Uneven Recovery, Optimistic Future for ANZ Operators

Though recovery is progressing unevenly in Australia and New Zealand, operators are optimistic about what lies ahead, latest Arival survey shows

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While Australia may be the flattest continent in the world, its recovery has been anything but. We recently checked in with operators in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) and found that while the majority of operators are optimistic about the road ahead, their post-pandemic recovery is progressing unevenly. 

In The State of Experiences in Australia & New Zealand, we share results from this latest Arival operator survey. Conducted between November 2023 through February 2024 in partnership with ResPax and GetYourGuide, the survey received over 300 qualified responses from tour, activity and attraction operators based in Australia and New Zealand. 

This new report — available at no cost to Arival Insider Free & Pro Access members — provides insights on the recovery and outlook, distribution and online travel agencies (OTAs), marketing channels, tech priorities, business challenges in 2024 and more, for the experiences sector in the ANZ region.

Recovery advancing, but uneven over 2019 levels

Overall, ANZ’s experiences sector is well on the way to recovery. Although international tourist arrivals remained below 2019 levels as of the end of 2023, the demand for domestic tourism as well as higher prices have led to regional revenues reaching 2019 levels in 2023.

Arival Operator Performance graph 2023 vs 2019

However, as the above chart shows, that recovery has not progressed equally among operators. While nearly half of operators surveyed reported booking volumes above 2019, one in four reported that their business remains well below. Activities and attractions that cater to local visitors and the domestic tourism market have rebounded more quickly, while in-destination experience businesses more dependent on international tourists have experienced a far slower recovery. 

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The road ahead is paved with optimism

Amid this uneven recovery, operators are optimistic about their prospects for 2024. Nearly eight in 10 (78%) are optimistic, and one in three said they are “very optimistic.”

Arival Graph showing operator outlook for 2024

ANZ is poised for a strong rebound in international arrivals in 2024, but international inbound travel is not forecasted to exceed pre-pandemic levels until 2025 for either country (source: Australia, New Zealand)

Operator Takeaway: Operators should bolster their domestic tourism strategy and prepare to welcome a growing number of international travelers in the medium to long term, by exploring ways to tap into both returning and emerging tourism markets and diversifying their sales channels. 

Learn more about the state of experiences in ANZ

Learn more about the outlook for operators in ANZ, and get insights into everything from sales channel and pricing trends, to marketing channels and priorities, to booking software adoption and other tech priorities in The State of Experiences in Australia & New Zealand. 

Additionally, join us in an upcoming webinar to explore the report findings. The webinar will take place on Monday, June 24 at 7pm EST / Tuesday, June 25 9am AEST. Register here.

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