Australia and New Zealand have always been closely linked, and now with travel bubbles and corridors becoming a reality, they will be the first international destinations for the region’s HNWI travellers. With unique destinations and experiences on both sides of Tasman eager to welcome back visitors from both domestic locations and abroad, what opportunities await their domestic markets?
Hear what was discussed and more in our Luxperience 2020 panel discussion. If you missed the session or would like a recap of the session check out our 5 takeaways below!
1. Holiday Here This Year – The Push Towards Domestic Travel
When the bushfire crisis tore through the east coast of Australia at the start of the year, heavily impacting popular coastal towns in their busiest season, Tourism Australia launched their ‘Holiday Here This Year’ campaign to encourage domestic travel to regional areas to support their economic recovery. Little did they realise that this would become a national campaign when COVID-19 hit only a few weeks later.
Robin Mack, Executive General Manager Commercial at Tourism Australia stated that the purpose behind the campaign is now to “inspire Australians to holiday again, and to travel as an international traveller would.” He continued by acknowledging that Australia has so many luxuries on offer and now is the time to tick off that ‘bucket list’ holiday. $80 billion is spent on domestic consumer spend annually and this is expected to grow while international borders remain closed.
2. The Trans-Tasman Bubble
When talking about the ever-evolving Trans-Tasman Bubble, Andrew Waddel, General Manager – Australia from Tourism New Zealand spoke highly of its importance as the next phase of re-opening international travel.
“Australia is the biggest contributor to the New Zealand international travel market, accounting for 40%”, he states. “The luxury and premium (of New Zealand) are underestimated from the Australian perspective, we are looking forward to showing that off.”
The planning and momentum to implement the Trans-Tasman bubble is in full swing, both Waddel and Mack stated that the likelihood of it happening is now just a question of ‘when.’
While there is a lot to navigate to encourage travel confidence including scenario planning, risk planning for managing hot spots and what the future of quarantine looks like between the two countries, both were positive in the opportunities the bubble will offer. “We need to play a game where both teams win”, says Andrew.
3. Is the Industry Ready for the New Traveller?
There is no doubt that the world of travel looks different now. Every touch point of the travel lifecycle has changed, from airports to eating at a restaurant.
Robin commended the industry with the way they have handled the ever-growing list of changes, adapting to COVID-19 safe practices, and understanding the new demands and requirements of the market.
Both Robin and Andrew highlighted that now more than ever, it’s essential for the industry and travel advisors to really understand what the consumer wants and what they expect in the new normal. This will help manage expectations as well as making the consumer feel comfortable with the new way of travel.
Staying abreast of the current restrictions and changes will be essential for advisors, says Andrew. Robin agreed, mentioning that Tourism Australia has created an online portal that outlines all the COVID-19 restrictions related to the various locations across the country.
4. Pivot the Consumer
When travel to certain destinations or countries is off the cards, both panellists gave one piece of advice for managing client expectations.
In a year where ‘pivoting’ has been the centre of change, the concept should also be applied to travel, says Waddel.
“There are alternatives in Australia and New Zealand that offer the same level of beauty as other markets”, he continues. “It may not be lions and tigers, but Australia offers a rich flora and fauna experience that still adds a sense of adventure, for example.”
They recommend doing the research and finding viable solutions that offer a similar experience, clients might be pleasantly surprised at the result.
5.The Travel Rush
“The pent-up demand is real”, says Robin. “Everyone wants to go on a holiday, people are eager and consumer confidence is back” “there will be an immediate rush for sure”.
Andrew supported Robin, stating that the want and demand for travel is there. He spoke how the QANTAS ‘flight to nowhere’, which flew across various Australian attractions recently as a ‘joy flight’, sold out in 10 minutes, despite not actually landing anywhere.
While the rush will be welcomed, both Robin and Andrew expressed their concern that the key to restoring the industry is ensuring that a sustainable curve is established.
Quentin Long, Co-founder, Australian Traveller Media
Andrew Waddel, General Manager – Australia, Tourism New Zealand
Robin Mack, Executive General Manager Commercial, Tourism Australia