In the 80s, the back of the family station wagon was the home of hot bottles of Fanta, devon sandwiches, and long economics lessons. In the ‘recession that we had to have’, economics lessons were coming thick and fast for my parents, who were at about the same stage of life that I am now. Teenage kids, lots on at work, a crumbling economy.
Dad reckoned that some businesses were recession-proof. We spoke of how people will still afford themselves some sort of small treat, even when they are struggling for a dollar. As the economy fell off a cliff, people walked out of top end city restaurants and into suburban takeaways. Dad was right.
Cruising past the burger and chicken joints on Saturday, I noticed the longest queues I had ever seen snaking out of their drive-through lanes. Recession-proof. Dad’s still right.
What does this mean for airports and aviation?
People will still travel. However, WHERE they travel to will change. People who holidayed overseas might holiday here. People who holidayed 5, 6 or 7 star might drop a few points – but they will still take a break. People who were already holidaying on the cheap might take shorter breaks or go camping. I love camping.
Airports, airlines, and tourism operators must adapt to the changes in market dynamics and move swiftly to open up a whole new world for travellers with changed priorities and constraints. There is an incredible experience out there in Australia for every budget bracket.
And this is exactly where our recovery strategy must begin. It is time to help Australians rediscover their biggest asset – their own back yard.