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TURNING THE TRAVEL TABLES ON MR SCROOGE

AS WE count down to the end of another year, it’s only natural to reflect on the events that have shaped 2023.

For mine, policemen continue to get younger, music continues to get louder and the year seems to fly by like a Japanese bullet train on steroids. I swear I only packed the Christmas tree away last week….?

But I digress. Back to the year that was.

The pest that is COVID refuses to go quietly into the night (I’ve just had my third dose of its malevolent malaise) and we seem destined to have it in our lives for the foreseeable future.

Our national airline encountered severe turbulence following a series of unfortunate, headline-inducing gaffes and miscalculations. Vanessa Hudson is trying to steady the ship but 2024 will be another challenging year.

The cost of living was a major talking point this year and the knock-on effect it had on the travel industry. People are obviously less likely to book an overseas holiday when (a) the price of an air ticket is astronomical and (b) the price of bananas is similarly insane.

Fortunately, it must be hoped that as more airplanes come back into service, that will help ease the former problem. Although with the current uncertainty in the Middle East, the price of jet fuel may still be cause for concern.

On a positive note, Australia’s cruise season is going gangbusters and the sector is making up for some seriously lost time. Virgin and Disney have both made triumphant debuts Down Under and cruising as a travel medium can surely only grow and grow.

The recent National Travel Industry Awards were also a triumphant success, with 1,300 people rocking the Crown Melbourne (see our event report in this issue).

Although this correspondent was prevented from attending by the aforementioned virus, reports from the dance floor were unanimously positive, once again highlighting the positivity currently pulsating through the industry.

I witnessed this first-hand when I was invited to attend the recent Travellers Choice conference on the Gold Coast. There was a palpable sense of optimism among the delegates attending that the “good times” were just around the corner. (If you haven’t seen it yet, check out MD Christian Hunter’s amazing live adaptation of Wonderwall on our digital channels.)

While a lack of skilled, properly trained staff might put a slight handbrake on a full-speed recovery in 2024, steps are being taken across all branches of the industry to expediate an influx of new talent.

This is to be both applauded and encouraged as the agents currently trying to manage the load deserve to see reinforcements galloping over the horizon.

So, as we draw a veil over 2023 and prepare to spank the newly born bottom of 2024, what does the future look like for the Australian travel industry?

Most reports from the front line say we’re either already back to pre-COVID levels or will be early in the New Year.

Agent’s report “revenge travel” is alive and well (despite inflationary pressures) and that 2024 could really see the industry kick on to levels hitherto inconceivable 12 to 24 months ago.

All of which makes for a great Christmas present for an industry that has been well and truly ‘Scrooged’ for the past few years.

Everyone at Traveltalk would like to wish you and your families a safe and happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year. We’ll be back with the next edition of Australia’s only travel trade magazine in February.

INSIDE THIS MONTH

Why We’ll Live Our Best Life In 2024

AUSSIES ARE eager to explore new destinations and embrace their best selves in 2024.
Looking for ways to bring their travel selves back home, 68 per cent of us want to be more like our holiday self in our day-to-day life.

Win A $20k Trip To The Brit Awards

A $20,000 prize competition to win a trip to The BRIT Awards 2024 has just been launched.
The glittering event will feature spectacular live performances from some of the music industry’s superstars. It will take place on Saturday March 2 at The O2 arena in London.

How One Mann Went From Tour Guide To Travel Hero

There were many great stories told during NTIA 2023. Some were true, some were not and some were significantly embellished by large quantities of adult beverages.
Among them all was the heartwarming tale of how one winner on the night went from humble tour guide to NTIA champion.

Horses, Yachts And Vip Hosts

TRAVELLERS CAN experience the cultural and culinary marvels of Italy on an inspiring new itinerary packed with exclusive access and five-star hospitality.

Unknown Destination That Packs A Punch

Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure, to explore arts and history, or to just spend some time relaxing, Ehime is the perfect destination.
There’s so much to offer in a place that’s quick and easy to get around. Here are a few highlights.

Putting On The Style In Seminyak

Amadea Resort & Villas is an award-winning property right in the heart of the action in Seminyak. Now one lucky agent is going to sample the delights of this impressive resort after winning a major competition prize.

All I Want For Christmas Is….?

We asked several members of the Australian travel industry how they will be spending the festive season and their hopes for the future as we head into 2024.

Spice Up Your Holiday Life

WITH CULINARY tourism being all the rage right now, a new tour promises to unravel the mysteries of a cuisine steeped in history and tradition.

Putting The Wow Into W

AFTER SEVEN years in construction across two different builders and one global pandemic, perhaps the most anticipated hotel opening of the year came down to one letter, writes Matt Lennon.

Tips, Hacks & Hot Spots For 2024

Are you a budget bougie foodie, a gig tripper or a sleep seeker? Skyscanner has revealed its travel trends and top destinations for next year as well as tips and hacks for Aussies jet-setting overseas.

Grab A Taste Of Virgin

CALLING ALL foodies, travel lovers, social butterflies and everyone in between. Sir Richard Branson is inviting you to dinner.

Malaysia’s Bucket List For 2024

Adrenalin junkies, thrill seekers and active travellers always make a beeline for Malaysia as it offers so many ways to leap, paddle or swing your way to an adventure.