A s Australians celebrated Australia Day recently, friends and well-wishers got a head start a couple of days earlier at an event in Toronto at the Steam Whistle Brewery. Organized by the Australian Consulate and Tourism Australia, with sponsors including Air Canada and Goway, the event showed off to trade partners and tourism types just some of Australia’s merits, including tasty organic wine, tucker such as meat pies and roast suckling pig, and music, including (taped) tunes from the great Aussie singer-songwriter Paul Kelly.

“We’re just saying thank you to our Canadian family,” Australian Consul General Dr. Grayson Perry told Travel Industry Today, adding that Canada is “a very important market,” for Australia.

Indeed, more than 172,000 Canadians travelled Down Under in 2018, representing a bump of 5 percent over 2017. Typical visits are 14 nights, peaking between November and March.

Nevertheless, while facilitating trade is the consulate’s primary purpose, inspiring “a few more tourists as well,” is a welcome sideline. It’s a mission that’s made easier by Air Canada non-stop service from Vancouver and Toronto to Sydney (16 hours from YVR), Brisbane and Melbourne (including the introduction of 4X weekly seasonal service this month), prompting Perry to laugh, “I can’t understand why Canadian think Australia is so far.”

Perry noted that eco tours and cruising are a among the great reasons for Canadians to head Down Under, and that student exchange is also a very popular experience for both nationalities. He also pointed out that the age limit for Australians wanting to do a working holiday in Canada was recently raised to 35 from 30. “So maybe,” he says, “there will be more working holidays between both countries.”

Most of all, Aussies and Canadians are “kindred spirits,” Grayson observes. And that, he says, is all the more reason to visit.

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Michael Baginski

Editor at Large, Mike Baginski is well known and well respected within the industry across Canada, the US, in the Caribbean, Mexico and numerous other destinations outside North America.

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