The AOT Group Ltd (AOT) was founded in 1987 by Managing Director, Andrew Burnes. Today the company is owned by Andrew Burnes (CEO) and Cinzia Burnes (COO).
"The Australian Outback Travel Company" commenced four wheel drive adventure tours in 1988, running trips from Cairns to surrounding destinations including Cape Tribulation, Cooktown, Cape York and the Gulf of Carpentaria. Between 1988 and 2000 AOT took over 2,000 clients to the tip of Cape York and over 20,000 clients to Cape Tribulation.
In 1990 AOT started offering services as an Inbound Tour Operator (ITO). It is now the largest Inbound Tour Operator in Australia and one of the largest in New Zealand, with major clients around the world.
In 1994 AOT purchased the Australian business of the Passport Tour Company and commenced operating a Sydney-based Destination Management Company, the Australian Incentive Travel Company (AITC). In 1998 AITC purchased the business of Landmark Travel and incorporated this business into the business of AITC, including the very successful shipping division. Today this is a division of the Inbound Groups Department, which organises group tours and offers Destination Management services in Australia and New Zealand. AOT Inbound is recognised as one of Australia's leading destination management companies, handling incoming incentive, conference and shipping business from around the world.
In 1994 AOT also commenced its domestic wholesale operation, "Travelpoint", which producesd wholesale programs for the Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. Our Sunlover Holidays brand now produces brochures on every State of Australia.
In 1997 AOT commenced operations in New Zealand and in 1999 opened an office in Auckland. Today this office handles the inbound business from most of our major clients to New Zealand and is now one of the largest Inbound Tour Operators in New Zealand. In 2010 our Auckland office commenced offering products and services in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, the Cook Islands and Vanuatu.
In 1998 AOT shifted its head office from Cairns to Melbourne and since that time has continued to grow and develop its range of services and business expertise.
In 2004 AOT purchased the online businesses needitnow.com.au and travelmate.com.au, two of Australia's leading online hotel portals and in 2007 AOT purchased needtoescape.com.au.
In the same year, AOT successfully tendered to take over the operations of New South Wales Holidays under licence from Tourism New South Wales. AOT purchased this business from the NSW Government in 2008.
In 2005 AOT took over the operations of Sunlover Holidays under licence from Tourism Queensland and the Queensland Government adding Australia's premier wholesale operation to its group of distribution businesses further increasing its buying power, channel distribution opportunities and economies of scale. AOT purchased this business outright from the Queensland Government in 2008.
In April, 2008 AOT purchased the business of Experience Tours Australia (ETA), the leading inbound tour operator in Australia specialising in markets across Asia. Experience Tours has operation centres in Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast and sales offices in Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Mumbai.
In September 2008 AOT purchased the business of Great Aussie Holidays, a Perth based domestic wholesaler and inbound tour operator and the Great Aussie brand is still used today as part of our Sunlover Holidays range of product.
In 2009 AOT purchased the business of Pacific Spirit Travel, Australia's largest inbound operator specialising in the French and South American markets.
2011 saw AOT enter into a 50/50 joint-venture partnership with Air New Zealand to establish Pacific Leisure Group Limited, which now operates the Air New Zealand Holidays business from AOT's office in Auckland.
AOT again expanded in 2012 when we were appointed the Accommodation Program Manager by the Department of Finance and Deregulation for all Agencies and Departments of the Federal Government. Details of our AOTHotels operation can be found on our dedicated site, www.aothotels.com.au.
In October 2013 AOT acquired the business of ATS Pacific in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji together with a 60% share in Tourism Transport Fiji (TTF).
Today AOT has a team of over 550 travel professionals selling Australian, New Zealand and South Pacific travel products and services globally via our Government, Retail, Online and Wholesale partners.
AOT's head office is located in Melbourne and we have offices in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Auckland, Nadi, Shanghai, Singapore, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Milan and London.