NSW receives ‘super-luxe’ international tourists for first time post COVID

 Friday, May 27, 2022 

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Regional NSW is welcoming back international tourists for the first time in two years as businesses strive to attract wealthier, “super-luxe” tourists to help them recover from COVID losses.


“Famils” — where luxury international travel agents experience destinations to sell to their wealthy clients overseas — are under way across parts of the Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven for the first time since the pandemic began in 2020.


The clients all have budgets between $10,000 and $20,000 dollars per week.


Bangalay Luxury Villas owner Michelle Bishop said her Shoalhaven Heads business struggled during the pandemic.
Ms Bishop said her customer base was dwindling, despite an influx of domestic tourists when COVID-19 restrictions loosened.


Experience Nature founder Amanda Fry, who hosted a family in the Southern Highlands, said the premium and luxury markets were looking for a new playground.


“I think travel has changed forever,” Ms Fry said.


“People are choosing one holiday a year and they want a lifetime memory to walk away with.”


Tourism Australia and Destination NSW are working with operators in destinations such as the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands to entice more wealthy travellers to spend their money in the regions.


Australia’s biggest travel conference, the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE22), hosted international travel agents — including “super-luxe” agents — this month for the first time in two years.


Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison hoped it would help the sector recover.


“Despite the challenges of the last two years, there has never been a better time to visit Australia and there are plenty of new and exciting experiences and products to showcase,” she said.

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