After years of pandemic-restricted travel around the world, travel is back with a vengeance. The past three months have been the busiest in two years, says Michelle Rheinberger of boutique travel company Adventum Travel. Talking about the latest episode of Have a nice weekend talksRheinberger says travel traffic is flowing both ways, and she thinks it’s only going to get busier as we enter the Australian summer.
“In June, there were 730,000 arrivals in Australia,” says Rheinberger, “80,000 more than the previous month. And departures were 900,000, a monthly increase of 221,000.”
Where are Australians going and what are we doing? “I really think people are doing shorter, more experience-based trips,” says Rheinberger, “rather than the 55-country-in-three-week kind of thing, ticking off the names on the list.”
Maybe it’s because we’re more grateful for the privilege of going anywhere and really want to soak it up. “People go to a villa for a week in Tuscany, instead of spending two nights in Tuscany on the way to Rome, on the way to another place. Immersion is probably the word: to really feel that you understand what a real Croatian village, or how living like a real New Yorker feels.
Those who come here from abroad, on the other hand, are looking for authentic experiences. And local operators hope not only that international tourists will come, but that Australians, having discovered their own backyard, will choose to swell the number of domestic tourists.
Rheinberger, who moved to the NSW country town of Millthorpe during the pandemic, says locals can be ‘a bit funny at times, like, ‘God, I can’t have coffee this morning because of all these visitors’ . But I think generally people understand that to have those services – whether it’s a cellar door, a great coffee or a little deli – you need someone to be able to sustain.
The one thing that seems unlikely is that any catastrophe, barring another global catastrophe, will stop our return to travel. Given rising interest rates and economic constraints, “people might take the journey of a to-do list and then really ask themselves, ‘Is this sustainable or not for the future?'” says Rheinberger. “But interestingly enough, a client who just turned 50 said to me the other day, ‘Do you realize I only have 20 decent summers left?’ People are desperate to get out there.
Good Weekend Talks offers readers the opportunity to dive deep into the definitive stories of the day, explore events and individuals that capture the interest of Australians, through weekly conversations, with a range of special guests. Listen to more episodes by subscribing to Good Weekend Talks wherever you get your podcasts.