Holiday park operator Ingenia Holidays is urging the Australian tourism industry not to waste the opportunity to appeal to a new market of tourists, as international borders remain shut due to COVID-19.
Ingenia Holidays General Manager, Ben Hesketh said while the domestic industry has suffered during the pandemic, operators should be jumping at the opportunity to highlight the quality of domestic experiences to a group of guests who previously wouldn’t have considered them.
“There are thousands of people visiting communities all over Australia who would never have considered a domestic trip if it weren’t for the current circumstances,” said Mr Hesketh. “That means thousands of opportunities to secure loyal customers for years to come.
In 2018-19 more than 10 million Australians took overseas trips, spending $65 billion, according to data from the ABS and Tourism Australia.
“It’s incumbent on all tourism businesses – accommodation providers, tour operators, hospitality venues – to show just how amazing a local experience can be”, said Mr Hesketh. “This is an opportunity for Australian operators to permanently secure a larger slice of the Australian tourism market.”
A recent survey by the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) found that half of Australians have plans to travel interstate by the end of 2020.
Couples like Rex and Lyn Burgess, who previously had plans to travel to South Africa and the United Kingdom this year, instead purchased a motorhome and set off on a trip through Queensland.
“Our plan was always to spend a few years ticking off our international holiday list and then travel around Australia during our retirement – COVID just accelerated that timeline for us”, said Mr Burgess. “We tied up a few loose ends in Sydney, picked up the van and just started heading north – we’ve been travelling around Queensland for a couple of months now.
“We’ve just left Hervey Bay, where we stayed at the Ingenia Holidays park for a week and it was one of the best places we’ve stayed so far.” Ingenia Holidays Hervey Bay Park Manager Mourell Dunston said that travellers like Rex and Lyn are helping to revive tourism in towns like Hervey Bay.
“It’s been an extremely tough year for the tourism industry so it’s great to see domestic travellers ‘re-discover’ Australia like this. “Over the past few months, we’ve experienced a surge in bookings which is a positive sign for our local economy, and hopefully this trend will continue so more Australians can experience this beautiful part of our country”, said Ms Dunston.
Mr Hesketh said that the domestic demand also highlights an opportunity for those in tourism areas who found themselves out of work due to COVID restrictions, to now be able to get back on their feet.
“Based on our existing booking alone, quite a number of our parks are already in need of more staff and we expect this will only increase as summer approaches”, Mr Hesketh said.
For information about an Ingenia Holidays park near you visit https://www.ingeniaholidays.com.au/.