Big Red Group report uncovers ‘glimmers of hope’ for Australia’s tourism and experience industry despite recovery slow-down

Big Red Group's Seasonal Experiences Index Spring/Summer 2024

The new ‘Seasonal Experiences Index’ reveals the state of the nation’s tourism and experience industry through the Spring/Summer season.

February 27 2024: Australians are continuing to invest in domestic tourism and experiences this year, despite ongoing economic uncertainty and the cost of living impacting discretionary spending habits. 

Launched today, the Seasonal Experiences Index: Spring/Summer 2024 report from Big Red Group found that while experience booking volume is down year-on-year, there are pockets of growth emerging across the nation. 

The report, which analyses booking data from over 750,000 experiences taken between September and January, has revealed that post-pandemic recovery, ‘revenge travel’ and government-backed stimulus projects helped deliver a bumper year for the industry in 2022 – and it’s been hard for many operators to match this pace in 2023.

However, there is cause for optimism, with key highlights including: 

  • China’s inbound rebound: Data points to a 111% increase in forward bookings over the Lunar New Year – with eastern markets leaning into experiences that hero Australian cruises (+8,175%), tours (+2,540%) and culture (+1,900%). 
  • Aussie culture vultures: Cultural events are driving bookings, with this year’s record-breaking Australian Open boosting Multi Passes (+436%), Spas (+444%) and Attractions (+4,518%), while Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour is anticipated to have a similar impact. 
  • Domestic’s not dead: Despite borders reopening, domestic trip demand remains strong, with a 34.4% increase for City Getaways nationwide and 188% jump in Western Australia.
  • Australia’s gone al fresco: Picnics have grown by a quarter (23.5%) year-on-year – and it’s Gen-Z driving the trend, with ‘luxury’ and ‘mystery’ options proving popular for dates. 
  • Stimulus delivering strong results: While Christmas storms devastated the tourism and experience industry in Gold Coast, the government-backed GC Summer FUNds initiative helped to provide the region with a 279.9% boost on 2023’s bookings.
  • Getting more bang for their buck: Spending-savvy Aussies jump on multi-experience tours that offer multiple activities for one price tag, growing the category by 10.3% this year and boosting the popularity of local safaris, mountain trails, and even ghost tours.
  • Seasonality is still a key consideration: Despite the ongoing economic situation and consumer confidence faltering, the warmer months remain crucial for Australia’s tourism and experiences industry, with Spring/Summer outperforming Autumn/Winter by 21%. 

Commenting on the report, David Anderson, CEO & Co-Founder at Big Red Group, said:

“With post-pandemic recovery softening, economic uncertainty ongoing, and extreme weather events posing a persistent threat, there’s no doubt that Australia’s tourism and experiences industry is up against it at the moment – and this is reflective of the challenges people are facing across the nation.”

“However, data from our latest Seasonal Experiences Index has shown us that bright spots are emerging in each and every corner of the industry – and we remain optimistic about Australia’s ability to recover, albeit at a potentially stabilised rate. 

“With inbound tourism from China slowly but surely starting to rebound; Aussies leaning into experiences to help them build ‘once in a lifetime’ moments around key cultural events – such as the Australian Open or Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour;  and stimulus projects proving extremely effective in supporting tourism recovery for those who need it, there are bright spots of recovery and growth ahead. 

“And with over 750,000 experiences taken across RedBalloon, Adrenaline and Experience Oz so far this season – we’re confident that the appetite for stories over stuff remains. We don’t anticipate this fading any time soon.” 
To read the ‘Seasonal Experiences Index: Spring/Summer 2024’ report from Big Red Group, please click here.

Big Red Group's Seasonal Experiences Index Spring/Summer 2024

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