Wednesday 25 June 2008
Estimates Committee B (Wriedt)

Mr FINCH - I might have a good idea for you.

Given that fuel prices could represent a barrier to visitation, would you consider a fuel discount for visitors to Tasmania?  Perhaps it might support the TT-Line to help get visitors across.  It does not need to be much but it is the thought that counts.  I know that it was tried in Italy during the 1960s with some success.

Ms WRIEDT - There is already a program that Innkeepers run offering fuel vouchers to people who come to the State and stay a certain number of days at Innkeepers properties around the State.  There are already incentives there.  Has the Government considered such a program?  No, we have not and, given that there is no crisis as we are still attracting people here, I would be hesitant to advocate any sort of a program at the moment.  I would hope that we do not get to crisis point because I think we have done the groundwork and positioned ourselves very well, particularly in comparison to other States.

Probably the biggest challenge is not so much petrol but the aviation fuel prices and the way that that will impact on us in terms of access to the State.  We remain very active in discussions with the airlines.  We are in the process of developing a comprehensive aviation strategy and have done a large amount of work so that we can present to different airlines substantial business cases for increased flights to the State out of various airports.

Mr FINCH - My thoughts were mainly in the TT-Line area with the fuel discount.

Ms WRIEDT - It could be something that the TT-Line might want to pursue but that is not for me.

Mr FINCH - I am just wondering about the market for retirees.  Are we properly addressing this market?  Is that one of your questions?

Mrs JAMIESON - No, it is me who is retiring.

Mr FINCH - We have two million fully-funded retirees in Australia and they are increasing by about 100 000 each year.  I imagine that retirees would want to come to the comfort zone of Tasmania compared with those very dangerous and unpredictable overseas destinations.  Do we have a focus on retirees?

Ms MARIANI - I am not ready yet for retirement but I am getting to an age where I do not want to talk about it.  A lot of research shows that retirees are not the retirees we knew and we have to start to talk to them very differently.  One thing that I always talk to the caravan and camping crew about, because they keep talking about the grey nomads - and even Bernard Salt reinforced this which made me feel redeemed because I have been saying this for a long time - if you are going to talk to the baby boomer generation, the next wave of retirees, you had better change the name because none of us want to be called grey nomads.  I will die with coloured hair.


Mr WING - I am the same.

Ms MARIANI - There is a complete change in the psychology of how we talk to these audiences.  You are right, I have been banging on about this not only at a Tasmanian level but also at an international level, because one of the things that I am frustrated about is that Tourism Australia does not seem to have a campaign that is designed to talk to people who are now moving into that 55 to 65 age bracket.  In America, 8 000 people per day are turning over the age of 60.  I understand the passion and the interest in Asia, but here is a huge population of people who speak English and have a high propensity to want to travel to Australia, it has always been the aspirational destination of choice with people in North America.  They have large disposable income and now they are going to have time and we do not have a campaign to focus on these people.

We have started looking at this and that is why I am investigating a lot of the research.  We have been doing a lot of work on how you engage with this audience now because we cannot talk to them the way that we talk to the retirees of my parents' generation.  This generation will go kicking and screaming into that part of their life.  There is a very interesting group that is starting to build up in the North American market because, as is the problem in Australia, they are running out of people in the next generation; there just are not as many of them.  They do not want the baby boomer generation to retire but that generation does not want to stay working, so they are looking at sabbatical programs to give them time to take a year or 18 months off, go travelling and have all that self-actualisation stuff that they are all looking for, but then come back to the job because we cannot afford to lose them.  Again, to me there is a whole strategy that can be built around just talking to those people who want to take a sabbatical.  Australia has such a high disposition with these people and that is where I think we need to start working.

I do not have a strategy to say, 'Absolutely we are doing it' but what we are doing is starting to understand how you talk to this new generation of retirees because it is a very different way of communicating to them.  They are not looking for the passive holiday that my parents might have looked for, they are looking for 'self-actualisation' - this idea of going to destinations where you can learn something, where you can have self-fulfilment, where you can give something back.  Tasmania is very well placed for that whole area.  This concept of 'voluntourism' - this is another jargon word - is a big trend in terms of what people are looking for in this 50-plus age group.  They want to get engaged with programs where they can come and volunteer their time to give something back to the communities or back in the nature stakes.  Those are all territories that we are exploring.  I believe it is a downfall of tourism at a global level that we have not recognised.  There is a whole market out there of the way we need to start changing and talking to these people.  Every time the baby boomers move to another phase of their life they take a whole world economy with them.  Tourism is still thinking about the younger people, when in fact there is a huge opportunity here in the older group but you cannot call them 'retirees' and you had better not call them 'grey nomads'.  That is why I wanted to answer that question.

Ms WRIEDT - Effectively we want to get the message out to them that if they do retire, if they chose not to do the sabbatical, there is no need for them to sit home and watch reruns of the Pink Panther.  They can come out here and have a fulfilling experience.