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Australia ‘must stay relevant’

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Amadeus has released research, conducted in partnership with Frost & Sullivan, into the big four travel effects that will shape the Australian travel and tourism industry.

Titled, ‘Shaping The Future of Travel: the big four travel effects’, the report observes that Australia faces a number of challenges in remaining relevant as a travel destination over the next 20 years.

Declines in traditional inbound markets have not been fully offset by growth from emerging markets, resulting in Australia losing share of the Asia Pacific travel market.

Emerging markets such as China, India, and Indonesia will drive the growth in travel in Asia Pacific over the period to 2030 and will dominate traveller numbers, but Australia faces a number of challenges in attracting these travellers against other Asia Pacific destinations.

The research identified four dominant themes, or effects, that will fundamentally shape the future of the travel industry in the Asia Pacific region to 2030. They are:

1. The Me Effect: The fragmentation of the travel market into ever-increasing niches
Travellers across the region will become increasingly segmented and independent, travelling for a much wider and more specific range of reasons and with different aspirations and requirements for the travel experience.

The research showed that the independent traveller is a continuing trend in Australia with 41% of business travellers and 60% of leisure travellers currently making their own travel arrangements, mostly due to wanting more flexibility and lower costs.

Another key segment for the Australian travel market is Generation ‘S’ or the senior traveller. In Australia the population of over 65s will increase by 76% creating a huge growth in the number of senior travellers. Almost 40% of over 65 travellers state that they will use a travel agent in the future for travel arrangements.

2. The Red Tape Effect:The breaking down of barriers to travel within the Asia Pacific region
Economic convergence and integration across the region will gather pace and governments will continue to liberalise the regulations that have impeded trade and the travel that is associated with it.

This will be manifested in areas such as the liberalisation of visa requirements and boost of business travel to these countries. The overall impact will be huge growth in numbers, especially from emerging economies.

The strong growth in travel from these developing markets represents a huge opportunity for travel providers in Australia such as hoteliers, airlines and cruise lines, but significant barriers remain to exploiting the opportunity. Australia’s recent market share of arrivals from China has actually fallen.
At the same time there will be shifts in outbound travel from Australia, especially for business travel. China, as well as markets with natural resources such as Mongolia, Papua New Guinea and Myanmar, will become the new hot-spots for travel.

3. The Leapfrog Effect: Technology, infrastructure and behaviours in the Asia Pacific region will leapfrog ahead of those elsewhere
Asia will start to leapfrog in the adoption of newer technologies and infrastructure, giving the traveller new ways of managing the travel experience, and creating new behaviours. Widespread use of mobile devices and the reliance on social media as a key tool in the travel experience will force changes in the way that providers interact with their customers.

Beyond information technologies, massive roll-outs of transport technologies and infrastructure developments in the region such as 4G, high speed rail (HSR) and port upgrading and building will enable Asia to leapfrog existing global behaviours.

Travel Operators in Australia need to be aware of this trend in Asian emerging markets as Australia itself is lagging slightly in comparison to its tech savvy Asian counterparts. Despite relatively high smartphone penetration overall (over 40% of the population) the research shows that current smartphone use to make travel arrangements and bookings is the lowest in the region with only 27% of business travellers and 6% of leisure travellers. Use of tablets to make travel arrangements and bookings is more prominent than smartphones for leisure travellers at 9% but less for business travellers at 21%.

4. The Barbell Effect: Growth will occur particularly at the upper and lower ends of the travel market
Whilst the numbers of travellers to Asia Pacific destinations will more than double over the period to 2030, traveller requirements will become more extreme at the upper and lower ends of the economic spectrum. Although there will be many more travellers from emerging countries, they will generally be travelling on a budget – and this will stimulate rapid growth at the budget end of the travel scale, whether on budget airlines or in economy hotels. At the same time there will continue to be enormous growth in the numbers of the very wealthy in the region, particularly in emerging economies such as China. For these individuals, travel is often the preferred form of leisure expenditure and hence we expect to see significant stimulus at the luxury end of the travel market.

Mark Dougan, Managing Director of Research, Frost & Sullivan, said: “Asia Pacific is arguably the most rapidly evolving travel market in the world. We wanted to paint a broad yet perceptive view on the future of travel in Asia Pacific, to enable travel providers to understand where the travel industry is headed and take advantage of the opportunities present in this growing market. To that end, we needed to understand all facets of change – social, geopolitical and technological – underpinned by economic trends. We hope the study will stimulate discussion and debateon these developments and what needs to be done to effectively respond to these changes.”

Tony Carter, Managing Director Amadeus IT Pacific said: “The changing face of the Asia Pacific traveller provides great opportunities for the Australian travel providers as new markets are developing and new segments of travellers emerging. However, in many areas action is needed if Australia is to exploit these opportunities. Asian travellers are rapidly adapting to innovative ways of managing their travel experience. The more advanced state of travel technology and consumer behaviour in Asia means that Australian travel providers must raise their game.”

To download a copy of the ‘Shaping the future of travel in Asia Pacific: The big Four travel effects’ study, visit: www.apacwhitepapers.amadeus.com

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