The Melbourne Sports Tours To-Do List is full after a week on The Gold Coast at the inspiring Australian Tourism Exchange. ATE is Australia’s largest business to business tourism industry event attracting 2300 delegates from more than thirty countries including Australia. Our common goal is to increase tourism visitation across our country. Mine is to promote Melbourne, the Sports capital of the world… and off-course Melbourne Sports Tours including our favourite MCG Tours, our Sports Lovers Tours and our Horses, Wine and Beer Tours.

My favourite thing about tourism tradeshows is the collaboration within the industry. Tourism Australia were out in force assisting us and learning our products. 23 new Aussie Specialist Trainers have been employed around the world to train travel agents on how to sell Australia. Many of them have spent time in Melbourne attending sporting events, doing an MCG Tour and were genuinely excited about our product.

Victorian operators work as a team. We know our number one goal is to generate excitement and interest in our state before we have a hope of tourists booking our individual products. The newly named Visit Victoria Team (formerly known as Tourism Victoria) has a new structure combining tourism with events and the buzz was high amongst the international and local team. 

The booths surrounding us at ATE become our tourism family, our street. Many of these individuals or businesses have travelled together for years. We pass on each other’s business cards and brochures to agents we think will like their product. Our street included The Melbourne Cricket Ground/National Sports Museum, Victorian Racing Club/Flemington Racecourse, Hidden Secrets Tours, Causeway Hotels, Melbourne Star, Eureka SkyDeck, Tramcar Restaurant, Go West Tours, Queen Vic Market to name a few. Apologies to all of my tourism family I left out. Our village included 62 operators from Melbourne and regional Victoria.

I shared a booth with Melbourne Shopping Experiences/Outlet Shopping Tours, the company I sold only 6 weeks ago. It was a baptism of fire for new owner Jessica Lothian, but she took to it like a fish to water and I’m confident the baby which I have nurtured for the past 6 years is in good hands. Jess is designing some exciting new tours including an Australian Designer and Foodie Shopping Tour which I can’t wait to road test.

For the first time I also attended the ATE Media Marketplace representing Melbourne Sports Tours & Melbourne Shopping Experiences. This two-day networking and speed-dating event provides an opportunity for local and international journalists, freelancers and bloggers to meet one-on-one with Australian tourism businesses.  I loved that every person I met had a different angle they were interested in exploring.

And of course the networking events and after parties are essential opportunities to really get to know and build relationships with agents, media, other operators and tourism bodies.

ATE Delegates were treated to a warm Aussie welcome on Monday night at the Gold Coast Events Centre by one of Melbourne Sports Tours favourites, emcee Catriona Rowntree. She introduced 'the voice' of Tourism Australia's latest ad, Chris Hemsworth. Chris spoke about his love of Phillip Island and growing up surfing with his now famous brothers. 

See Visit Melbourne's video over the MCG and our great sports city