COVID-19 has thrown just about every travel organisation’s strategic plans for 2020 into disarray, prompting a helluva lot of refocusing, pivoting and adjusting.
From a strategic point of view, Tourism Australia plans to have a greater focus on two key areas that are in line with changing consumer behaviours and the experiences that travellers are likely to be increasingly seeking out in the future.
Speaking to Travel Weekly, Tourism Australia managing director Philippa Harrison said Indigenous tourism is an area where Australia has a great story to tell.
“As home to the oldest living culture on Earth, our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories are rich and diverse, with the potential to provide Australian tourism with a competitive advantage,” she explained.
“Today’s conscious traveller is increasingly looking for a real connection to the land and sea, and a new way of experiencing it – exactly the kind of life-changing and immersive experience that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tourism can provide.”
Prior to Australia’s summer bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic, there was growing interest for authentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tourism experiences, according to Tourism Australia.
In 2019, 1.4 million international visitors (17 per cent) enjoyed an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tourism experience whilst visiting Australia – up six per cent per year on year since 2010.
For domestic travellers, the figure was one million, increasing 13 per cent a year since 2013.
Currently, Tourism Australia’s Discover Aboriginal Experiences program includes over 170 quality, authentic Aboriginal guided tourism offerings which it promotes to travellers across the globe.
However, through education, advocacy and promotion, the organisation is looking to further elevate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tourism within the industry and increase awareness and uptake of Indigenous tourism experiences amongst visitors.
Harrison said there is rising demand for sustainable tourism practices in Australia in line with consumer demand for more conscious travel, which is growing across the globe.
“Tourism operators see this as an opportunity to both improve business performance and competitiveness,” she said.
“We see significant opportunities to highlight and encourage best practice and raise awareness of Australian tourism’s often unheralded sustainability credentials.
“Our marketing platforms can help Australian tourism businesses to better communicate their sustainability success stories and, by doing so, help educate and encourage others to follow their lead.”
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Featured image source: Tourism Australia