Domestic demand bodes well for touring

Strong growth in domestic travel has given AAT Kings a boost in confidence as it introduces its 2018/19 Australia touring program, but the company has warned of capacity issues in several key locations.

The local specialist has introduced new itineraries in Victoria and New Zealand as it responds to demand for “a move south”, extending its range from its traditional heartland in northern and central Australia.

They include a seven-day addition to the company’s “Inspiring Journeys” selection called Victoria’s Hidden Gems, which travels from Melbourne to Daylesford, the Great Ocean Road and the Grampians National Park.

“It is a great new addition from an itinerary standpoint because we wanted to have a little bit more emphasis on southern Australia,” said AAT Kings managing director Hans Belle.

But while the most recent figures from Tourism Research Australia show strong growth in domestic travel and spending, Belle said AAT Kings had experienced constraints in some of the country’s best-known destinations amid high demand.

Grampians National Park, Tourism Australia

“Generally speaking, for all of our central Australian, Northern Territory, and Cairns-related day tours and short breaks, we have been performing very, very well, but w


e have been a little bit constrained in certain areas because of accommodation,” Belle said.

“If you look in Cairns, which is becoming a really fantastic centre for us, there is a rebuild of some hotels there so there was some capacity constraint.”

A key area of concern had been at Uluru where limited accommodation and the popularity of the Field of Light installation had impacted on touring itineraries.

“Ayers Rock Resort has been incredibly successful this year from an occupancy standpoint, in the lower to mid 90s throughout the year,” Belle said.

“But also we run day tours in Ayers Rock. So when occupancy has been constrained or limited a little bit of our availability, at least we still have been able to provide people with all of the day tours,” he said.