Australia ranks 8th in Visitor Spend for the US
The Australian market is forecast to maintain its growth trend to 2021 of 28% to over 1.85 million visitors despite an uncharacteristic drop in visitation numbers for 2016 (1.35 million, a drop of 7% yoy). Oceania as a region registered 1.655 million visitors in 2016 – Australia making up 80% and New Zealand 20% of this.
Australia is still the 10th largest market for the US and punches above its weight for visitor spending, which comes in at 8th largest. New Zealand growth has continued to 296,000 visitors a growth of 6% last year.
The US remains the number one long-haul destination for Australians, with intention to travel and accrued annual leave at all-time highs.
These trends, coupled with unprecedented airlift to the US and the lowest airfares available in years are ideal conditions to support continued growth and repeat travel to the USA. Over 70% of leisure trips are return visitors and 1 in 20 Australians travelled to the US last year, primarily for leisure. We visit often, stay longer (averaging 22 days), visit more States (2.2 compared to 1.5) and spend more than the average visitor.
The Australian economy is stable and the AUD has gained considerable ground against the USD over the last 2 months, from around 75 US cents to approximately 80 US cents which will bolster confidence in consumers to book holidays to the US and offer them better value than they have had over the last 12 months. Cheaper flights means the overall cost of their US vacation is still great value despite lower AUD.
Online Vacation Research Leads to Bookings
Australians and New Zealanders tend to research their vacation online and then book via a travel agent- a trend that is unique, so training and incentivizing retail agents, according to Brand USA, is still best practice in our market, something they have been focusing on heavily and with success. Brand USA’s recent National Parks theme was very successful in raising consumer focus on our region, as is one of their current themes, ‘Beyond the Gateways’, focused on promoting regions such as ours that are outside the main entry points and popular US first time destinations such as LA and NYC.
Market Trends for the Rocky Mountain region
General trends for travel from Australia also support what we have to offer in the Real America: people are looking for authentic experiences; natural, active and cultural, to meet and engage with locals and to visit non-homogenous destinations that maintain their unique characteristics such as pristine parks and terrain, native wildlife and Native American and cowboy culture and customs. We like to get off the beaten path, enjoy trying and cooking local food, events and entertainment such as BBQ, rodeos and sporting events, and are always up for an active vacation involving everything from camping, hiking and biking to everything on or in the water in summer, and on or in the snow come winter.
Increased Product Offerings in AU/NZ
More tour operators an wholesalers in Australia have added product of all types to our Real America region than ever before including small group tours, self-drive itineraries, accommodation, range stays and specialist tours and attractions. A Sales Mission is planned by the four States to visit both Australia and New Zealand this October to reinforce, support, train and incentivize these companies to continue to grow and sell our wonderful destination in these markets.
So please say “G’day” to all the Aussies and Kiwis visiting your town and area soon- and invite them back again; you’ll get an enthusiastic response!