International Mentoring Program (IMP)

Participants in the 2019 International Marketing Program

Please note the 2020 International Mentoring Program has closed.

The International Mentoring Program (IMP) is developed, sponsored and managed by Visit Victoria. It has been designed to give selected Victorian and NSW tourism operators in The Murray region the tools and knowledge to develop and market their product internationally. The three month program generally runs from April to June each year. It consists of a series of workshops, a sales mission to Sydney, and one on one mentoring support.

International visitation has long been recognised as a key driver for the Victorian tourism economy. Total tourism spend in Victoria is forecast to grow from an estimated $31.0 in 2018-19 to $49.6 billion in 2028-29, with average annual growth of 4.8 per cent over the next decade. Over this period, growth will be led by international spend, which is expected to reach $19.0 billion in 202829, generating 56 per cent of total tourism spend growth in Victoria and contributing a 38 per cent share of total tourism spend (10 percentage points higher than its share in 2018-19). (Source: TRA Tourism Forecasts 2019).

In the year ending June 2019, expenditure from international visitors in Victoria grew strongly (+7.1%) to reach $8.6 billion, exceeding the national average growth (+5.4%). Victoria also experienced year-on-year growth in international visitors to reach 3.1 million (+4.3%), above the national average growth rate (+2.8%). Double-digit increases in spend were recorded from India (+23.2%), Taiwan (+21.5%) as well as the USA (+16.2%), with Singapore also recording strong growth (+10.4%). (Source: International Visitor Survey YE June 2019).

Visit Victoria introduced the International Mentoring Program in 2006 to increase the number of export ready products to support and assist the growing rise of international tourism in the state. To date approximately 145 businesses have completed the program and many are now actively working in the international marketplace.

What are the benefits of attending?

This is a time when you can be out of your business, working on your business strategy to attract international visitors.

You will come away with:

• Industry knowledge and insights about the international trade distribution system.

• Cultural awareness of key growth markets and an understanding of your key target markets.

• Tangible inputs for your international marketing strategy.

• New relevant business contacts, including a network of Inbound Tour Operators.

• Inclusion in Visit Victoria marketing activities as a new product.

According to past participants, key outcomes included understanding the international trade, working with Inbound Tour Operators, pricing your product correctly, working with media both social and traditional, learning from other participants and the importance of research, preparation, collaborating and networking.

What will I be learning?

The workshops will help you understand the complex web of international distribution players, how to price your product and which international markets to target.

They will also provide you with the following:

• Knowledge of cultural differences for the China, India and South-East Asia markets.

• Skills to perfect your elevator pitch for your business and hone your presentation skills.

• An opportunity to meet Visit Victoria staff and key industry stakeholders.

• Firsthand tips from operators who have gone down the same road.

• Long-lasting connections and networks to draw on in the tourism industry.

Is there a cost involved?

Yes and no. There is no direct financial contribution to participate in the 3-month program. Visit Victoria covers all workshop costs, including venue and catering. However, the program runs as two 2-day workshops in Melbourne in April and May, and a two-day visit to Sydney in June, and you will be expected to pay for all your travel related and personal expenses (to/ in and from Sydney).

IMP participants will also be encouraged to apply for selected trade events.

What are the key dates for 2020?

• Applications close – Friday 14 February 2020

• Applicants notified – Friday 20 March 2020

• Melbourne - two days:
o Workshop series #1 – Tuesday 21 & Wednesday 22 April 2020

• Melbourne - one day optional:
o Optional ATE walk through tour – between Monday 11 – Thursday 14 May 2020

• Melbourne - two days:
o Workshop series #2 – Tuesday 26 & Wednesday 27 May 2020

• Sydney - two days:
o Inbound Tour Operator (ITO) mission – Monday 22 & Tuesday 23 June in Sydney (TBC), for presentations and networking events with ITOs and Tourism Australia’s Head Office.

Will I need to prepare anything before the first day?

Yes. You will be expected to have a basic understanding of international marketing prior to commencing the program. If this is not the case, we ask that you read the Tourism Export Toolkit – a copy will be provided to you upon confirmation of acceptance into the program.

You will also be required to have a short presentation about your business ready at the first workshop. Information about the format will be provided to you prior to commencing the program.

How do I get involved?

In the first instance, send an expression of interest (EOI) to participate in the program to your Regional Tourism Board (or Regional Tourism Association). The RTBs are being asked by Visit Victoria to nominate potential participants.

What should I include in the Expression of Interest?

The following should be answered in no more than a short paragraph or two. This is not a test or assessment of your business – simply a starting point for us to consider you as a candidate for the program.

• Business name and contact details of the person who will likely attend the program.

• Tell us why you’d like to join the International Mentoring Program and why your business is ready for this journey (you may like to consider the below points).

What is the selection process?

Places are strictly limited to a maximum of 15 participants per annum. A review panel made up of Visit Victoria staff will assess each nomination based on the following criteria.

• Successfully established in the domestic market.

• Genuine interest in the international markets and an understanding of the basics.

• Willingness to commit to international marketing for a minimum of 3 years.

• Ability to allocate marketing funds to international marketing.

• Willing to commit to standard international commissions (25-30%).

• Open to adapting business practices to work with the emerging Chinese and Indian markets.

• Support Visit Victoria familiarisation program for international trade/media.

• Capacity to allocate a key business executive (business owner, marketing manager or business development manager) to attend the program and future marketing activities, including interstate and possibly overseas trade shows.

• Fill one of our identified market gaps or be identified as a priority segment.

• If applicable, membership (or willingness to join) of local or regional tourism association.

• Must be able to attend all workshops and the event in Sydney.

What are next steps?

A formal invitation will be emailed out to all successful nominees no later than 20 March 2020. Please note that Visit Victoria reserves the right to refuse or cancel participation at any time before or during the program.

Where do I go for further information?

If you would like to know more about the program or discuss your involvement, please phone us on 03 5480 7110 or email [email protected]