COVID presents opportunity for Australia to bolster high-end share

Next 10 years could see luxury inbound market take flight

Australia has the opportunity to expand its share of the global high-end/luxury holiday market post COVID, a Discussion Paper by Austrade on the future of the nation’s visitor economy has highlighted.

The paper’s release coincides with the Morrison Government’s call out to tourism operators, small businesses (including travel agents), state, territory and local governments, and others, to provide their thoughts on what they believe is important to secure the long-term future of the industry as it emerges from COVID-19.

“Post-COVID, a well-balanced inbound market can support the visitor economy, Australia’s labour market needs, and our educational institutions.

“We have an opportunity for Australia to consolidate existing markets, and position itself to diversify and grow into new markets, such as India and South East Asia, which have large populations and growing middle classes,” the paper addresses.

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In the post-COVID world, international airfares are widely expected to soar in cost once borders reopen, meaning inbound travel to Australia will more likely appeal to the discerning traveller.

“Globally the high-end luxury market is growing at 6.7 % per year (50% faster than the total market), while in Australia is it only growing at 1.8% per year,” the Reimagining the Visitor Economy paper reports.

“Over the next decade, there is an opportunity to capture more high-end travel as our tourism offering aligns with key experiences high-end travellers seek: sun and beach; adventure; and culture and food,” the 8-page discussion paper adds.

Industry feedback sought

The Government’s request for feedback follows the recent appointment of an expert panel, tasked with providing advice to the government and the tourism industry to help drive the economic recovery of the tourism sector and its success over the next five to ten years.

Heading the panel is former Federal Tourism Minister, Martin Ferguson AM, who currently Chairs Tourism Accommodation Australia. Also on the five-member panel is Leanne Coddington, CEO of Tourism and Events Queensland; Karyn Kent, Chief Executive of StudyAdelaide; Kate Lamont, owner of Lamont’s Wine and Food and Juan Walker, owner and operator of Walkabout Cultural Adventures.

Over the next six months, they will prepare a body of work termed Reimagining the Visitor Economy, to be presented to the Government in Q3 2021.

A call for input eblast sent to stakeholders
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“As Australia recovers from the pandemic, the visitor economy must fortify its future by diversifying its source markets and offerings, modernising its assets and workforce, and collaborating to do so,” Ferguson said in the paper.

To view the Discussion Paper, click here.

What defines the Visitor Economy?

The visitor economy includes tourism, hospitality, accommodation, events, aviation and other transport, attractions, venues, international students, and any business that relies on visitors (domestic or international), short- or long-term.

The expert panel is now calling for input to identify what the visitor economy requires in order to be “resilient, competitive, sustainable and profitable” over the next decade.

Written submissions which offer “practical advice and solutions” to address the challenges facing the visitor economy can be lodged up until 5pm Friday 11 June 2021. Send submissions to

Visitor Economy Stakeholder Consultation Survey

A Visitor Economy Stakeholder Consultation Survey is also available to be completed online.

The 10-minute survey quizzes people on a range of aspects, including;

  • how their companies vary in size, pre- and post-COVID,
  • target demographic,
  • target market (Luxury, Mid-Range, Budget or Other),
  • visitor mix,
  • if their business can pivot to domestic,
  • level of digital technology used in the business,
  • industry memberships,
  • current business challenges (positive or negative impacts of COVID-19 and the 2020 bushfires),
  • business plan strategy,
  • business survival in five years time,
  • changes necessary over the next five years,
  • business barriers, and more.

To complete the survey, go to Visitor Economy Stakeholder Consultation Survey

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