Getting out of Gippsland in 2023

Vanessa Roberts

Vanessa Roberts

Managing Director of South Gippsland Travel

20 years in the travel and hospitality industry with a decade as a travel agent helping Gippsland locals create, book, and experience travel domestically and internationally.

2023 is shaping to be a big year of travel for people in Gippsland. 

While we got our holidays back last year, travelling in a world grappling with pent-up demand and an industry waking up after two years asleep wasn’t without its challenges.

Different COVID rules for different countries, airlines operating reduced schedules, hotels grappling for staff to meet demand meant that travel wasn’t quite as easy as we were used to pre-pandemic.

As a result, we became grateful, but cautious travellers.

This year people are getting their travel groove back. Bookings for 2023 trips started mid last year and are gaining momentum.

Gippsland travellers are making it clear they don’t simply want to escape Victoria; they are making very deliberate choices about where they travel and how they travel.

Here are the big trends we are seeing so far.

Small group travel

We are seeing big demand for small-group travel. 

Small group travel often focuses more on a regional approach to a destination and the exploration of smaller towns, coastal retreats and mountain villages often bypassed by the larger operators.

These itineraries offer ‘experiences’ like cooking courses, adventure activities and local cultural events as well as visiting attractions.

Experiential travel has been on the rise for years and post pandemic is increasing as people seek more ‘meaning’ from their travel – think a cooking course in Tuscany, over a photo in front of the leaning tower of Pisa.

The small group size also appeals to people who don’t want to travel alone, nor do they want to be on a coach with 48 other people.

Post pandemic, people are seeking connection with like-minded travellers but in a way that doesn’t compromise having a relaxed and unique experience.

These factors combined with the convenience of having a managed itinerary, is appealing to many Gippsland travellers with small group tours to Italy, Japan, Canada particularly popular right now.

Domodosolla in Italy
Domodosolla in Italy - A popular travel destination in 2023

Taking it long and slow

Whether you are from Gippsland or Geneva, slow travel is one of the biggest trends globally. Post-pandemic, people are seeking greater connections with the places and people they meet.

Rather than two days in Paris seeing every museum and attraction, what people now want is a week to sit in a piazza and sip an Aperol Spritz of an evening, to join locals at a bustling weekly market and to rent a bike and explore on their own.

Getting off a well-worn tourist trail inspires a sense of adventure and creates the types of experiences that stay with us long after we return home.

Important to the long and slow adventure is choosing the right city or town to create your ‘home away from home’ experience. We have many clients booking Vienna and Mallorca in 2023.

River cruising

This was a trend pre-COVID but it’s getting even hotter.

Who doesn’t love the idea of unpacking just once, amazing regional cruise and small tour numbers?

River cruising has long been a favourite for Gippsland travellers because from a boat, you have one of the best vantage points for the most beautiful scenery in the world.

When it comes to cruising, people tend to think of Europe and single country cruising like in France and Portugal however this year, we are encouraging people to think about destinations like Asia and the US which have some amazing cruises on offer.

Traveling by train

Travelling from A to B is part of the adventure and train travel is a perfect fit.

While train travel is a perfect way to see the spectacular scenery of places like Europe, US and here in Australia many people are also looking to incorporate ‘hybrid flight-light’ itineraries into their travel experiences. 

Travelling slower and greener is becoming more and more important to many travellers.

Train travel is also often more convenient in places like Europe taking you from the heart of one city, right into to the heart of another and avoiding the chaos of foreign motorways.

And train travel is fun. You can unwind, take in breathtaking scenery, and use the time to re-group.

Train journeys popular with Gippsland travellers in 2023 include the iconic Ghan and Indian Pacific here at home and Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer and Glacier Express.

Hassle free travel

Post COVID, more and more travellers are relying on travel agents to take the burden of not only the planning of trips but the complexity of managing travel in a post-pandemic world.

Flight cancellations, weather events, people getting sick – unfortunately are all inevitable.

After the two years of missing out on travel and family reunions, many people are looking to agents to manage the downside of travel, so they don’t have to.

So, we predict 2023 will be a busy year for us, not only helping clients manage booking the best flights, trains and tours but managing travel necessities like refunds, changes, credit extensions and insurance.

But after three years of being grounded, we can’t wait!

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