The Australian Regional Tourism Convention, convened by ART, was held in Ballarat last week, incorporating the inaugural Australian Agritourism Conference. Here’s 10 surprising take-aways in the eyes of the Grey Nomad Awards’ team from this gathering of regional tourism leaders:
1. Outbound travel will increase far faster than inbound. That’s right, there’s more Australians travelling overseas for holidays than internationals arriving here. Why? Very limited airline capacities are making flights very expensive for inbound travellers. So don’t expect international travel to bounce back quickly!
2. 66% of Australians say that they are unlikely to return in the short-term to international travel.
3. Airbnb now has an experience section. So boutique experiences, such as a two-hour “Grow Organic Fruit and Veges” tour of a mini farm in regional Victoria, now have market cut-through and are able to compete against traditional and larger experience operators. Awesome for small regional experience operators and start ups!
4. Hepburn Shire Artesan Agriculture Survey revealed that 38+% of agribusinesses were on land of less than five hectares! (There was a one-day Agritourism conference linked to the main event.).
5. 68% of Aussies would rather spend money on activities and experiences, including travel, than on possessions.
6. While volunteers (across all sectors) are satisfied, volunteering rates have dropped by 10 percent compared to pre-COVID levels and less than 10 percent of people who have never volunteered say they are likely to do so in the future.
7. VFR accounts for more than half of all visitors in some regional areas, yet so little is known about the particulars of this market that Victoria’s Federation University has published the world’s first book about VFR travellers. “VFR Travel Research” can be purchased through Amazon here.
8. 37% of Australians say they are travelling on holidays more often in 2022 to make up for lost time.
9. Innovation is key. One example: The “ten pound pom” campaign has been revived! The South Australian government created the campaign earlier this year where 200 British backpackers get to pay just £10 for a return ticket to work in SA. That’s a saving of about £1,860! The campaign was limited to 200 successful applicants who also had to have a £281 working holiday visa and book a Trailfinders tour package.
10. Innovation in outdoor art can also make a huge difference. In the six months to June 2020 Victoria’s overnight holiday visitors declined by 45 percent. In comparison, the Wimmera region of Victoria where the Silo Art Trail is the key attraction saw a 2 percent increase. That’s 47 percent above the state average!