Association of Australian Visitor Centers craft app to improve destination assistance for visitors
Visitor Centers across Australia have formed a trade association and jointly launched an app to help domestic travelers and international visitors explore Australia with more confidence.
Commenting on the need for a formal aggregation, Mark Greaves, Head of the Association of Australian Visitor Centers and Director of The Tourism Group, said: “Accredited Visitor Centers have been around for some time in Australia. Although accreditation is relatively new, there is a growing awareness of the need to have a collective voice and a single point of contact for the tourism industry. It was a logical step and all stakeholders – such as local associations and Tourism Australia – were supportive of the concept.
Currently, there are over 450 accredited Welcome Centers spread across Australia, and these are open seven days a week. Prior to the pandemic, some 13.5 million international and local travelers use these Welcome Centres, said Greaves.
The association’s new app directs visitors to the nearest accredited visitor center – a necessary product “when there are often hundreds of miles between towns”, Greaves explained.
“It is reassuring to know that there is someone ahead who can help in an area, city or region that is new to the visitor,” he said.
The app also provides an offline map which is useful in places without telecom coverage.
Talk to TTG Asia at the recently concluded Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) in Sydney, Greaves considered the event a “watershed moment” for the association – it was the first time the association had attended a B2B trade show.
As well as bringing value to ATE visitors, Greaves said the association’s presence was a way to show incoming airlines, coach companies, car rental companies and tour operators the “value of local and regional contacts seeking to find unique and differentiated products for their customers”. .
“This is the first time that the welcome centers have been brought together under one roof, and we are excited about the opportunities.”
As for how these physical visitor centers contrast with the convenience of online destination searches, Greaves said: “Face-to-face interaction is always appreciated, even more so after the pandemic. Visitor Centers offer a friendly face and knowledgeable, up-to-date local recommendations on nearby attractions and places of interest. Sometimes travelers also come to check the information they found on Google! »
Greaves is confident the association will grow more and more as more and more travelers return to Australia. Future plans include building relationships and partnerships with key industry bodies such as Tourism Australia and the Australian Tourism Export Council for various outreach activities, as well as working closely with travel agents to add the application to general information before the trip of the customers.