Australia's indigenous experiences have moved from being ‘nice to do’ to ‘must do’ in itineraries Australia's indigenous experiences have moved from being ‘nice to do’ to ‘must do’ in itineraries

Aussie inbounders mark trends

Longer itineraries with travel at a more relaxed pace will be the order of the day when Australia welcomes international visitors again, according to a panel of the country’s inbound tour operators at the Tourism Australia Global Summit this week.

Other trends they identify are increasing indigenous content in itineraries, more focus on nature and wildlife, plus an uptake in boutique and luxury accommodation and experiences.

Neale Herridge, group general manager at ATS Pacific, says there are likely to be less one night stops in programmes, giving people more time to explore and meet the locals.

‘Aussies haven’t seen international visitors for a long time, so people are going to get a very warm welcome.’

He says ATS is experiencing strong demand for group excursions, with the older demographic keen to travel with friends and family.

Simon Bernadi, managing partner with Australia & Beyond Holidays says people are looking for tailored small group trips, mixing things like glamping and luxury lodges with nature and indigenous experiences. ‘Often they combine all this with mainstream product as well.’

He says that because people are intending to stay longer when they visit Australia, his company will be incorporating some great Australian journeys into its offerings. ‘We’ll be taking people to places like Longreach which has gone off the Richter scale in the domestic market. Another option is (South Australia’s) Eyre Peninsula and there is great product out of Port Lincoln.

“From Cape York (Queensland) people can take fishing trips with some of the indigenous operators – to go out and fish they way indigenous people did is an incredible experience.

‘When it comes to glamping there are fantastic new options around the country now.’

David Armour, managing director of Southern World Australia, says the company is seeing a longer lead in time for both bookings and quotes.

‘There is competing demand from both the international and domestic markets for some of the boutique product.’

Armour agrees with other panellists about people wanting to take longer, more relaxed trips. ‘What used to be day excursions into the regions will become overnights and people will maybe spend a bit more time in the cities as well.

‘The increase in inter-generational travel – mum, dad, the kids and grandparents – is likely to lead to more demand for apartment style accommodation.’

All panellists felt that indigenous experiences have moved from being ‘nice to do’ to ‘must do’ in itineraries.

‘There has been a perception that most of these are in Far North Queensland or the Red Centre, but actually they can be experienced all over the country, including in cities.’