Some of the strictest COVID-19 lockdown measures in the world were recently reduced in Australia, where international tourists – double vaccinated – are once again being welcomed, reports Press Today’s Ted Davis.
The border reopened to visa-holders with vaccination certificates on Feb. 21, marking the end of almost two years of travel barriers to block the spread of the virus that started in March 2020.
A recent travel industry mission to Vancouver made it clear that the country is back in the tourism business. A contingent of Australia travel suppliers and regional reps met media to show off new travel products and striking promotional videos.
Leading the mission was Chris Allison, the North America acting general manager for Tourism Australia, who gave insights to new campaign videos like “There’s Nothing Like Australia,” “Don’t Go Small, Go Australia” and “It’s A Place You Feel” featuring actor Chris Hemsworth.
Some of those video assets made it onto the streets of Toronto and Vancouver in the winter, where passersby watched video projections of Australia’s landscapes and wildlife on the walls of buildings. Locations with high foot traffic were chosen, including Queen St. West in Toronto and Seymour St. in Vancouver.
These efforts are part of an “elevated investment” in the Canadian market that was green-lighted after surveys determined a strong interest by Canadians to visit Australia.
“We’ve seen a big jump in the perception by Canadians of Australia as a safe destination,” said Allison. He said the surveys of international tourists in general indicate a desire make big travel plans in the wake of the pandemic to achieve bucket list holidays – a good fit for Australia’s tourism profile.
Australia travel plans are being enabled by a growing wave of restored air capacity to the continent, said Allison. About 58% of all international air capacity has been restored to Australia so far, and that is expected to reach between 70% and 80% by the end of the year, he said.
This includes Air Canada, which has announced that its flights to Sydney from Toronto are increasing to a daily frequency as of May 1, and that flights to Brisbane from Vancouver will operate four times per week starting July 1.
Some of the new attractions and hotels are below:
- The new concert hall at the Sydney Opera House is complete and The Modern Project extension at the Art Gallery of New South Wales will
- open at the end of year.
- The W Hotel, Ritz Carlton, Crown Sydney and Kimpton are a few of the fifteen new hotels recently added to the Sydney skyline.
- The new Taronga Zoo Wildlife Retreat offers overnight stays at
- the zoo surrounded by wildlife.
- The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne will be considered the tallest hotel in Australia upon its opening, slated for September 2022.
- Grampians Peaks Trail in Victoria is a newly opened, 13-day/12-night hiking experience across 160 km. of terrain through Grampians National Park (Gariwerd).
- Newly opened Alba Thermal Springs & Spa is set on an expansive property in the Mornington Peninsula – home to 200-plus wineries, food experiences and luxury hotels.
- ESCA’s Nest & Nature is South Australia’s newest luxury accommodation, located in the Inman Valley of the Fleurieu Peninsula, about one hour from Adelaide.
- Exceptional Kangaroo Island recently launched Walk Kangaroo Island, which is a six-day walking experience that includes art, dining and meet and greets with local ecologists.
For more, on Australia go to www.tourism.australia.com
In the photo
Australian tourism stakeholders hosted a lunch and presentation at the Pan Pacific Hotel Vancouver recently. On hand were (l. to r.) Paul Larcher, VoX Int’l account director for Tourism Australia; Audrey Tanguay Beaudette, manager of sales & tourism partnerships for Air Canada; Robert Keddy, regional manager North America at Tourism Western Australia; Chris Allison, acting general manager North America for Tourism Australia; and Laura Jones, North America country manager for Tourism Queensland.
Photo & Story by Ted Davis