Globally, with the strategy of living with covid-19, Governments are structuring their path for safe reopen. Majority of destinations across the globe have restarted tourism, at least domestic and are now looking to restart regional tourism. Australia Government has come up with a Three-step roadmap towards a COVIDSafe Australia, which includes the tourism and hospitality.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced the world to an unprecedented degree of change and forced the reevaluation of what we consider to be ‘normal’. Australia too has been impacted significantly with the lack of international tourists over the past few months. However, Australia is now one of the few countries to effectively flatten the curve recently resulting in a minimal number of reported cases. A factor of importance that travelers will be increasingly relying on and that will inform their decision to travel to a country. While the timelines for lifting international travel restrictions are yet to be confirmed, it is essential for us to realize that the industry will start the process of recovery quickly once travel resumes,” Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager, Tourism Australia, informs.
In the initial phase, besides domestic tourism, Australia is looking at the ‘Trans-Tasman’ travel corridor, which will be a positive for the global outbound tourism.
“Tourism is a major contributor to Australia’s economy and as part of the Australian Government’s issuance of its Three-step Roadmap towards a COVIDSafe Australia the plan details a systematic approach for lifting travel restrictions. The easing of domestic travel restrictions is currently underway, allowing for intrastate and some interstate travel, which is where we anticipate the start of the recovery to commence. A ‘trans-Tasman’ travel corridor between Australia and New Zealand is also identified in the three-step plan. While the official details and timing of this ‘travel bubble’ have not yet been announced, it highlights a possible step forward towards reinstating inter-country travel,” he adds.
Over the years, India has emerged as one of the top markets for Australia. India currently occupies the sixth position following China, New Zealand, United States, United Kingdom and Singapore, with each tourist averaging an expenditure of approximately AU$ 5,000.
“Tourism Australia continues to focus on with industry partners and trade to prepare for when international travel resumes, and Australia can once again safely welcome travellers from India. India having consecutively remained a front running market for Australia’s tourism industry, recording double digit growth over the span of six years and surpassing the 2020 target arrival goal of 300,000 arrivals in 2017, has retained its title as the fastest growing tourism market, reiterating the vital need for and opportunity that rests within it,” he reveals.
Presently, long-haul tourism will be one of the last in any traveller’s bucket list. But, with SOPs and protocols in place topped up with an array of activities and attraction, Australia positions itself as one of the most ideal long-haul destination for the Indian travellers.
Speaking about the trend Kashikar, says, “Going forward, travellers will likely be hyperaware and unwilling to compromise on hygiene and sanitation standards, which will in turn influence their choice of airlines and accommodation based on the protocols enforced by these service providers. Once the lockdown is lifted, travelers are likely to seek solace in the lap of nature leading to a rise in demand for countryside, wildlife and/or outdoor adventure-based experiences. Self-drive trips will see an uptake as travellers will want to explore nature at their own pace and away from the crowds. This is also influenced by the fact that travellers will naturally want to gravitate towards experiences that are less crowded to maintain social distancing.”
Replying to a question over slow tourism, he says that slow tourism is definitely on the cards for travellers given that this will allow them the opportunity to navigate varied experiences over several weeks so that they also abide by safety protocols. “Tourists will also prefer this option given that it will provide them with an avenue to explore several aspects of a destination at once, after months of being confined to their homes. In fact, Australia is the ideal destination for long haul travel given the expansive array of curated and natural experiences available across the country for all kinds of travelers,” he adds.