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AFTA CEO Update - Tuesday 21 January, 2020

The bushfire recovery has well and truly commenced, and the tourism industry is the beneficiary of the Federal Government’s financial commitment (the first tranche, with more expected), with a $76m funding plan that will see Tourism Australia re-enter the promotion of domestic tourism.

The breakdown of the funds is well mapped out, including $20 million to promote domestic tourism - more on that shortly;

  • $25 million as a supplement to the Tourism Australia efforts for a specific global campaign for inbound visitors;
  • $10 million to support regional events like concerts, festivals and other permanent visitor attractions;
  • $9.5 million for global media hosting to help restore the media messages;
  • $6.5 million to support tourism businesses and buyers to the Australian Tourism Exchange, which is all about selling Australia to the world; and
  • $5 million to help support the diplomatic network across the globe.

In all, it’s additional money from the National Bushfire Recovery Fund to support the tourism industry both here on the ground, and in marketing and communications around the world. It is a targeted approach to get things moving and back on track for the thousands of small businesses who rely on visitors, both domestic and international, for their futures and survival.

For the travel industry, this plan presents an opportunity to be involved in the national recovery efforts by ensuring that agencies, consultants and advisers are tuned in and up to speed on the various offers with domestic holiday options. I suspect we will see many of the domestic providers coming out with additional options - time will tell on this one.

While many Australians will take a weekend away, or a short break with a simple drive and drop approach, others may consider an Aussie holiday over another overseas option this year, so the entire travel eco-system needs to be ready to support and advise those who might enquire about these options. It is always difficult to tell exactly what the Australian people will do when it comes to these types of decisions, and of course it will very much depend on the campaign that is mounted by Tourism Australia and the state tourism marketing agencies, but it’s best to be prepared to assist, should the desire to book domestic by clients arise. Many of the state marketing bodies have already commenced campaigns, and the Tourism Australia money will no doubt further support many of the ideas already in market.

There has also been a push for companies to consider holding their internal sales or strategy meetings in regional Australia or destinations that they may not normally consider – time will tell how that rolls out, but it is all worth having at the top of mind and ensuring that this type of national recovery thinking is in the narrative of all those in the travel industry.