Airfare capacity and pricing continue to remain primary concerns for inbound tourism to Australia, Minister for Trade and Tourism, Don Farrell highlighted at the Destination Australia conference in Sydney yesterday [Thursday 16 March 2023].
“The two biggest problems in terms of getting international tourists back into Australia is one, the cost. The cost is still very high. Secondly, it’s the availability of seats on aeroplanes,” the Minister said, reiterating the issue that has faced tourism operators during and since the pandemic.
Minister Farrell used the example of Melbourne Airport and the reopening of the China market for outbound travel last week. Before the pandemic, China was Australia’s largest international source of tourists. Farrell said that six of the eight Chinese carriers are flying to the Victorian capital, but their frequencies are not to the same levels of pre-pandemic.
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The Senator will fly to China in a few weeks’ time and hopes his discussions with officials there will encourage the market to boost volumes.
“We’re slowly getting the numbers back.”
Farrell told travel and tourism delegates at the summit in Sydney “We’ve got to put the pandemic behind us”.
“Everywhere I go – I was in India, Japan, China, France, Germany, UK, US – there’s a huge amount of pent-up demand from those people to come to Australia.”
“So long as we can get the jets back into the air and push the prices down, I’ve got no doubt that we’ll be back to at least equal to, and in all probability, higher than pre-pandemic levels, because there is all of that pent up demand out there.”
“And we’ve got to be ready for it. There’s no point me going out encouraging all of these tourists to come to Australia only to find that we can’t meet the demand,” Minister Farrell warned.
The Minister was optimistic for the future, saying all the key indicators suggest the pandemic is now behind us and we can look forward to a bright future.
“Now, that’s not to say everything is rosy. We’ve seen interest rates starting to go up that’s obviously going to have an impact on consumption. But if we can get these international tourists back to the levels that I believe we can achieve by the end of the year, then that will certainly assist,” Minister Farrell concluded.
Lead image: Minister for Trade & Tourism, Senator Don Farrell, flanked by Tourism Australia’s Chair, Michael Issenberg and Managing Director, Phillipa Harrison, at the ICC Sydney at the 2023 Destination Australia conference.