Australia quick to go big

by Steve Hartridge

Australia is on track to recover its pre-Covid tourist numbers by 2024, delegates to the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) in Sydney were told. 

By the first week of May, forward bookings (to Australia) from its core 15 markets, which include the UK, had recovered to 65% of pre-Covid levels, if compared to the same week in 2019. 

Moreover, 42% of pre-Covid inbound business was achieved just 10 weeks after the country reopened its borders on February 20 after a two-year shutdown, said Phillipa Harrison, Managing Director of Tourism Australia. 

The UK is among those leading the rush of visitors: flight bookings by Brits are now at 65% of 2019 volumes (against the same week in May of 2019). 

And a study by Oxford Economics predicts that international visitor numbers to Australia will recover fully by 2024. 

"We kept going (through the pandemic). We know that the planning period for coming to Australia has traditionally been months and years, although that is changing, and we kept telling our stories through our PR and social media channels," said Harrison.

"We are optimistic about the future...we haven't been standing still. We have some great new products and have been polishing a few old favourites too." 

Around 550 sellers and 550 buyers were present at the showcase event in Sydney, the first staging of the event for three years.

Current and future tourism trends that will be prominent will include holidays that tap into the themes of 'Self, Family and Wellness', 'Nature and Wildlife', 'Sustainability' and 'Experiences that involve Australia's Indigenous Stories', added Harrison. 

"Our current branding encourages travellers to 'Don't go small, go Australia'," she said, adding that Australia's providers of tourism products have an opportunity to capitalise on a growing demand for adventure activities, agritourism and festivals and events. 

Steve Cox, Destination New South Wales, CEO, said ATE was a timely showcase for Sydney and New South Wales. 

“At the end of last year, we launched a new brand – 'Feel New South Wales', designed to illustrate that we are at a new beginning, with new hotels, new attractions, new investment and an a new calendar of exciting events," he said. 

Those new hotels in Sydney include the Crown Towers in Barangaroo; the Sydney Margot Kimpton, Australia's first Kimpton hotel which is located on central Pitt Street; and an ACE hotel, which opened in Surry Hills during ATE on the site of a former brick-making plant.  

Major events heeding to Sydney over the next few years include Sydney World Pride (February -March 5 2023), the Women's FIFA World Cup (July-August 2023) and two Rugby World Cups (for men in 2027 and women 2029). 


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