Oceania is the region of the South Pacific that includes Australia, and the Melanesian, Micronesian, and Polynesian islands.
Oceania stands on the threshold of a Golden Age of tourism. The region offers superb natural assets -- tropical climate, South Sea beaches, dramatic geology, unique biodiversity and fascinating indigenous cultures. And, its colonial history has reduced language barriers and created a modern infrastructure throughout the region. Until recently, the primary impediment to the region's tourism industry has been its distance from European and American tourists.
Now, three factors have converged to brighten the prospects for the tourism industry in Oceania. The first is the greater accessibility provided by improved international air travel, and the ever-increasing number of cruise ships serving the region.
The second factor is the emergence of an economic middle-class in China, with disposable income and a desire for travel. Both New Zealand and Australia have created special government programs to assist businesses in attracting and serving Chinese tourists.
The third factor facilitating growth of South Pacific tourism is the communications revolution fostered by the internet and the world wide web. Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea have sophisticated websites designed to attract, inform and assist travel professionals who want to market their destinations and attractions. The other countries in the region are following suit. This development makes it easy for international tourism professionals to develop the tools, contacts and expertise needed to mine some profits from Oceania's dawning Golden Age of Tourism.
The best way to start learning about an emerging destination is from a national tourism board's official website. Government sites provide broader, less biased information than commercial dot com sites. They also provide information about government assistance, services, and incentives for tourism entrepreneurs.
This article describes and links to the websites created for tourism professionals by Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea; the three most popular destinations in Oceania. In a subsequent article, we will provide similar information about the many smaller island nations that are also part of Oceania.
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Australian Government Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism
Australia is the only nation in the world that occupies an entire continent. Its multi-level government operates national, regional and even municipal tourism agencies. They specialize in particular regions of the country or segments of the tourism industry (inbound or outbound, consumer or professional). The national tourism promotion strategy involves some of the most sophisticated web-based assistance for industry professionals available anywhere. It includes information, instruction, access to expertise and even financial assistance for tourism businesses. The government recognizes that Australia's ability to attract tourists depends upon fostering relationships between international tourism professionals and domestic destination, transportation, accommodation, tour and infrastructure providers.
The Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism portal (linked to the heading above) includes a link to the government's Tourism Portal. That portal opens the path to the many government-sponsored web pages designed to educate, motivate and assist travel industry professionals interested in working the Australian tourism market.
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In 1901, New Zealand created the world's first national tourism board. Today, that Board, called Tourism New Zealand, is a government-funded Crown agency reporting directly to the Minister of Tourism.
Tourism is New Zealand's largest source of foreign exchange. The top five source countries for international tourists traveling to New Zealand are Australia, the UK, the USA, China and Japan.
The official Tourism New Zealand Web site is a corporate site, focused on helping travel trade professionals develop sales organizations, destination attractions, accommodations, and other tourism-related businesses. The Web site describes how TNZ's staff -- more than 120 people in 11 domestic and international offices -- helps travel trade and media professionals develop and market New Zealand tourism.
The TNZ site includes hubs of information about creating and managing a tourism-related business. These hubs cover such topics as starting and growing your business, sector marketing, international marketing, travel trade marketing and familiarization marketing. Though New Zealand oriented, this information can help any tourism professional, not just those interested in selling New Zealand.
The Tourism New Zealand corporate site links to a companion site, called simply NewZealand.com. Described as a consumer site, but actually far more, NewZealand.com includes detailed information for offshore tourism professionals, including international travel agents, tour operators and journalists, who want to sell or promote New Zealand destinations.
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Papua New Guinea, one of the most culturally diverse countries on earth, occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, north of Australia, plus several nearby islands. It is the second largest country in Oceania. Its Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture funds a secretariat, called the Office of Tourism Arts and Culture, which sets policy and does long term planning for the Papua New Guinea Travel Promotion Authority. The PNGTPA's corporate site, linked to the heading above, includes special pages for the travel trade.