Tourism Australia is making a big push to get the industry back on track after the devastating effects of the COVID pandemic and the related movement restrictions.
One of the first big initiatives was last weekend’s virtual tour offering, Live from Aus, where various homegrown celebrities host expeditions to destinations across the country.
One of the hosts and Outback Wrangler star, Matt Wright, told CNN, “Everyone has been cooped up in units and apartments, so what we have is very appealing in terms of the wide-open spaces and beautiful landscapes”.
Local is a lifeline
With international travel still a long way off, Tourism Australia hopes the series will help promote local travel once the restrictions have been completely lifted and it’s safe to move around again.
Managing Director of Tourism Australia, Phillipa Harrison, told CNN, “Sixty percent of our consumers plan to take a holiday as soon travel restrictions are lifted.
“We are a nation of travelers. Australians took 6.5 million outbound trips last year. There is a real opportunity to encourage those people, taking those trips, to discover their own backyard.
“The restart of travel is going to be gradual. We will start with a day trip to enjoy local gems or have a food and wine experience. That will then progress to overnight stays locally and then potentially inter-state. Then, hopefully in the long term, international travel.”
Making travel safe
“We are seeing overall domestication of travel. It is certainly the immediate opportunity for any travel industry around the world,” Harrison explained.
“Tourism in Australia accounts for one in 13 jobs. The whole industry virtually shut overnight.
“In the absence of that, regional communities especially are really suffering… Tourism is their lifeblood.”
“Once we show people it is safe to get out and travel, we think people will come back at scale.
“The key to that will be how the industry responds, and the protocols they put in place to ensure guest safety. We, as an industry, are working very hard on that.”