Tourism Australia on how to open up OZ

Flexibility is key as Tourism Australia targets Singapore and the United Kingdom markets as ‘dead certainties’

Tourism Australia is actively targeting five key overseas markets which will offer accommodation providers the best opportunities as Australia slowly opens to the world, an online forum of industry leaders has been told.

More than 200 accommodation and tourism GMs and heads of department zoomed in for this week’s Tourism Accommodation Australia NSW Members Update Webinar – which included a question-and-answer session with Tourism Australia Managing Director – Phillipa Harrison.

The webinar particularly focused on the challenges surrounding international tourism as Australia opens up to the world.

Ms Harrison said Tourism Australia was targeting Singapore and the United Kingdom markets as ‘dead certainties’ to open this year and was also focused on the United States, Korean and Japanese tourism markets.

She said Tourism Australia had “watching briefs” on key markets and would be flexible as “opportunities present themselves” especially in Australia’s traditional tourism markets like the US, UK, China, Hong Kong and Europe.

Ms Harrison said consumer confidence had declined, especially when it came to the domestic market with challenges remaining over border closures.

She added high vaccination rates would make a big difference with 75 percent of Australians surveyed saying they would feel safe to travel domestically once high vaccination numbers were reached (58 percent said they would feel safe travelling internationally).

TAA NSW CEO Michael Johnson thanked Ms Harrison for her dedication.

He said: “Phillipa is at the head of Tourism Australia during the most difficult period in living memory and I would like to thank her and the TA team for their professionalism and dedication as our sector struggles through the pandemic.

“We still have challenging times ahead but our industry is resilient and we will get through this together.”

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2 years ago

Now that we are planning to open up borders again, especially international ones, it is time that our paid support organisations like TA, STOs and RTOs took stock of the situation and approached the “new reset” in tourism on a commercial nett benefit approach. Times ahead are going to be tough and we need to make sure that any of the limited dollars that we spend and going to provide the maximum ROI.

By this, I mean we need to look at which routes provide a net positive or negative benefit to tourism in Australia and how we manage them. In the past I have seen tourism ministers time and time again laud the fact that after much negotiations and hard work, this airline or that airline was now flying to so and so city and that it would be great for tourism! But the fact is that it will be an outbound service not an inbound service. For example a new service into Perth from Bali will do nothing for Australian tourism. It will only facilitate more Australians flying to Bali, but there wont be any Indonesians coming from Bali to Perth.

So the question is whether these 5 markets are net positive or negative to the Australian tourism industry, and based on this, which are the next net positive markets we should focus on?

I would love support organisations like Tourism Australia (and the STOs/RTOs) to back up their announced strategies with actual data that justifies why they are chasing certain markets – that is actual data not projected data!

My gut feel is that we are sailing into some strong head winds and we can’t keep doing what we have in the past, we have to do everything better. Openness and transparency is a great way to get accountability into decision making so we can focus on Return on Investment.

Just a comment starter to get some discussion.

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