Travellers’ fears about wealth have overtaken fears about health, according to new research by Tourism Australia.
Phillipa Harrison, managing director Tourism Australia, believes
there is a “very clear shift” taking place in the minds of travellers
around the world.
“Priorities are shifting very clearly from health concerns about the
pandemic, to wealth concerns, things like the cost of living, fuel and
energy costs, and interest rates.”
Harrison said while financial barriers were overtaking Covid barriers
when people were considering travel to Australia, “in some ways, we're
back in familiar territory, and we know how to deal with this.
“And that's quite a stark contrast from the last couple of years when
it feels like we've been reacting to all the things that kept coming at
us as an industry, and in our everyday lives.”
Harrison speaking at an industry webinar, said although many
challenges to travel were ongoing - most evidently the lack of airline
capacity - “there’s some good news in that we're seeing consumer
behaviour stabilising. It is becoming more predictable”.
“And while demand is still down versus 2019, planning for the
immediate term and predicting future growth feels like it's more back to
what we know.”
The challenge for Australia, Harrison said, is that outbound travel
was still outpacing inbound and short-haul travel was winning out over
“We're seeing a big global trend with travellers staying a little bit closer to home.”
Harrison said the trend to shorter haul travel was producing “quite extraordinary results” for Australia from South-east Asia.
“Singapore is currently sitting at 163% of 2019 bookings. And this is
down from an extraordinary high of 226% in April. Malaysia is also in
positive territory with a 10% increase on 2019.”
Harrison’s comments coincided with new search data from Agoda showing
the number of international travellers looking for an Australian
getaway has increased by 300% in the past six months.
According to Agoda, Singapore and the US are still strong origin
markets, but South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia have emerged
as “hot” new markets for Australia.
Agoda’s Oceania director, Zsuzsanna Janos, said, it was vital for
Australian hotel owners to tap into these markets, while recognising the
need to deliver value at a time when global inflation and the cost of
living are rising.
“Not all Asian markets are the same. And we are seeing differences in
how they search and book their holidays, and what they are seeking when
they come to Australia,” Janos said.
“For example, travellers from South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia are
looking for more than just a hotel – they want to experience local
culture, food, wine, nature and wildlife, and engage in activities that
allow them to get more from their trip.
“And if they can make savings on their hotel costs through special
rates and incentive programmes, at this time when the global economy is
challenging, we are finding it's often the catalyst for them to confirm a