Clients visiting friends and relatives could be the first to return to Australia once the borders reopen. Madeleine Barber rounds up itineraries for extra-special reunions
With Australia’s borders remaining closed to tourism and no end date for the travel ban in sight, UK and Irish residents with friends and family down under are becoming increasingly frustrated about being separated from their loved ones.
The destination’s VFR (visiting friends and relatives) market is experiencing pent-up demand and these travellers are likely to be first into Australia when it opens up again to tourists.
“The VFR market will play a crucial role in market recovery,” says Sally Cope, Tourism Australia’s regional general manager for the UK and Northern Europe.
“Australia has the largest population of UK citizens living abroad and, in the year ending April 2020, VFR traffic accounted for roughly half of the overall arrivals from the UK.”
VFR clients will want plenty of time to reconnect with loved ones on memorable itineraries, which Cope believes will change traveller behaviour.
“Rather than staying local to friends and relatives, as VFR travellers have tended to do in the past, we think this will be the time to move bucket-list locations to the top of the list, to create memories that last a lifetime by experiencing them together after such a difficult period.”
Here, we talk to operators with itineraries that are perfect for either families or groups of friends reuniting in the destination.