Comment: Australia Day reminds us of a fantastic sales opportunity

APT managing director Paul Melinis expects flurry of bookings from UK customers when country’s borders reopen

Being owned and run by the Australian McGeary family for almost 95 years, and a proudly antipodean company, Australia Day is usually a time when we, along with our peers in the industry, can celebrate the amazing things that this destination has to offer clients.

This year, it is also a good moment to consider the future travel plans of our customers, as we wait patiently for borders to reopen to international travellers.

The pent-up demand we are seeing means that a fantastic sales opportunity awaits when Australian holidays restart.

Even though UK travellers haven’t been able to get over there, our APT and Travelmarvel tours and cruises have been operating over the last two years, filled with excited Aussies exploring their wonderfully diverse backyards.

The ongoing buzz that this has created for domestic travel means a lot of 2022 inventory has already been booked up by the Australian market.

When borders do reopen, we can expect hot competition from the flurry of UK customers who will be rushing to book whatever capacity is left, and your clients may expect to see limited dates and elevated prices for flights, hotels and packages.

For that reason, we are encouraging our agent partners to start playing the longer game now, promoting 2023 travel to Australia to their databases while there is still enough availability and freedom of choice for their clients to enjoy.

From the wild north-west of the Kimberley to the pristine sands of the Gold Coast, and from bustling cities to fascinating Aboriginal culture, being able to offer the full gamut of Australia’s rich variety to customers will help agents to close sales.

Australia Day is also a helpful prompt for important conversations about how we travel and the kinds of experiences that we should be promoting to our clients.

The day is not without some controversy being held, as it is, on a date that marks British colonisation.

Supporting Indigenous communities and travelling with respect to first nations people, culture and land are core values of our business.

Over the years we have been thrilled to see more and more travel companies taking huge steps towards supporting Aboriginal communities in overcoming the unfair disadvantages that many face.

There are some excellent initiatives that we and our non-profit, OneTomorrow, work with in Australia, including the Rainforest 4 Foundation and supporting its goal of returning the Daintree Rainforest land to its Indigenous owners and removing the threat of future development to one of the oldest rainforests in on Earth with an exceptionally high biodiversity and conservation value.

We also partner with the Wunan Foundation, one of the leading Aboriginal organisations in the East Kimberley, which creates a social and economic culture that enables, encourages and rewards individuals and communities to take responsibility to change their lives.

By choosing to promote operators and products that support amazing and life-changing projects such as these, we can ensure that we – and our customers – are helping to push forward positive change.

That should be a key focus on this Australia Day, and every day.