News Briefs – 29th March 2017

    Australian tourism spending up 6% to USD91bn in 2016

    Tourism Research Australia reported (29-Mar-2017) the following highlights in its Travel By Australians report for the year ending Dec-2016:

    • Total tourism spending: AUD119.8 billion (USD91.4 billion), +6% year-on-year;
      • Overnight spending: AUD100.1 billion (USD76.4 billion), +6%;
        • Domestic overnight spending: AUD61 billion (USD46.6 billion), +5%;
        • International overnight spending: AUD39.1 billion (USD29.8 billion), +7%;
        • Domestic day trip spending: AUD19.8 billion (USD15.1 billion), +4%.
    • Domestic overnight trips: 90.7 million, +4%;
    • Day trips: 189.6 million, +6%;
    • Visitor nights: 334.8 million, +4%;
      • Caravan parks & commercial camping grounds: 33.3 million, +12%;
      • Non-commercial caravan parks and camping grounds: 18.3 million, +22%;
      • guest houses, bed and breakfasts: 3.9 million, +29%.

    Tourism Research Australia: 82% of spending by international visitors concentrated in major capitals

    Tourism Research Australia, via its Travel By Australians report for the year ending Dec-2016, stated (29-Mar-2017) international visitors were less likely to spend in regional locations, compared to domestic overnight visitors, and day visitors. According to the report:

    • 82% of tourism spending by international visitors occurred in state and territory capitals and the Gold Coast, and just 18% of spending was in non capital cities;
    • 45% of domestic overnight spending and 43% of domestic day spending occurred in state and territory capitals and the Gold Coast, with 55% of domestic overnight spending and 57% of domestic day spending occurring in non capital cities.

    4.4m Australian domestic overnight trips included Uber as a form of transport

    Tourism Research Australia, via its Travel By Australians release for the year ending Dec-2016, reported (29-Mar-2017) 4.4 million domestic overnight trips included the use of Uber as a form of transport.

    Townsville Airport to resume commercial operations on 29-Mar-2017

    Townsville Airport, via its official Facebook account and website, announced (28-Mar-2017) commercial operations will resume on 29-Mar-2017. As previously reported by CAPA,  the airport closed from 27-Mar-2017 due to dangerous weather caused by Cyclone Debbie.

    Queensland domestic overnight tourism spending up 9.2% in 2016

    Queensland acting Tourism Minister Steven Miles stated (29-Mar-2017) statistics released by Tourism Research Australia show positive results, with domestic travellers spending AUD15.1 billion (USD11.5 billion) in the state over 2016, across 20.8 million overnight visitors. Other key highlights include:

    • Domestic holiday overnight visitor expenditure: AUD6.9 billion (USD5.3 billion), +9.2% year-on-year.
    • Domestic visitor nights: 83 million, +4.7%;
    • Spending by region:
      • Brisbane: AUD3.6 billion (USD2.7 billion);
      • Sunshine Coast: AUD2.1 billion (USD1.6 billion), +16%;
      • Southern Great Barrier Reef: AUD1.1 billion (USD840 million);
      • Southern Queensland Country: AUD830.4 million (USD634.2 million).

    Just 25% of Auckland visitors stay in commercial accommodation

    Tourism Industry Aotearoa reported (28-Mar-2017) just one quarter of Auckland’s visitors stay in commercial accommodation, with the majority of visitors staying with family and friends, or in other paid accommodation such as Airbnb.

    Wellington Airport operations suspended due to heavy fog

    Wellington Airport, via its official Twitter account, announced (29-Mar-2017) all services has been suspended until further notice due to heavy fog conditions. According to its website, around seven services are delayed and more than 15 cancelled.

    TIA calls on Auckland Council to drop proposed targeted rate on accommodation providers

    Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) stated (28-Mar-2017) Auckland Council’s proposed targeted rate on commercial accommodation providers would have “massive unintended consequences for the city and must be dropped”. TIA, in a submission to the council, states the proposed rate “unfairly targets just one sector that makes up less than 10% of Auckland’s visitor economy”. TIA CEO Chris Roberts said the targeted rate “would be a disaster for Auckland” and called for it to be withdrawn. TIA intends to continue working closely with Hospitality New Zealand, commercial accommodation providers and other sector stakeholders to oppose the targeted rate.

    New Zealand commits to supporting and training for Fiji border security

    New Zealand Customs Minister Nicky Wagner announced (27-Mar-2017) New Zealand Customs will provide support and training for the transformation of the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority, via a development plan funded by the New Zealand Aid programme. New Zealand Customs will support organisational and staff development, regulatory and policy reform as well as stakeholder engagement. The plan builds on other projects in the South Pacific, including detector dogs and leadership training in Fiji and border capacity building work in Samoa and the Cook Islands.

    Australian Government issues new Statement of Expectations for CASA

    Australia‘s Government issued (28-Mar-2017) a new Statement of Expectations (SOE) for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), with the direction that regulatory activity be “pragmatic, practical and proportional”. The SOE provides direction for the CASA board and staff on the Government’s expectations and priorities for aviation safety over the next two years. The SOE also includes a number of important aviation initiatives which the Government expects CASA to pay particular attention to, such as changes taking place with air traffic services and Airservices Australia‘s new operating model. Australia’s Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said he has asked CASA to focus effort on enhancing the level of controlled airspace, including at major regional airports.

    Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority board gains new member

    Australia‘s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) announced (28-Mar-2017) the appointment of Cheryl Cartwright to its board for a three year term, commencing 17-Apr-2017. Ms Cartwright formerly served as CEO of the Australian Pipelines and Gas Association.

    Virgin Australia confirms intention to add inflight WIFi connectivity system during 2017

    Virgin Australia stated it is “on track” to start introduction of an inflight WIFi connectivity system for IFE during 2017 (Australian Business Traveller, 28-Mar-2017). The carrier announced in Jul-2016 that it intended to introduce WiFi on domestic and international routes from mid-2017. The carrier is developing a connectivity and entertainment network that it expects will appeal to both business passengers and the wider travelling public.

    Webjet sees Airbnb as adding to total travel market, rather than threatening travel agent positions

    Webjet MD John Guscic said the company does not see Airbnb as a “threat” and welcomed the company’s growth and development plans as “expanding the total travel market” (Australian Financial Review, 28-Mar-2017). Mr Guscic stated that while the “underlying role of the traditional travel agent is arguably in decline”, the company’s online business is “bucking that trend”.

    Sydney Airport announces MD and CEO Kerrie Mather to retire

    Sydney Airport announced (29-Mar-2017) MD and CEO Kerrie Mather decided to retire following 15 years in the role. A global search has been launched for a successor, during which Ms Mather will remain in the role until the new appointment. Ms Mather commented: “Sydney Airport is very well positioned for the future…It’s the right time to transition to new leadership”.

    Tropical Cyclone Debbie update 29-Mar-2017

    Australia domestic airline updated (29-Mar-2017) for changes to operations in northeast Queensland for 29-Mar-2017, due to Cyclone Debbie:

    • Jetstar Airways: Services cancelled to/from Sydney and Hamilton Island, Melbourne and Proserpine and Brisbane and Proserpine and Mackay; [more – original PR – Jetstar Airways]
    • Virgin Australia: Services for Emerald, Hamilton Island, Mackay, Middlemount, Moranbah and Proserpine cancelled for 29-Mar-2017. A decision about services from these airports for 30-Mar-2017 will be made at 17:00 on 29-Mar-2017; [more – original PR – Virgin Australia]
    • Tigerair Australia: Advised of damage to key infrastructure in the Proserpine area due to Cyclone Debbie. Cancellation of all services at Proserpine/Whitsunday Coast Airport is “likely”.