Outbound travel operators and wholesalers are also on their knees this year. According to Brett Jardine from the Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO), much of the focus to date had been on supporting inbound tourism. Mr Jardine contends that inbound cannot prosper without a healthy outbound sector – in 2019, Australians spent $52 billion on overseas travel, but as much as $20 billion of that money actually stayed in Australia.
Says Dennis Bunnik of Bunnick Tours: “In essence we’re the manufacturing sector of the industry, we take all of those products, put them together in unique combinations, and then we sell them through travel agents and online, and it’s only when the person actually travels that we make our money. We’re prepared for that, we’re just going to need a bit of assistance to help get through.”
Australians who have travel credits for the overseas trips that they had to forgo in 2020 are also invested in the survival of the outbound travel sector as wholesalers and operators are the key to unlocking those credits.