OMICRON IMPACTS SUMMER TRAVEL PLANS OF FOUR IN FIVE AUSTRALIANS
With the Omicron COVID variant continuing to surge four out of five Australians have now either cancelled or are undecided over their summer holiday travel plans while one in two have no confidence in travelling interstate according to a new survey commissioned by the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF).
TTF CEO Margy Osmond said that the emergence of Omicron and the resulting uncertainty and plunge in travel confidence was very concerning for a tourism industry which has lost the last four school holiday periods in a row to travel restrictions and lockdowns in one or more of our major capitals.
“The tourism sector is now more than ever relying on a strong December/January holiday period to drive recovery and this setback will provide more pain just as operators and the aviation industry were preparing for a bumper summer,” Margy Osmond said.
The national survey of 1,500 people conducted by polling company Pure Profile revealed that the concerns of three in ten Australians had increased following the emergence of Omicron with the same number either cancelling or postponing their travel plans while 7 out of 10 are waiting for more information before making a decision.
In good news however for regional tourism operators almost 80 per cent said they were planning to travel within their own state with the drive holiday a likely popular choice with more travellers now reluctant to take the risk of having to go into quarantine should they come into contact with COVID positive travellers during their journey.
Western Australia and Queensland topped the list of states most likely to shut their borders at short notice with the potential for further lockdowns, lack of consistency in rules between states and territories and fear of not being able to get home the top three reasons impacting travel confidence.
“This could not have come at a worse time with state border restrictions easing, some of the best flight deals we have seen available this summer and a last-minute surge in interstate travel bookings now in jeopardy,” Margy Osmond continued.
“Of all the states Queensland is likely to suffer the most from the uncertainty with high yield travellers from Sydney and Melbourne making up almost 70 per cent of the national market and choosing to holiday within their own state.
“After the year we’ve had though, Australians are still very keen to take a well- earned holiday break and the coastal regions of NSW and Victorian destinations in particular will benefit from the lack of confidence in interstate travel as will, but to a lesser extent, the other states.
“Both the full impact and the severity of Omicron is yet to be determined so we remain hopeful there will be some better news once new data becomes available in coming weeks.”