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The largest tourism trade show in the southern hemisphere has officially opened in Melbourne.

The 44th Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) brings together thousands of Australian tourism businesses with hundreds of international buyers from around the world.

Staged at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, ATE24 has attracted record numbers of Australian tourism sellers and international buyers from 37 countries, demonstrating the strong global interest in our country as a world-class holiday destination.

More than 2,600 delegates will take part in the event, including a record 714 global tourism buyers who will have a total of around 50,000 one-on-one business appointments with Australian tourism operators.

“The Australian Tourism Exchange is Tourism Australia’s biggest annual event, which helps showcase Australia to the world and drive business opportunities for tourism operators around the country,” said Federal Tourism Minister Don Farrell.

“The long-term benefits from events like this are substantial – the relationships and future business it establishes can grow Australia’s tourism industry by billions.”

ATE24 will host almost 800 international buyers and media, who will visit more than 500 tourism operators around the country to showcase the unique breadth and depth of what Australia has to offer.

As host state, Victoria will host 414 tourism buyers and media with 62 unique travel itineraries across the state, with visits to 331 Victorian tourism operators.

This is the ninth time Melbourne has hosted the Australian tourism industry’s biggest business-to-business event, having most recently staged ATE in 2015.