News

Troubled Ayers Rock Resort has "turned corner"

Ayers Rock Resort is emerging from “challenging” times, with Voyages Indigenous Tourism executive general manager Ray Stone confident the business has turned a corner with solid growth expected this year.

Recent turmoil involving the board and the management resulted in the departure of former Voyages managing director Koos Klein at the end of October amid reports the resort was barely scraping through.

While Stone admitted the much-publicised debacle did impact the resort’s performance “at its height” in November, things have been looking up with both domestic and international markets, particularly in Europe, gathering pace.

“Since mid-December, we’ve seen some pent up demand,” he told Travel Today. “We’ve launched a new advertising campaign and the booking pace has been really tremendous particularly in January, February and March.”

Shortly after Voyages announced it was commencing a new seasonal charter service between Melbourne and Ayers Rock Airport this month, Jetstar followed suit launching a four times weekly service between the two ports. The low cost carrier also decided to boost its four times weekly service from Sydney to daily. Those changes take effect from June 29.

The service changes add 130,000 annual seats to Ayers Rock, with Stone confident the benefits will be felt at the resort. With the additional capacity and Jetstar’s marketing support, the resort expects to see an increase in its leisure business of between 12% and 15%.

That represents a “really significant” improvement on last year, which was flat.

“We’ve been working really hard to make changes over the last two years,” Stone said.

Value for money has been an important focus of the turnaround strategy, with free guest activities now forming an integral part of the program.

There has also been a major renovation program which saw its five-star property Sails in the Desert overhauled and the creation of its Uluru Meeting Place conference centre.

Both have delivered tangible results. Sails now boasts the highest occupancies in the resort, while Meeting Place has grown business events at the resort from between 2% and 3% of overall business to around 8%. Stone said he was confident it will reach its target of between 12% and 15% within the next couple of years.

Events are also a major part of the strategy, with the Djungu cultural festival – scheduled to take place over Anzac weekend – looking set to sell out in its inaugural year.  The resort also hosts The Astronomy Weekend in August, to be hosted by TV and Triple J radio personality Dr Karl Kruszelnicki.

And then there is the Royal Visit. Prince William and Prince Kate, along with baby George, will arrive in Uluru on April 22 for an overnight stay. They will visit the resort’s National Indigenous Training Academy where they will hand out certificates and meet trainees before spending time at the base of Uluru with the land’s traditional owners. 

“That’s obviously going to get some significant coverage, possibly even more than we’ve anticipated, not only from Australia and the UK but other markets too,” Stone predicted.

The resort is fully booked that weekend, he added.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Comments are closed.

Travel Agents

Savenio restructures commission model

There’s been plenty of tszujing happening over at Savenio lately. However, that’s not to suggest the “Fab Five” paid the agency network a visit.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas still committed to October restart for international flights, says Joyce

Qantas’ CEO doesn’t plan on letting a few vaccine “speedbumps” get in the way of the flying kangaroo going international in October.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Florida Governor sues CDC and Biden administration, demanding resumption of cruising

The lawsuit claims the US government is “singling out” the cruise industry and costing the state billions.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Man blows almost $20,000 after refusing temperature check at Disney World

Today, in what NOT to do at Disney World, we bring you reports of a man who blew almost $20,000 after getting kicked out for refusing a temperature check.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

Rail Europe launches fresh e-learning program for agents

Are you looking to get your rail bookings back on track? Go full steam ahead with this new online training tool.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Destination NSW appoints PwC’s Kathryn Illy as new GM of consumer marketing

Katherine Illy is joining Destination NSW as its new consumer marketing boss. However, Travel Weekly understands she is of no relation to Aussie rapper Illy.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

New aircraft, more jobs and a bigger network: Virgin Australia fast-tracks growth plans

Virgin boss Jayne Hrdlicka trekked to a cabin crew training school in Brisbane this morn to deliver this very important update.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

“Truly changes the game”: Travelport unveils next-gen platform

The global travel retail player has new-look platform. However, we have no idea how the guying spinning on his head has anything to do with it.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

“There was a knife in the pool”: Melbourne’s worst motel hits the market

Melbourne’s most notorious motel is up for sale, and its owners are hoping to get a few million for it.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Will Aussies actually be able travel to other countries via New Zealand?

Reports have been circulating about a loophole in the trans-Tasman bubble that could see Aussies travelling beyond the Land of the Long White Cloud.

Share

CommentComments

Events

NCL, Club Med and Globus team up for blockbuster roadshows

ATTN AGENTS: It’s time to get out of your track pants and into your business attire, because one of the first in-person trade events of 2021 is about to land.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Upgrades, revitalisation key focuses for Kakadu Tourism in 2021

Kakadu Tourism is upgrading and revitalising its attractions. Sources say the region’s saltwater crocodiles will be equipped with laser beams.

Share

CommentComments