Spotlight on Europe - Edition 4
3 May 2022
In your last update, you shared insights into your plans to support recovery from the European market. Please update us on how this is tracking.
The Tourism Australia team, our state and territory colleagues and our industry partners have been busy implementing the plans we shared previously. We started with the boarder reopening announcements in February which resulted in fantastic media coverage across Germany, France and Italy and encouraged media to publish stories which were freshly produced but put on hold at the onset of the pandemic.
In collaboration with distribution partners, we followed the announcements with three iterations of the Working Holiday Maker campaign ‘Work and Play the Aussie Way’ – Jobben und Reisen Aussie Style in Germany, Travailler et Profitez, c’est ca l’Australie in France and Vacanza & Lavoro, il tuo sogno australiano in Italy – and three ‘Don’t Go Small, Go Australia’ re-opening campaigns – Zeit für etwas Grosses. Zeit für Australien in Germany, Voyez Grand, Découvrez l’Australie in France and Pensa in Grande. Viaggia in Australia in Italy.
We will soon be in market with Singapore Airlines across the region as well as some further tactically driven initiatives. Trade education and promotion of the Aussie Specialist Program is the other key activity at present. Last but certainly not least, we are incredibly happy that the first set of journalists have travelled from Europe to Australia to produce new stories for this market.
You will see a strong buyer delegation at the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) this month with 48 buyer companies and 12 media from Europe attending ATE Live.
How did the European trade and media respond to the announcement of Australia’s borders re-opening in February?
The border announcements, firstly for Working Holiday Makers and then the general border reopening were extremely emotional moments, met with sheer joy of being able to send people to Australia again and, realising that we would be able to attend ATE Live and touch Australian soil ourselves for the first time in over two years.
The day of the border opening was met with great activity across our markets. We participated in opening aperitivo events across 12 Italian cities, hosted by the Discover Australia Group, we briefed a large group of journalists with our state and territory colleagues in Germany, and invited passers-by in central Paris to take part in an Australia themed quiz giving them instant access to the infamous Australian flat white in the Fitzroy Café during our month-long Australia consumer activation with famous Paris department store BHV.
We received very emotional messages across social media, and on a personal note, I was pleased that my goddaughter was one of the first flights embarking on her long-awaited working holiday stay in Australia.
How is consumer sentiment towards travel? Are there any booking trends emerging, relevant to Australia?
It is great to see that the consumer demand is there for long-haul travel. With the Ukraine war on our doorstep, we were a little anxious about the impact this might have on our potential travellers. So far, whilst we are experiencing price increases and seeing the very emotional scenes unfolding through media and the large influx of refugees arriving in our countries who are welcomed with open arms, we have not seen a major slowdown in travel. The impact on German consumer travel behaviour has been minimal which the recent Easter holiday has shown. There is a little more uncertainty in France and Italy around the unfolding situation, but even so demand is strong.
Key distribution partners reported a surge of last-minute bookings immediately after the border announcement for imminent departures and those visitors are on their way to Australia now. Europeans have not changed their pre COVID-19 travel patterns too much, with most bookings made for August/September; however, travellers are considering how complex the travel procedures are to their destination of choice, reliability of border openings and are taking out comprehensive travel insurance.
The European traveller is now more than ever before looking for great nature and wildlife experiences and they want to know the impact they make and traces they leave behind with their trips.
Road trips and self-drive itineraries are currently selling best, which traditionally have been strong in this part of the world. There is a keen interest in Aboriginal tourism experiences and learning from First Nations peoples. Surprisingly, and in a way contrary to what I said at the onset of the crisis, group travel is not dead, and we have seen requests coming through for escorted, small group travel.
What in-market events are you planning this year?
Live events are very much back in Europe and there is much demand for them. In collaboration with state and territory partners, we held two “welcome back” Aussie Specialist events in Milan in early April and a roadshow across four German cities. We will host a similar format in Paris in mid-June. Outside of a series of key distribution partner-led roadshows which we are joining, we are also excited to be looking at our next Australia Marketplace UK/Europe to be held in London in November. We are expecting a very good turnout for this as some buyers who are unable to attend ATE Live will attend this event in November.
On the PR front we have equally been hosting our journalists at the “Welcome back” media events and briefings across Germany and Italy so far and the French event will be linked with the trade facing events in June.