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After November 2020’s Positive Trends In Overseas Travel, What Can Australian Travel Players Expect in 2021?

December 22, 2020 Headline News No Comments

The recent overseas travel data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) came as a happy surprise for Australian travel players that are looking forward to reinstating their business operations. With tourist influx increasing since October 2020, the data for November 2020 unveils the largest number of overseas arrivals post the pandemic-induced international border closures.

As per the latest figures, arrival trips showed an improvement of 20.5% in November 2020 compared to the previous month. While over half of the arrivals represented Australian natives returning home, citizens from New Zealand constituted 12.5% of all arrivals. It is consistent with the opening of a one-way travel arrangement from New Zealand.

Despite the increase in monthly arrivals, the year-on-year figures for November this year remained relatively low.

Meanwhile, with the rise in infection cases, the Governments could remain circumspective over providing greater leeway to travel expansion too soon.

Let us look at the potential developments that could take place in the ailing travel and tourism sector. 

Travel Spending Likely to Soar, Thanks to Economic Figures

Australia plummeting into recession after three decades may force travel companies to clamp down their expenditures, especially on holidays or leisure activities. However, the effects of economic crunch continue to peter out as the Australian economy bounced out of recession.

A 3.3% GDP growth in the third quarter of 2020 accompanied by rising consumer sentiments are motivational factors, bolstering the recovery prospects for travel space. Upbeat economic figures also reflected in employment numbers, which grew by 90,000 in November 2020 while working hours rose by 2.5%.

The recent buoyant trends promise significant recovery opportunities for the tourism sector, expected to soon follow economic upswing.

Focus to Remain on Domestic Tourism

Christmas and New Year drawing nearer is expected to encourage Australians to visit their kith and kin while also opening avenues for tourism and hospitality services.

However, amidst debated vaccine scenario and continued infection fear, the Morrison Government has extended the ban on outbound travel till March 2021, crushing all plans for foreign trips. On the bright side, this may encourage the travel-loving Australians to begin their quest for ideal local tourist spots.

Alternatively, Australia’s plan to completely open by Christmas appears crushed as recent inter-state border restrictions were imposed with the rise in the NSW cases. It could be a signal that the Australian domestic travel industry might have to wait till the next year to be off the hook.

Call To Relaunch International Travel At The Earliest

Major international bodies along with the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) have come together, calling for immediate restoration of international travel without waiting for mandatory or mass vaccination.

Other significant parties voicing similar views include Airports Council International (ACI), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the World Economic Forum (WEF). They believe that a quick revival of travel is necessary to save millions of jobs in the already ailing travel & tourism sector. As per recent WTTC research, around 174 million jobs in the industry stand threatened.

Image: ©Kalkine Group 2020

Meanwhile, head of the Flight Centre, Graham ‘Skroo’ Turner also seems to be backing this call, seeking Australian authorities to consider travel potential sooner than later.

However, WHO indicated that Asia-Pacific region might have to wait till mid-2021 to gain access to COVID-19 vaccine shots. It seems to endorse a long-term approach for Australia, which currently seems to be dependent on import of vaccines after it stopped vaccine trials when volunteers developed HIV antibodies.

Outbound Travel To Sail With Trans-Tasmanian Bubble

Overseas travel remained on life support with the one-sided Trans-Tasmanian travel arrangements. It has however been positioned for quick recovery as the possibility of quarantine-free travel draws in between the two countries.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has flagged the prospect that a travel bubble between the two countries could kickstart early next year, given the success of both nations to bring the infection under control.

The Governments remain in discussion with agencies and travel players concerning the arrangements with the focus to ensure safe travel.

The recent promotional campaigns run by Travel Australia continue to whet domestic travellers’ appetite by highlighting exotic Australian destinations. Meanwhile, amid pressure for opening overseas travel soaring up, the Government is facing the Hobson’s choice: to persist taking border closures measures to avoid unwelcomed mishaps or to unlock its doors for economic reboot via allowing an influx of international tourists. 


Source; Kalkine Media

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