Export Ready

A helicopter flies over Jim Jim falls in Kakadu National Park

If you want to attract international tourists to your business, you must be export ready. 

Build your business in the domestic market first as this will ensure a strong foundation before targeting international markets. Positioning your product in the international market takes time to achieve a good level of sales. 

Consider the following when entering the international market:

  • Establish good foundations; build your business in the local and domestic markets first. Ensure you have an online booking system in place and a network of distribution partners. 
  • Understand your international customer; consider travel styles, language differences, cultural and dietary requirements. Understanding your customer group increases satisfaction and helps you to tailor your product for various markets. 
  • Understanding international distribution; connect with inbound tour operators (ITOs), travel wholesalers and online travel agencies (OTAs). Be involved in international trade events to make more connections. 
  • Capitalise on existing relationships; Tourism NT have trade representatives in the following international markets; US, UK, Germany, Japan, Singapore and China. 
  • Host international media and trade familiarisations; increase your international exposure. Get involved in Tourism NT’s familiarisation programs

The below benchmarks formulate the export ready pillar. 

Contactable 365 days a year

The first step in becoming export ready is to make your business is accessible to customers in all time zones. Even if your product is seasonal, ensure you are contactable year-round so international customers can enquire about your product and make bookings in advance. 

Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) membership

Membership with the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) is a key starting point for any business becoming export ready. 

ATEC members have the opportunity to connect their business with international distribution channels. An ATEC membership certifies the tourism industry that your business is export ready and that you understand the requirements of the international market.

Enquire about becoming a member of ATEC. 

Participate in the International Managers Meeting (IMM)

Become involved in the annual International Managers Meeting (IMM), where Tourism NT's mangers based in key overseas locations participate in product updates and famils in the Territory. Tourism NT offers a range of events both onshore and offshore to support NT tourism businesses in developing international connections.

International Managers Meeting (IMM) Presentations

For further information on marketing to an international audience contact Tourism NT at [email protected]

Trade distribution strategy

A trade distribution strategy helps you identify current and potential distribution channels, and areas to grow to increase bookings. If you only sell direct to customers, consider expanding your exposure and sell through third-parties, such as online and retail travel agencies, inbound tour operators and travel wholesalers. 

Distribution strategy considerations:

  • Who are your target markets? consider location, age, interests
  • Do you want to target groups and ad-hoc requests? or free and independent travellers (FIT)?
  • Does your pricing factor in commission to sell through inbound tour operators and travel wholesalers (20-30%)?

For assistance in developing a trade distribution strategy contact Tourism NT on [email protected] 

Participate in the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE)

The Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) is Australia’s largest tourism business-to-business (B2B) forum. Participating in ATE provides an opportunity to showcase your product to international buyers, make key international contacts and negotiate business deals.

ATE is hosted by Tourism Australia and attended by 1,500 delegates every year, including more than 550 Australian tourism businesses and over 650 domestic and international buyer delegates and media representatives.

There are mandatory requirements your business needs to demonstrate to attend ATE such as:

  • product to have appropriate industry level commission
  • endorsement of your product as internationally active
  • active business website, and more. 

Tourism Australia reserves the right to select the appropriate products and experiences for the event. 

Monitor and register for ATE events here. 

For further information regarding ATE contact Tourism NT on [email protected] 

Provide language options

Attract certain international markets by having language options for your customers. This can be on your website (this doesn’t include automatic browser translations), in promotional materials, or even in your product operations (e.g. tour guides fluent in languages other than English). 

Engage with Inbound Tour Operators (ITO) and international wholesalers

Inbound tour operators and travel wholesalers are key players in the international distribution chain. Working with either or both can help distribute your product to a wide range of international agents across the globe. 

Inbound Tour Operators (ITO)

An ITO (also known as a ground operator or destination management company), are businesses based in Australia that create itineraries and coordinate the reservation, confirmation and payment of travel arrangements on behalf of their overseas clients. 

ITOs are the link between Australian tourism products and the international travel distributors that buy them, including travel wholesalers, travel agents, meeting planners and event planners.


International wholesalers are based in-market and provide a link between retail travel agents and ITOs or tourism product. Wholesalers purchase programs developed by Australian based ITOs, or develop their own packages and itineraries for travel agents and customers. These packages usually incorporate transport, accommodation, tours and attractions. 

In some markets, wholesalers are also ‘direct sellers’ who bypass travel agents to directly target customers. In other markets, there are no wholesalers, and travel agents perform both roles. 

There are wholesalers who specialise in specific market segments such as adventure or the cruise market and most sell online as well.


Ensure your pricing factors in commission. In international distribution this can be up to 30%, as all agents along the chain have a fee for their service. 

For further information refer to the distribution pillar or page 2 of how to price your product factsheet or contact Tourism NT on [email protected] 

Attend international trade shows

Tourism NT participates and coordinates a number of international trade shows and events each year to promote the Northern Territory and its range of tourism product. 

These trade shows and events are held both within Australia and in our key international markets, bringing together our tourism industry with travel agents and wholesalers from around the world.

To be involved contact Tourism NT [email protected] 

Page last updated on 21 March 2023