AUSTRALIAN buyers at ILTM Asia say their market is having its time in the sun, with a buoyant economy and strong currency driving demand for outbound holidays in Europe and Asia.
Four Corners Travel Group supervisor – corporate and leisure, Jo-Ellen Robilliard, said because the Australian dollar is in a stronger position against the US dollar and euro than in previous years, Europe has become the flavour of the month, with cities like Barcelona, Berlin and Milan being sought after.
“While Asia had been more of a destination, it has become a stopover for our clients. However, stopovers can be three to four days, and sometimes in both directions and in different Asian destinations. It was usually only on the way home,” said Robilliard.
“Many clients have also gone up a room type. Where they used to book partial ocean views, they are now booking full ocean views.”
The preference towards Europe was not as evident for other luxury operators, who reported that Asia continued to fare well too.
Anywhere Travel operations manager, Nik Young, said revenue from high-end leisure was up by 35 per cent for the financial year ending in June, adding that the company had just joined luxury travel network Virtuoso a few months ago.
“A lot are going to Europe where there’s such good value, but also private tours in Indochina…They are also asking us to do a lot more, not just booking their flights and hotels. They want transfers, tours, everything.”
Cruising in Asia and Europe also remains hugely popular, added Young.
Freedman & Turner Travel Associates mobile travel consultant, Kiran Taylor, said: “The hotels in Asia do an amazing job, especially when it comes to service, which is what Australians want.
“We saw more people wanting to go to China in the last year out of curiosity but also because they want to go before it becomes too over-commercialised. Vietnam is also up and coming.”
Budgets too are growing in size, said Ashmore & James Travel Associates, general manager, Greg Ashmore, although he wasn’t able to give a percentage. “We’re also seeing more multi-generational travel,” he added.