Even though they felt a lot easier after their 2009 numbers came in, Australia is still not comfortable with their inbound numbers from North America and they’re looking to up that ante with a unique focus on a variety of niche markets, including a unique approach to making big gains in youth sales from 18 to 30.
But that’s not all. They’ve also arranged major price cuts on their walkabout programs by partnering with tour operators—Goway Travel and Qantas Vacations—and airlines. Tourism Australia’s One Week Walkabout program offerings are 1-week vacations in three-star accommodations in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, starting at $1,299 including roundtrip air from Los Angeles or San Francisco. The cities can also be mixed and matched with car rental options to broaden vacation options and attractions for your clients.
The whole idea of the walkabout vacations is to get people traveling now, primarily because Tourism Australia discerned that the marketplace was convinced it was too far to go in less than two or three weeks. They argue that Australia is just a 14-hour flight from the U.S. west coast, not any longer than a typical European flight and a vacation at very competitive pricing.
swain tours Swain Tours is also getting into the niche campaign. “We’re doing a campaign right now with Tourism Australia that’s heavily focused on food and wine, nature and adventure, and wildlife. Culture is a big factor, too,” explains Diana Swain, the company’s marketing coordinator. “The products that are coming out right now in these niche markets from a culture perspective, are really nice. In Melbourne, for example, they’ve got a product called Tjanabi—it’s actually a restaurant located at Federation Square—and what they do is focus on aboriginal food. So you take the client to the Botanical Gardens with an aboriginal guide who picks off these berries, nuts and scented leaves that we all know of, like bay—things like that—and you bring them back to the restaurant and they put together this wonderful gourmet meal using these authentic aboriginal ingredients. So that kind of thing is doing real wonders.”
There’s a similar product out of South Australia in Adelaide, Swain explains. “It’s a company called Book A Beach. He is an actual aboriginal and takes people out—it’s more of a cultural thing—he takes people out into the parks and gardens and talks about herbal medicines that were and still are being used by aboriginals to heal themselves and protect themselves. So that’s been a real big trend. I guess it’s like combining food and wine with culture.”
The point is, because all of these events are in or near the three major cities, these are the kinds of attractions that can fill your clients’ interest needs, at affordable—and more importantly—very marketable prices, including wildlife.
“Wildlife is huge,” Swain says, “but people want to see it in more of a unique way—they want to do more than just sit on a motor coach and look about.” And she adds, they don’t necessarily have to go out into the bush to enjoy it. Going to a wildlife park, there should be something unique there.” And, she says, they found one right in Sydney itself.
“It’s the Sydney Wildlife Park and it’s actually in an enclosed space. They take you around to see all of the national animals of Australia, and a lot of our clients are coming back and saying they were absolutely wild about it because it was right in the heart of Sydney and they got to see a whole lot of animals without having to trek out to the bush.” She also adds that it was done in a unique environment that mirrored the way they would have found the animals in the bush.
Finally, there’s the luxury niche that’s affordable to those who want to scale down costs for a bit and still vacation like they used to. With Swain’s City Chic and Tropical Retreat program, clients stay five nights in Melbourne and enjoy a wine country tour in the Yarra Valley, discover hidden city secrets on a Lanes and Arcades Walking Tour and learn about local wildlife during a Savannah Walkabout. Clients also get first class or deluxe accommodations in Cairns or Port Douglas, and explore the Great Barrier Reef, Tablelands, Waterfalls and Spanish Castles and the Highlander Food trail tour. The program includes 17 meals included with pricing beginning at $2,199. Book before April 30 and get two free nights—one in Melbourne and one in either Cairns or Port Douglas.