Christine Hogg is the Associate Digital Editor at PAX Global Media. Prior to joining PAX, she obtained her Honours BA in Journalism from the University of Toronto. Upon graduating, she went on to write for several travel publications while travelling the world. Her longest trip was a three-week stint in Europe, and the shortest was a 16-hour adventure in Iceland. Get in touch: email@example.com.
Tourism Australia is inviting Canadian travel agents to make the most out of their current downtime by enrolling in the Aussie Specialist Program.
After registering at aussiespecialist.com, agents will need to complete five modules (three required core modules plus two others of your choosing). Once complete, they'll unlock tons of cool content and features, like virtual FAM trips, exclusive to those who sign up.
Became a qualified Aussie Specialist before June 30th and you’ll have a chance to upgrade your home office with a $500 Wayfair.ca gift card! (Click here for full contest details).
There are currently 814 Canadian Aussie specialists in the program, as well as 20 Premier Aussie specialists, and that number continues to grow, as more advisors see the value behind the program.
"We've seen strong growth in the program and we expect that once the border restrictions lift, we'll see pent-up demand," said Jane Whitehead, vice president/regional general manager, The Americas, Tourism Australia. "The Canadian market was growing strong before COVID-19, and we welcomed more than 190,000 Canadians in 2019. This program is the best way to be ready, and to become an expert on selling Australia."
While Canadians are still bound to a non-essential travel ban and face closed borders, Australia is ready to welcome guests back with tons of new and exciting product.
"For 2021, we're really focusing on content that inspires and allows travellers to dream," said Whitehead. "We really do believe once restrictions are lifted, there will be pent up demand. People will want to travel and reconnect with other people and explore iconic destinations, and we expect Australia will benefit from that."
In the meantime, Whitehead says the tourism board is highlighting some of Australia's key attributes, like its spectacular nature and wildlife, amazing coastal and aquatic experiences, and its aboriginal culture.
New hotels and experiences
Several new hotels are opening up this fall.
Sequoia by Mount Lofty House will be opening September 2020 in Adelaide Hills, SA. It’s a new boutique hotel with 15 luxury villas positioned on the front escarpment of Mount Lofty Estate offering views of the Piccadilly Valley.
Cairns’ newest five-star hotel, Flynn by Crystalbrook Collections, is set to open its doors on Oct. 1st, 2020. Located on the iconic Cairns Esplanade boardwalk, Flynn features 311 stylish rooms and suites, three levels of restaurants and bars, ElémeDay Spa, a 24-hour gym and meeting spaces for up to 120 people.
Vibe, opening September 2020, is situated in the heart of historical Hobart. The architecturally-designed facade -with its trademark coloured feature fins –has transformed Hobart’s skyline. Inside, all bedroom furniture has been sourced from local Tasmanian oak made by local craftsman.
Those who come to Australia for adventure will surely find it with some of these new hands-on experiences.
Launched in May, Katherine Outback Experience is now offering one-on-one horse riding lessons. The famous Katherine Outback Experience show that celebrates life on the land through real horse-starting and working dog demonstrations, live music and story-telling will also soon be available as a virtual experience.
Coming February 2021, Murray River Paddlesteamers has announced the launch of a new six-night “All the Rivers Run” cruise on the PS Emmylou, the world’s only wood-fired cruising paddlesteamer and now enjoys 21st century comforts. With only eight cabins and a maximum of 16 guests, passengers are assured quality service. Onboard dining, prepared by the Emmylou’s Chef, features local food and wine from across the Heathcote and Perricoota wine regions.
Tourism Australia also has many virtual experiences available while Canadians await the reopening of the borders, including tours of Kangaroo Island (Kangaroo Island Odysseys, Exceptional Kangaroo Island), Opera Australia on Demand, Learn-to-Weave with Tjanpi Desert Weavers, and even online cooking and wine tasting with various Australian restaurants and wineries.
"Australia is now starting to reopen for domestic tourism and different states and territories have varying timelines and policies for this so we have developed a map, which we added to our consumer site Australia.com," Whitehead said.
Both consumers and travel advisors can refer to the map here to check the status of their trip, or seek travel advice.
"While we do not have a timeline for reopening of international borders yet, we will communicate that as well as soon as decisions are made," Whitehead added.
Air Canada currently has the following flights to Australia scheduled:
- YVR-SYD from Aug. 31st
- YVR-BNE from Oct. 22nd
- YVR-MEL from Nov. 27th
The airline continues to assess based on evolving border restrictions, and for the latest updates, those interested should always visit Air Canada's official website for the latest timelines.
"We remain in close contact with our airline and distribution partners, and we're ready to support them in anyway we can to restart business," Whitehead concluded.
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