of the country.

Tourism businesses across the country desperately need unskilled workers and these workers are crucial to the successful rebuilding of our industry.”

Mr Shelley said that while the tourism industry required long-term solutions to the workforce challenge, there is an opportunity to instigate a short-term solution through the Working Holiday Maker programme, which was introduced in 1975 with the purpose of promoting cross cultural understanding.

ATEC recognises the significant need for both skilled and unskilled labour across the sector and the lack of unskilled labour in particular is something which can be addressed by expanding the WHM visa criteria as way of meeting the severe labour shortages being faced as the industry rebuilds post-covid.

He mentioned that: Australia has an opportunity to use the WHM visa system, to both support the rebuild of Australia’s tourism industry, and to help solve some of the critical workforce shortages being faced across the nation.

This is by making the WHM visa more attractive by offering a wider range of work options to create a greater uptake and therefore help support the re-growth of this important export market in Australia.

ATEC is calling on the Federal Government to expand the definition of a ‘specified area of work’ within the Working Holiday Makers second year eligibility extension to include, all tourism and hospitality work across the country.

St. Petersburg Participates at ITE Hong Kong 2022 for the First Time

By | 2022

The Convention Bureau of St. Petersburg, a subordinate institution of the Committee for Tourism Development of St. Petersburg, is the organiser of the exhibit at ITE Hong Kong 2022 which will take place, from August 17 to 21 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

What visitors can expect from the exhibit by St. Petersburg is the opportunity to meet and learn of business, cultural, educational, event, health and different types of tourism in St. Petersburg.

At the St. Petersburg stand, visitors can also take part in interactive and entertainment events as well as, take a virtual quiz on knowledge of destinations.

On August 19, as part of the business program of the ITE Hong Kong 2022 exhibition, a specialised presentation session on St. Petersburg will be held during which, the tourism infrastructure of the city and individual tourist offers, for all-season tourism, and various categories of tourism will be presented.

Hong Kong is the 12th largest service market in the world. The participation of St. Petersburg at the ITE gives new oppenings for the city, to both expand the city’s sphere of hospitality in the international arena, and develop cooperation with countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

ITE Hong Kong itself is a major event in the Asia-Pacific region. Every year, the event brings together tourism professionals from all over the world. More than 80 percent of exhibitors from abroad and almost 40 percent of professional visitors from mainland China and other parts of Asia are expected to attend the event.

ICCA Announces Top Performing Destinations for International Association Meetings

By | 2022

The International Congress and Convention Association  has released new information, in order to shed more light on how the pandemic impacted the association meetings industry in 2021. The Public Abstract of the ICCA Annual Statistics report is now available for non-ICCA members.

Owing to the transformational events of 2020, ICCA refined its approach to the report by including meetings that were affected by the pandemic as well as, those that remained unaffected.

Now, non-ICCA members can benefit from this new methodology, called the Destination Performance Index, which provides a more holistic view of how destinations have addressed recent challenges.

The Public Abstract also presents the top destinations for association meetings in 2021, based on estimated total number of attendees for hybrid and virtual events. At the same time, it provides a three-year economic impact analysis, which is usually not available to non-ICCA members.

The DPI examines 8,000 international association meetings scheduled for 2021, based on six performance indicators such as planned, unaffected, virtual, hybrid, digitalisation and business continuation. When combined, the indicators represent the overall DPI, highlighting how destinations have performed with regard to winning the original bid, covid policies, adaptability, and technological capabilities to convert on-site events into virtual and hybrid events.

Countries and cities represented in the top 20 meeting destinations in 2021 are similar to the 2019 report, with a few exceptions.

As in 2019, the USA is the top performing country for association meetings in the DPI, as they ranked first in four of the six indicators based on planned, virtual, digitalisation and business continuation.

The remaining two indicators, unaffected and hybrid were topped by Spain and China. Vienna and Lisbon were close contenders in the DPI for cities but, Vienna ultimately claimed the lead due to having more unaffected meetings in 2021.

Overall, Europe was a strong performer as an association meeting destination during the pandemic. Seventy percent of the top 20 countries and 80 percent of the top 20 cities are European.

Denmark and Greece replaced Argentina and Brazil in the top 20 countries for meetings. Austria made the biggest jump, from 16th to 11th place. Italy claimed 5th place from the United Kingdom. Spain jumped two spots since 2019, to become the 2nd meetings destination globally.

Facing stricter covid policies, than many other meeting destinations worldwide, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea embraced new technologies to go hybrid. Due to their high number of hybrid meetings, the Republic of Korea replaced the Netherlands in the top 10 country destinations.

Amongst destination cities, Montreal and Dubai were both outliers within their respective regions. Montreal was the only North American city in the top 20. Dubai ranked 1st for unaffected meetings and was the only Middle Eastern city represented in the six individual top 20 rankings. Meanwhile, Budapest, Portugal and Stockholm are all newcomers to the top 20 DPI for cities.

The full ICCA Annual Statistics report, is available only to ICCA members and contains additional analysis on the top destinations, economic impact, regional and global business-continuation and meeting subject matters.


Meaningful Tourism Award Recognises Sustainable Tourism Projects

By | 2022

The Meaningful Tourism Center in Hamburg Germany, is inviting applications for the Meaningful Tourism Award 2022. Tourism, hospitality, transport and retail service providers, as well as attractions, get an opportunity to be recognised as  ‘Best Practice Examples of Meaningful Tourism’.

The Award is organised in six categories according to the six main stakeholders of Meaningful Tourism, namely: visitors; host communities; employees of service providing companies; service providing companies; national; regional; and local governments.

In each category, gold silver and bronze will be awarded for work done, either by or for the specific stakeholder group to improve quality, benefits, and satisfaction.

Award winners will be announced as part of the Meaningful Tourism Panel workshop during ITB Asia in Singapore on October 20. While the Panel workshop is supported by BER Berlin Airport.

Applications can be submitted until September 30, 2022. The application is free of charge and should include a presentation of a project, initiative, new organisation and network with electronic materials such as pdf text, videos and websites; together a short explanation as to why the applicants see their activity as suitable to be awarded as a Meaningful Tourism activity.

For more information, visit or email:

The Gap Looms Large for Australian Tourism Businesses

By | 2022

Time, distance and cost in a post-covid era of travel have pushed Australia’s tourism industry back 20 years where, export tourism businesses are facing cautious consumers looking for minimal risk holidays closer to home.

While international travellers continue to view Australia positively, the reality of converting these intending travellers to Australian visitors is hampered by a complex mix of changeable and expensive air travel, visa application delays, global insecurity and deteriorating economic sentiment, which is impacting confidence to travel in the short term.

“Australia has always been at the top of the bucket list for many global travellers and our contacts are saying that sentiment hasn’t changed but what has changed is the urgency to travel here,” said Mr. Peter Shelly, managing director of Australian Tourism Export Council.

Mr. Shelley added with so many influences at play, the propensity to travel long distances has been dampened by concerns which lead many travellers venturing closer to home.

Despite a positive uptick in booking pipelines and Australia’s desirability as a destination, the reality he made known is: recovery is going to be much slower than anticipated due to distance and cost.

While many suppliers moved quickly and effectively to replace their lost market with domestic travellers during the pandemic, the size and strength of domestic visitation is in no way stated by the ATEC’s managing director, capable of replacing high-spending international visitors.

According to a survey conducted by ATEC, there is a widening gap between slowing domestic tourism business off the back of growing outbound travel, and inadequate inbound visitation to top up a growing shortfall, with nearly 40 percent of tourism product suppliers revealing their domestic business, has already slowed and that inbound is not closing the gap.

There is also a stronger return of Australian travellers heading overseas than visitors making their way to Australia, and this gap is bound to widen before any significant improvement.

The latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer predicts United States and Europe recovering much faster than the Asia Pacific region which is still, well down on 2019 visitor numbers – highlighting a much slower return for Australia’s export tourism industry.

Vietnam as an Emerging MICE Destination is Gaining Momentum with the addition of it’s Latest Facility a World Trade Center

By | 2022

Scheduled to be opened on August 8, the WTC Expo covers an area of 22,000 square metres and is located in Binh Duong Province, which is an economic powerhouse in Southern Vietnam. It will become the core facility of Vietnam’s first World Trade Complex.

There are plans that the area surrounding the complex, will be developed further with residential and commercial buildings, as well as multi-purpose stadiums, shopping malls and the construction of a metro station connecting it to Ho Chi Minh City.

In a press release, issued by the management company, it stated that although Vietnam has recorded the world’s highest economic growth, the country has been evaluated as lacking in areas related to facilities for international MICE events. The WTC Expo is expected to solve the issues related to the shortage of exhibition facilities, and will become a driving force for a new leap forward in Vietnam’s MICE industry.

Also mentioned in the press release, that of the complicated administrative procedures of applying for exhibition licenses will be made easier with the introduction of a one-stop service for overseas organisers, to host their events at the WTC Expo.

Binh Duong Province is an economic powerhouse situated in the Southern Key Economic Region of Vietnam. This economic powerhouse has more than 4,000 foreign direct investment projects invested in the province, with a total investment capital of nearly USD40 billion.

The province has been developed based on the concept of an “innovation region” encompassing: residential complexes; universities; hospitals; and other social infrastructure; along with more than 30 large-scale industrial parks.

ICCA Congress Hands Over to Local Residents of Sarawak its Community Library under the ‘Gift of Love’ Program

By | 2022

The ‘Gift of Love’ Batang Ai community library, is a corporate social responsibility project led by ICCA which was set-in-motion by its 59th Asia Pacific Regional Hub committee and was originally, a book sharing program that expanded, into a life-changing initiative for the local residents.

The aim of opening the library was to provide a functional space with educational resources to help retain rural children in school. Although it was easy to set up the library, it needed however, international expertise and the stamp of approval from the International Congress & Convention Association.

Sarawak took a step further from the initial book-donation-only concept to build an actual community library, and worked with the local people on a long-term program to establish the library.

“ICCA has spent years advocating positive societal impacts through business events. Sarawak raised the bar for the global business events sector when they announced this initiative as a Congress-led corporate social responsibility project,” said Ms. Waikin Wong, ICCA’s Asia Pacific regional director.

In a recent hand-over ceremony of the Batang Ai’s first community library, the Nanga Ukom longhouse residents in Sarawak are now the guardian of the library.

Penang Launched The Meetings Show London 2022

By | 2022

The Meetings Show returns to London’s ExCel on June 29 with Penang having the honour of launching the tradeshow and at the same time, announce to the world that Penang is open for business beginning 2022. This year, is the show’s 10th edition and Penang’s minister of tourism and creative economy, Mr.Yeoh Soon Hin officially opened the event.

Mr Yeoh mentioned at the show that the opening of international borders in Malaysia will, revitalise the tourism industry in the country and once again transform the industry into a thriving economic sector. It will definitely stated Mr, Yeoh, resurrect other enterprises in the industry, as well as provide new business opportunities.

Penang Convention and Exhibition Bureau took the opportunity to introduce its BElong Campaign to the how.  The chief executive of the bureau, Mr. Ashwin Gunasekaran explained that the first two letters of the campaign ‘BE’ while it denotes Business Events can, also be used as a term “belong” which signifies having an affinity for a specific place or situation, as well as a sense of belonging.

The campaign goals send a positive message that Penang is working towards maintaining destination awareness and that its back in business with  health and safety measures for corporate events. The bureau is also looking   at to increase requests for proposals and interests in events to be held in Penang.

In Penang, the business events industry has been active in updating their products for example the popular Habitat Penang Hill, covered by rainforest, has recently won the ASEAN Sustainable Tourism Award Urban Category 2022 and is recognised by UNESCO as Malaysia’s third biosphere reserve.

TCEB’s ‘MICE Winnovation’ Programme Wins UFI Marketing Award 2022

By | 2022

The award was for the best marketing strategy in a changing exhibition industry and, in recognition of the programme’s timeliness, originality, and impact on the exhibition industry.

Over the past two years, ‘MICE Winnovation’ has proven to be a marketing booster for the exhibition industry in Thailand. In 2021, TCEB received applications from organisers seeking innovation and technology for 26 events.

TCEB then tracked the economic impacts of the technology introduced in 10 of these events. The results were revealing: the technology adopted created 63.54 million euro in value from a budget of 190,000 euro.

Top two areas implementing new technologies were the organisation of hybrid events and crowd management for health and safety purposes.

In 2022, TCEB continues to promote hybrid technology for events and help MICE organisers in the country, explore the use of robotics, automation, and facial recognition to boost productivity and enhance visitor experience.

‘MICE Winnovation’is a collaboration between TCEB and six partners namely the National Science and Technology Development Agency,  National Innovation Agency, Digital Economy Promotion Agency, Thai Exhibition Association, Thailand Incentive and Convention Association and Thailand International Events & Festivals Trade Association.

Metropole Underground Opens as Phnom Penh’s first Subterranean Venue

By | 2022

Inspired by the glory days of Parisian art-deco of the chic vibe of early 20th century Paris, Metropole Underground is a unique addition to the famously lively bar scene in Phnom Penh.

Discreetly located in the basement of the Hyatt Regency Phnom Penh, the city’s newest international branded luxury hotel, the sophisticated space offers premium drinks, light gourmet bites, and nightly live entertainment featuring; bands and DJ beats.

The metro system in the French capital was a major inspiration for the bar, with replicas of cast iron detailing from the original Paris Metro, integrated into the space and transformed into sculptural and decorative elements.

The result is a compelling blend of European and Khmer influences.

Now with the new Metropole Underground, it completes a compelling lineup of options for revelry in Phnom Penh.