Australian Travellers a High-Yield Market
Travel to Alberta from Australia continues to be steady, fuelled by favourable currency rates, more flights to Vancouver, and our province’s iconic bucket-list attractions – the Canadian Rockies, glacial lakes and mountain scenery.
Given that Australians stay longer and spend more, it’s a favourable, high-yield market for Alberta tourism operators.
Interest in Canada Continues to Grow
Alberta’s fourth largest overseas market, Australia accounted for 114,000 visits in 2014, with traveller expenditures of $189 million. Australian visitation in 2016 was up nine per cent year-to-date from January to November and is forecasted to increase by at least three per cent in 2017.
Destination Canada Australia market reports suggest some key factors to the growth are the added value our currency offers over U.S. destinations, and the introduction of lower priced, long-haul airfares and better routing. In June 2016, Air Canada began offering daily Boeing 787 flights between Vancouver and Brisbane in addition to the daily Sydney service.
Although there are no direct flights to Alberta, an expanded air services agreement signed with Canada in December 2015 granted an extra 6,000 seats from the four international gateways of Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
Most Australians access Alberta from Vancouver as well as U.S. gateways such as Los Angeles.
Growing a Mature Market
Almost half of Australian travellers are 55 or older. The growing millennials segment makes up 22 per cent and is expected to become one-third of all travellers by 2020.
Typically, Australians are attracted to Alberta’s great outdoors with its stunning scenery, pristine lakes and wildlife. Major draws include our mountain National Parks, fairy-tale castle Rocky Mountain resorts, and the Calgary Stampede.
A major attraction of this market is the “cruise, rail, Rockies” says Destination Canada – packages that include Alaska cruises, rail tours and the Canadian Rockies, which is a significant product offering of in-market tour operators.
Australians also enjoy opportunities to experience a Rocky Mountain white Christmas and winter adventures like snowshoeing, ice walks and dog sledding to complement our ski resorts. ”Australians celebrate Christmas during the peak of their summer,” says Susan Darch, Travel Alberta’s Director, Media & Content. “So the opportunity to have a white Christmas and bring in the New Year in the snowy winter wonderland of the Canadian Rockies is very appealing to Australian travellers.”
In 2015, Australian leisure travellers spent the most time and money on their trips to Canada of all of Destination Canada’s overseas markets.
“This is a high-spend, high-yield group,” says Bart Donnelly, Business Development Director, Europe & Australia. “They stay for an average of seven to 10 nights. It’s a long way to come, so they make the most of their visit.”
Travel Trade Plays Important Role
Given the continued trend for Australians to turn to travel agents when booking long-haul travel, travel trade connections remain key to promoting Canada to Australian travellers.
Alberta has a number of industry partners working together to make this a successful market supported by significant investment, strong in-market partners, Alberta industry support and education, and a compelling, iconic product.
Each year, Travel Alberta and several active industry partners, particularly representatives from the Canadian Rockies and Calgary, take part in Destination Canada’s event Canada Corroboree, which targets travel agents and travel trade media in this market.
This year’s Corroboree from January 31 to February 10 is underway, with events in Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. Industry partners and Travel Alberta are meeting more than 800 travel agents to educate and enhance their understanding of the broad range of all-season experiences in all corners of the province.
Telling Alberta’s Story Down Under
Given the demographics of the Australian traveller, Travel Alberta’s media efforts focus on both traditional media outlets to reach mature travellers, and digital and social media to connect with the growing millennial segment.
Australian journalists and influencers are regularly hosted in Alberta, experiencing and writing stories on topics as diverse as wildlife viewing, Alberta’s dynamic culinary scene, glacier exploration and cowboy life. For example, recent feature stories in Gourmet Traveller and Australia Women’s Weekly magazines feature great places to eat in Calgary, the luxuries aboard our railway dining cars, skating at Lake Louise and the iconic appeal of the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel.
Popular Instagram influencers such as Emilie Ristevski @helloemilie, Jason Charles Hill @jasoncharleshill, Will Patino @william_patino, Tyson Mayr @tysontravel and Lauren Bath @laurenepbath have all visited and experienced Alberta.
With a Facebook community of about 19,000 fans, Travel Alberta’s social media strategy is aimed at growing the next generation of Australian travellers.
To learn more, visit the market profile on Australia.