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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Tourism Australia’s strategy ‘overhaul’ to reboot domestic tourism is endorsed

The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) strongly endorses the flagged strategy shift by Tourism Australia towards future promotion of domestic travel destinations to local audiences due to the diabolical impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ATIC Executive Director, Simon Westaway
Responding to commentary in today’s Australian newspaper that our global-leading national tourism agency will ‘overhaul its current strategy’ directly towards encouraging Australians to travel to and through their country; ATIC Executive Director, Simon Westaway, stated this was a major development for industry and would hopefully prove a catalyst to help enable anticipated recovery of the visitor economy in time.

Mr Westaway said ATIC’s consistent policy position that Tourism Australia both regain and continue to retain and play a renewed role in domestic tourism marketing, as well as partnership and supply side engagement with industry, is now excitingly on the horizon.

Domestic and intrastate tourism continues to deliver around 70% of Australia’s approaching $150 billion tourism and visitor economy and remains firmly the backbone of the economic sector.

He said with dedicated funds and driving important coordinated approaches such as regional visitor dispersal initiatives, the national oversight and targeted activity that Tourism Australia can bring is timely given no part of our industry has been spared from the major impact of coronavirus.                                                                                 
“Australian tourism, one of the true pillars of our economy, has been flattened by impact after impact since the beginning of 2020. The reality is COVID-19 has struck our industry hard and perhaps like no other,” Mr Westaway said.

“We know sadly for many tourism enterprises and tens of thousands of those once employed across the sector that there may be no tomorrow when we look towards any future removal of state and territory border restrictions and less onerous social distancing to get things moving again.

“The position to be taken by Tourism Australia is not just the right thing to do, but it will also be symbolically important. We firmly believe such a decision can reignite the spark of many in our great industry to start future rebuilding our Australia’s visitor economy from within.”

Mr Westaway said Tourism Australia’s strategy and operations had achieved success by previously accommodating both international marketing, trade and B2B engagement with global reach alongside a strategic role involving direct investment and coordination of targeted domestic tourism marketing and industry partnerships activity.

“The massive blow the sudden loss of the rising international tourism market to Australia has had on so many tourism businesses across our cities and region, particular many SMEs who attract overseas tourist visitors, isn’t immediately replaceable. But with international borders to remain firmly shut for the foreseeable future this approach has to be undertaken to help assist an industry reboot,” Mr Westaway said.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Intrepid Group to suspend most operations until September

Intrepid Group has today confirmed that it will suspend all tours globally until 30 September 2020. This, however, excludes polar voyages and some trips within Australia.
The decision follows Intrepid’s announcement last month to suspend global operations until 31 May. 

Customers booked to travel on an Intrepid Travel or Peregrine Adventures tour during this time will receive a credit valued at 110 per cent of all monies paid to use towards an alternative tour with a departure date before 30 September 2022.

Intrepid Group CEO James Thornton
"an extraordinary situation"
CEO James Thornton says that the decision to extend the suspension of Intrepid Group’s trips is due to the ongoing global impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), and the likelihood that international borders will remain closed for an extended period of time. 

“This is an extraordinary situation for the whole travel industry. As a responsible travel company, we’re doing our best to look after all the people that depend on our business,” says Thornton.

“We look forward to resuming trips when we can once again operate trips that benefit both our travellers and the people they visit along the way.”

For more information and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit or

Monday, April 20, 2020

ATEC ‘Road to Recovery’ tutorial series

ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley
More than 1200 people have registered to be part of ATEC’s free online weekly tutorial series, Road to Recovery.

The tutorials, part of ATEC’s ‘Build Back Better’ strategy, offer a 12-week program of valuable, learning opportunities designed to give individuals and businesses tools to be stronger than ever once the industry gets back on track.

“ATEC is rolling out the ‘Road to Recovery’ tourism tutorial series as a way of supporting our industry members and helping them use this time to work on their business,” ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley said.

“This is undoubtedly an unprecedented challenge for our industry and many people have lost their jobs or their entire business, but the tourism industry is full of passionate and committed people who will be there at the other end of this pandemic, looking to re-engage and find new opportunities.

“We are offering our Road to Recovery tutorials free to the tourism industry in order to help individuals use this time as an investment in their future, learning and building on their strengths and finding new paths.

Over the past month, ATEC has successfully delivered industry webinars to an audience of 3000 plus registrants through its Build Back Better Leadership Webinars where members gain insights from panellists discussing a range of industry-relevant topics and challenges.

The Road to Recovery Tutorials are just 45 mins and are hosted every Thursday at 2pm (AEST).

Upcoming Tutorials:

Week 1: Resilience- self-care, team care and how to work from home healthily 
Week 2: Build your Road to Recovery checklist 
Week 3: The virtual world - There's never been a better time
Week 4: How to adapt and innovate in this new world
Week 5: Leading remote & virtual teams
Week 6: Facebook, Instagram and Linked-In stay connected and grow your customer base.

For a full program and to register click here.

More: Tourism Drives Growth

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) is the peak industry body representing Australia’s $45 billion tourism export sector. As an organisation, our views are informed by the broadest cross-section of the Australian tourism industry. ATEC represents more than 1000 members across Australia including large national and multinational companies as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises, many of whom are based in regional and remote parts of Australia.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

It's Official: IPW 2020 Cancelled

Dear IPW Delegate:

We have an important announcement to share regarding IPW. Following a thorough decision-making process whereby we explored every viable option to proceed this year, IPW 2020 is cancelled.

We are saddened that circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic including global travel restrictions, flight reductions, mandated social distancing and stay-at-home orders both in the U.S. and abroad have made this year's event impossible to execute.

While the challenges of this moment are obviously being felt in every corner of the world, it's clear the travel community is being especially hard-hit. It is deeply unfortunate that this year's IPW will not provide us the opportunity to gather and forge a path forward together.

Next week, we will update you on the process for credits and refunds in relation to the investment many of you have made for this year's IPW, as well as additional information on IPW 2021.

Until we are able to convene again face-to-face at IPW, we are exploring ways to keep our industry connected and engaged.

I invite you to visit for further updates. And everyone please be safe.


Malcolm Smith

General Manager, IPW

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

ATIC: Tourism industry baseline now set with latest international and domestic visitor data

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway
Today’s release of important but backward facing visitor economy data around national and international visitor statistics for the December 2019 quarter provides context against what is today a very different scenario facing Australia’s $150 billion tourism and visitor economy.

The latest National Visitor Survey (NVS) and International Visitor Survey (IVS) highlighted that domestic overnight spend again rose by double digits (+12% to $80.7 billion) for the year to 31 December 2019 with overnight stays similarly up 12%. Record international spending rose 3% on an annualised basis to $45.3 billion supported by 275 million visitor nights to the end of 2019.

Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) Executive Director Simon Westaway said the quarterly industry snapshot for domestic and international tourism activity delivered by Tourism Research Australia remained critical analysis and sets a standard that few other countries replicate globally.

“Australian tourism enterprises, wider players in our industry and governments continue to rely and engage around this detailed quarterly research which tracks both domestic and international tourism within Australia. This data delivery sets continual benchmarks and now policy makers have the representative statistical baseline right before the dual impacts of bushfires and COVID-19 which transpired from the beginning of 2020 from which to help industry address future recovery,” Mr Westaway said.

“The reality is Australian tourism has rapidly moved into its lowest ebb with the wrecking balls of the major bushfire impacts and now COVID-19 which are not captured by this latest data release.

“ATIC continues its historic callout for a more strongly equipped and resourced TRA to be able to also procure and deliver additional real time data and insights that complement these quality quarterly releases and assist the tourism industry, our people and our investors to best face the uncertain future ahead.

“The how and when to eventually pivot out of the COVID-19 induced and necessary international and in-country travel restrictions will soon come into greater focus. Today’s data release alongside the final furlong of Tourism2020 strategy outcomes must now truly inform government on why ongoing, practical and targeted support for Australia’s tourism and visitor economy is in everyone’s mutual interest and can play its role in our eventual rebuild.”

ATIC represents thousands of local tourism enterprises, where a feature of our industry is over 90% of 300,000 still registered tourism businesses are small to medium enterprises and sole traders that collectively employ 1 million people.

ATIC’s 2021 Federal Pre-Budget submission has an outline for a new direction for Tourism Research Australia amongst a short list of common sense and practical reform insights.

“For our industry to again prosper to its only recent lofty heights we need to get on top of COVID- 19. But we also need a tourism industry still with oxygen in its veins to effectively pivot and seize the genuine future opportunity the visitor economy presents for our nation. Tourism is an economic pillar of a future Australia and industry will need to rally over coming months to ensure we are not seen more as a pariah despite our undisputed social and economic value,” Mr Westaway said.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Message to clients from Travel Associates

Danielle Galloway
General Manager, Travel Associates
I wanted to write today with an update on the Travel Associates business in the current environment as I believe it's incredibly important to keep our valued clients up to date on both our company and our industry in these difficult times.

Your support and your loyalty are so important to our team and we are very appreciative of the trust you place in our business. It's for this reason that I'd like to share some important information on what we are doing to manage the impact of the Government restrictions placed on our country as a result of the Coronavirus, and how this is affecting our company, our clients and our team.

Yesterday, our parent company, Flight Centre Travel Group, made a significant announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange. The announcement shares a number of the initiatives that our Group has put in place, including taking very tangible steps to improve our liquidity and our ability to weather a prolonged downturn in demand. Our goal is to emerge from this situation with our brand, our culture and most importantly, our customer service values intact so that we are able to resume the work we do in assisting our clients to realise their extraordinary travel dreams.

I hope that this announcement will give you a sense of confidence and peace of mind for the future of our business. To walk you through these initiatives, Flight Centre Travel Group’s Managing Director, Graham “Skroo” Turner has provided an update that you can read here.

For 22 years, the Travel Associates brand has worked to develop the very best connections with valued suppliers and we have also built an amazing team of experienced advisers with travel knowledge that is second-to-none. Some of the recent decisions we have made, as a direct result of the impact of Coronavirus on our industry, have been painful and difficult for all including the need to stand down many of our extraordinary advisers. We genuinely look forward to bringing back as many of these amazing people as soon as business returns to near-normal levels.

It's our goal to return to strength with a brand and team that once again exceeds your expectations, keeping you and your family safe, happy and healthy with any travel plans when you are ready to travel again.

As always, if we can do anything to help you, or if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to myself or your trusted Travel Associates adviser.

Yours sincerely
Danielle Galloway
General Manager, Travel Associates

Monday, April 6, 2020

Travel industry mourns passing of celebrity hotelier, Michael Hall

Hotelier to the Stars Passes

by Richard Rosebery

It is with sorrow that I announce the passing of my long-time friend, compatriot and mentor – Michael J Hall. Michael died from a heart condition on Wednesday 1 April 2020.

Michael Hall (1939-2020)
Hotelier Extraordinaire, Mentor & Friend Passes
At the tender age of 17, Michael sailed alone from the UK to New Zealand, and at 19 he ventured across the Tasman to Australia where he first worked for Mary Kathleen mining in outback Queensland before he landed the job of Food & Beverage Manager at the massive Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme. Finding hospitality in his blood Michael travelled to Canada to train at the Chateau Lake Louise in Banff. Returning to Australia in 1965 he started at the Sebel Town House as a storeman, in purchasing and then front office, however, he is especially well remembered as the long-time General Manager of this then famous Sebel Town House.

With a likeable personality, a great knowledge of catering, a natural appreciation of the needs of guests, plus an extremely street-savvy attitude, Michael was the consummate ‘mein host’. Along with his former GM Henry Rose, Michael helped to create an icon for the Australian hospitality industry - a home away from home for celebrities and the rich and famous alike. In truth the Sebel Town House facilities were not much more than a three-star property but the service, attention to detail and utmost care extended to guests by Michael and his staff elevated the Sebel well above its station! Even when new and more luxurious hotels opened their doors in competition to the Sebel, they were unable to knock it off its perch. The Sebel was the first and for a long time the only member of Leading Hotels of the World within this region during most of the hotel’s operating life. Michael held the Sebel’s reins tightly and ensured that every guest was recognised and warmly looked after – a winning formula that has not been emulated in Sydney since.

"With a likeable personality, a great knowledge of catering,
a natural appreciation of the needs of guests, plus an uncanny street-savvy attitude,
Michael was the consummate ‘mein host’."
- Richard Rosebery

When Mirvac bought the Sebel Town House in the late 1980’s Michael also became the Managing Director of Mirvac Hotels, a brand that would grow immensely in the years to come. Michael was instrumental in helping me found Select Hotels & Resorts International in the mid-1980s. Select was a hotel consortia and marketing network – the first of its type for the Asia Pacific region which gave independent hotels a platform to compete with the large hotel chains when the Internet didn’t exist!

Through his strong presence and congenial personality, he was an ideal first Chairman for the group, which grew from 10 to 75 hotels before we merged with Small Luxury Hotels of the World in 1997 to create a global network. In 2003 we resurrected the Select brand again, and again Michael took the reins as my chairman, with me as Managing Director.

Michael Hall was also a savvy investor and worked on several international and domestic hospitality projects after he left the Sebel in the early ‘90s. Unlike so many other General Managers his years as a five-star hotelier did not define the rest of his working life – he started the first ‘five star’ Original Backpackers in Kings Cross, selling it for a tidy profit, which he in turn invested in the Manor House in Surrey Hills, again a profitable adventure into boutique hospitality. I was involved with Michael in marketing both these projects.

Over the year’s Michael was a mentor to many of Australia’s top hoteliers – names such as Andrew Broad, George Bedwani, Graham Goldberg and Raj Mennon to name a few. As such Michael became the first Chairman of the now famous and successful Blue Mountains Hotel School. In 1990 Michael recognised the passion, commitment and expertise of Swiss hotelier Fritz Gubler and his building partner Max Player, and he was keen to see the highly successful Swiss hotel education model adopted into Australia. He supported them in the creation of Australia’s first dedicated hotel school. The school quickly became the Asia Pacific’s most respected and successful hospitality training facility - a school that still thrives today.

Michael was honourable and a real gentleman. He was highly respected by anyone who had the fortune to come in contact with him. He did not suffer fools easily but appreciated the best in people. He was always a shrewd businessperson.

Michael Hall adored his loving wife Patrea Hall and was a devoted family man, taking the role of patriarch for the entire Hall clan. Our hearts go out to Michael’s family – to Patrea, his daughter Leonie and son-in-law Matt Tindale, his son Adam, and grandchildren Charlie, Amy, Riley, Millie and Archie – in this saddest of times.

A small family-only funeral will be held on Wednesday 8 April 2020. When the times permit a full memorial for Michael will be organised by his many friends and held in Sydney.

Rest in Peace Michael

Signature Media Acquires Vacations & Travel Magazine

In big news for the Australian travel media industry, Signature Media has finalised the purchase of Vacations & Travel magazine, cementing the positioning of the media powerhouse as the largest independent travel publisher in the APAC region.

Established in 1983 and previously owned by US-based Morris Media Network, Vacations & Travel is the longest-running travel magazine in Australia, and has a strong digital presence through its website and social media platforms.

Until now Signature Media has focused on family and high-end travel markets. However, with the acquisition of Vacations & Travel, it will now cater to everyone.

Cathy Wagstaff, CEO & Group Editor, said: “The acquisition of Vacations & Travel magazine gives advertisers the opportunity to reach a much larger market, targeting different age groups and travel types, from cost-conscious travellers up to the discerning high-end luxe connoisseur and everyone in between.

“Vacations & Travel will fit very neatly into the Signature family, as will the existing editorial team headed by Jac Taylor and the digital team consisting of Anya Vokhmyakova and Eliza Valk. Helen Hayes, who has 14 years of history in various editorial roles with Vacations magazine, will return to the team as Editor-at-Large. We look forward to working together on this highly regarded travel title that has been on the shelves of newsagents and delivered to loyal subscribers for 37 years.”

Jac Taylor, the Editor of Vacations, adds: “I have to admit, I was ecstatic to hear that it might be Signature Media acquiring Vacations & Travel, and I'm beyond happy that they've chosen to retain not just me, but Anya and Eliza – both such great core team members! I give my heartfelt thanks (to Cathy) for believing in us and in what we know is a quality and much-loved magazine.”

“Signature Media plans to return Vacations & Travel to its former glory as a leading travel title in this market. We will take it back to its roots, catering to a broad market sector – it will be the magazine for everyone, with inspirational content covering the whole spectrum of three- to five-star experiences around the globe,” Wagstaff concluded.

Given the current coronavirus crisis, Signature Media will rest the print title for two issues, publishing the first issue in summer this year. In the interim, we will continue to publish digital content, focus on strengthening digital channels and will use the downtime to refocus the magazine as well as further fine-tuning its advertising and marketing strategies.

Traveloscopy | 

Sunday, April 5, 2020

How to Keep Your Product Top of Mind During Coronavirus

As with many organisations, the coronavirus crisis has forced Tourism Australia to review and re-evaluate all aspects of our business. Whilst much of our marketing activity is currently on pause, we are still continuing with a lot of work behind the scenes. This includes continuing to train Aussie Specialist Agents in our key markets, creating new content for our online platforms, working with journalists on a whole range of media stories and continuing with appropriate social media activity. We need to be ready to go back and go back at scale when the time is right. We are already working on this recovery strategy, including how we reactivate aviation capacity, how we get the global distribution system firing again and the most appropriate type of campaign activity in a post-coronavirus world.

We are also continuing with our weekly webinar series. Last week we were joined by almost 2,000 people for our first webinar with Australia's Tourism Minister, Simon Birmingham, and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Nick Coatsworth. Our second webinar will be held this Friday 3 April, from 2 pm to 3:30 pm. I will be joined by Prime Minister, the Hon. Scott Morrison MP, who will give an update on Australia's response to the coronavirus. We will also have representatives from the Treasury, Services Australia and the Australian Taxation Office answering questions on the different forms of government support available for individuals and businesses. Register for the webinar here.


With most of the world now in lockdown or self-isolation, there are still opportunities to share content that feeds people's escapism and use this time to inspire them to visit Australia once this crisis passes. People's appetite for travel hasn't disappeared. During this period, we want to keep Australia top of mind, so that when the travel bans lift and confidence returns, Australia gets its fair share of pent up travel demand. See below some tips for how to keep your product or business top of mind:

Get online: Consumers have more time than ever to dream and plan their next holiday. If you are able to showcase your product online through social media or your website, take this opportunity to offer future guests a virtual experience and keep your product top of mind.

Embrace all things Australian: While consumers can't travel at the moment, it doesn't mean we can't share all the things we love about Australia with the world. Movies, books, songs, cooking classes or storytelling – all this content can be shared online and allows you to keep consumers engaged with your product until it is safe to travel again.

Share your news: Tourism Australia still wants to hear from you. If you have any news about initiatives you are running to keep your audience engaged, please email them to Tourism Australia has also updated its Media Kit for 2020. It is available for download.

Source: Tourism Australia

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Update from IPW 2020

Dear IPW Delegate,

We recognize that you are closely following developments for our IPW 2020 event in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Likewise, we committed to share an update today, April 3, regarding its current status.

While IPW is scheduled to open in eight weeks, U.S. Travel advises against delegates taking further steps associated with participation as planned, such as preparing for booth construction and arranging for travel. We are hopeful to be able to share a firm decision and additional information in the days ahead, as we continue to address a variety of complex concerns and quickly changing circumstances.

Until then, please know that U.S. Travel is taking every step possible to inform you during this most challenging time.

I invite you to visit, where we will maintain current messaging to delegates. And everyone please be safe.

Respectfully yours,

Malcolm Smith

General Manager, IPW

Friday, April 3, 2020

Accor COVID-19 Update

Over the past three weeks, the crisis has severely deepened with over half the worldwide population either confined and/or under lock-down. This has resulted in a virtual standstill of travel, dining and entertainment, which is vastly affecting our industry. Today more than half Accor branded hotels worldwide are closed, likely over two thirds in the coming weeks. One piece of good news is the confirmation of initial recovery of the Chinese hotel market, with mild improvements in occupancy and F&B activity.

The abrupt deterioration in the situation has prompted the Group to take drastic actions across its global operations. These actions are indispensable to limit the impact on earnings and cash, and necessary to prepare for the post-crisis recovery. In these unprecedented times, the Group stands more than ever by its employees, partners and communities, providing time, resources and access to its local and global network.

Mitigation measures

Measures were implemented as early as February. Given the situation, the Group has decided to take aggressive, incremental actions. Collectively, these include:

-      Travel ban, hiring freeze, reduced schedules and /or furloughing for 75% of global head office teams for Q2, resulting in a minimum €60m reduction in G&A for 2020,

-      Reviewed recurring investment plan for 2020 resulting in a €60m reduction in capital expenditures.

The Group is further streamlining all other costs (e.g. sales, marketing, IT), in line with lower system wide revenues.

Balance sheet

Thanks to its recent asset-light transformation and cash preservation strategy, Accor can today rely on a strong balance sheet, with more than €2.5bn in cash on hand and an undrawn revolving credit facility of €1.2bn. While much uncertainty remains on the duration of this crisis, the Group expects a severe impact on its 2020 performance but remains bullish on the long-term perspective of the hospitality industry, for Accor, its employees, its owners and shareholders.

Dividend and solidarity measures

In these unchartered territories, Accor’s Board of Directors has decided today to complement management actions outlined above, by withdrawing its proposal for a 2019 dividend payment of c. €280m.

After consulting with the Group’s main shareholders, JinJiang International, Qatar Investment Authority, Kingdom Holding Company and Harris Associates, Accor has decided to allocate 25% of the planned dividend (€70m) to the launch of the “ ALL Heartist Fund”, a Covid-19 special purpose vehicle. This fund will typically assist:

-      the Group’s 300,000 employees, pledging to pay for their COVID-19-related hospital expenses, for those who do not have social security or medical insurance,

-      on a case by case basis, furloughed employees suffering great financial distress,

-      on a case by case basis, individual partners facing financial difficulty,

-      in addition, the Group will further deploy its solidarity initiatives to support front-line healthcare professionals and non-profit organizations.

This initiative reflects the ambition of the Group and its shareholders to provide a meaningful and significant contribution to global solidarity initiatives to address the current health crisis while planning for future needs. This decision has received unanimous support from the Board members, who collectively decided to reduce their attendance fees by 20% to the benefit of the “ALL Heartist Fund”. Additionally, Sebastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of Accor, will forego 25% of its compensation during the crisis. The cash equivalent will also be contributed to the Fund.

S├ębastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of Accor, commented: “Welcoming, protecting and taking care of others is at the very heart of what we do. In light of the urgency and the scale of the situation, we have decided to act in an immediate and meaningful way, in the spirit of our values and commitments. Through this impactful gesture, we wish to express our solidarity and gratitude to all those demonstrating courage and selflessness during this crisis. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank the Group’s main shareholders. Without them, the “ALL Heartist Fund” would not have been possible. I also want to pay a special tribute to the Accor teams around the world. They are facing the current crisis with admirable courage, dedication and professionalism. As our industry is going through tough times, we have to make tough decisions, but Accor has a strong balance sheet which will enable it to withstand this crisis and emerge with strength during the recovery period. I am confident that Accor will soon rediscover the road to growth.”

The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places