Tourism

Travel confidence growing, industry experts say

Confidence among travellers is positive and growing, but snap border closures continue to hamper the domestic tourism industry, leading travel and tourism experts said at Are Media’s inaugural TRENDtalks event.

The panel discussion, held last week and hosted by Gourmet Traveller editor Joanna Hunkin, examined the issues and trends facing marketers in the post-COVID-19 world.

The event was introduced by NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayers.

Robert Dougan, executive general manager, strategy and research at Tourism Australia, said that the organisation’s tracking showed increased consumer confidence among travellers and a wider global perception that Australia is a safer place to travel to since the pandemic started.

“From a traveller perception point of view, it’s really positive,” he said.

“There are areas in Australia and parts of the sector that are doing really well … you can see a change in the tone of the media and as that starts to get more positive, I think it will end up with more security around people actually booking … perceptions will start shifting wallets.”

Dougan said domestic border closures, while brought in place to keep Australians safe, had slowed down the recovery of tourism.

“And we see in our search and forward booking data that recovery is slower every time we see a closure, so I’m hoping that vaccines get rid of that problem and we start to see money follow into the industry after that,” he said.

Tourism New Zealand’s general manager for Australia, Andrew Waddel, echoed the sentiment.

“We are really seeing confidence grow,” he said. “Consumers and travellers are a lot more comfortable with COVID, but it’s the snap border closers that will continue to be a concern.

“If we are able to get beyond that and build it into the consideration when planning a holiday, I think we’ll see quite a fast return.”

Caddie Marshall, general manager of Orange360, the regional tourism body representing Orange and its surrounds, told the virtual panel that tourism to the city had boomed since COVID restrictions were relaxed.

“We had spent the last two years focused on the 28-to-34-year-old market,” she said.

“What we have seen is a return to our more traditional market of 50-plus. They are looking for high-end immersive experiences and they are willing to pay.”

Anthony Laver, group general manager of sales and marketing at Scenic, said there was also a change in the types of experiences travellers were looking for.

“There is a shift away from ‘big is better’. People now want to go to areas that not a lot of people go to and have more engaging, discovery experiences,” he said.

“The high-end luxury market is evolving to the very intimate, customised, immersive experience.”

While domestic travel is likely to remain the main vacation option for most Australians in the coming year, Tourism Australia’s Dougan said it would not replace the money spent by international tourists.

“There is only so much demand we can get from the domestic audience, so for travelling Aussies to make up for the international expenditure, they’d have to take about another four trips a year,” he said.

“Which is a lot. The industry is going to have to focus on driving yield where we can. Getting them to spend more while they are in destination and on experiences.”

Hunkin added that Gourmet Traveller is seeing “a huge appetite” among its audience for trusted, curated travel advice.

“They are eager to explore the best Australia has to offer and are looking to us to share those premium experiences,” she said. “They want to know where to eat, drink, stay and play and are looking to us, more than ever, to guide them.”

You can watch the full TRENDtalks travel panel session on demand here.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Events

Bali travel forced to refund attendees after “underwhelming” event

A festival aiming to quench the thirst of those who would rather be in Bali right now was forced to issue refunds and offer free entry after attendees claim they were lied to.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

ScoMo “in no hurry” to reopen Australia’s international borders

It appears the likelihood of more travel bubbles being announced soon is about the same as ScoMo’s beloved Sharkies winning the NRL Premiership this year … not good.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

YIPPEE! Two-way trans-Tasman bubble finally kicks off

Today is the day, folks! As of midnight last night, the two-way trans-Tasman bubble is FINALLY open! Get the lowdown on NZ flights and tour discounts right here.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

“Do not trust the GPS”: Google Maps places rural town 85km north of its actual location

According to the mayors of a handful of rural Aussie towns, this isn’t the first time the popular travel app has caused problems for them.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

“We call it the triple win”: Global Work & Travel launches new affiliate program

Have you been searching for ways to earn some much-needed moolah ever since JobKeeper ended? Here’s one that doesn’t involve busking on the street or spinning signs.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

CLIA to welcome 18 new ships with virtual showcase

The association is bringing you all the latest vessel news from the maritime world with this exclusive showcase.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

GM appointed to lead Best Western’s newest Aussie hotel

Australia’s newest luxe boutique hotel has named its GM who, according to the accompanying press photo, has a strong beard game.

Share

CommentComments

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