AUSTRALIA'S first post-pandemic travel website - exploretravel.com.au - launches this weekend, to revive postponed holiday dreams for thousands of Aussie travellers keen to hit the road.
The new website, an initiative of ACM, publisher of this masthead, goes live on Sunday, March 7.
Full of stories about fabulous destinations as well as travel tips and deals, the launch of the exploretravel.com.au website follows the success of the weekly Explore insert into ACM's 14 daily newspapers, including The Canberra Times, Newcastle Herald, Border Mail and Launceston Examiner.
Experienced travel journalist and publisher Peter Lynch, who has edited the print insert since its launch in November 2019, has been instrumental in developing the new website.
"Explore in print has been a big hit with readers and advertisers alike and we've seen solid growth in both, which is a testament to the power of the ACM network even with a pandemic hovering over us," Lynch said. "Launching a dedicated website is the natural next step as we look to create a destination site for Aussie travellers."
The move will give ACM's Explore brand a reach across more than 140 titles and more than 4.6 million readers.
Designed with an emphasis on holidays at home while COVID-19 continues to make trips overseas difficult, the exploretravel.com.au site will also feature new services including:
- Ask the Expert - travel advice in response to reader questions
- Swap Holidays - a place where people can exchange trips if border closures hit suddenly
- Pack-and-go deals - the best holiday bargains around
"Domestic planes are back in the air, and there are some fabulous bargains and great experiences to be had while our tourist spots are available exclusively to us. So now is a great time to make navigating Australian travel easy, safe and fun," Lynch said.
"The pandemic means people are viewing travel in a very different way. They are desperate to take trips and see new things (working from home has made them even more keen to see Australia) but they want practical help to de-risk travel bookings and prepare for when they can again go overseas."
How to connect with Explore content:
With the backing of ACM's network of journalists based in regional, rural and suburban communities in every state and territory of Australia, the Explore travel team aims to deliver readers the most comprehensive coverage of our own backyard - anywhere.
"We know many of the areas in which ACM operate have been doing it tough with a combination of drought, floods, bushfires and then COVID-19," Lynch said. "So we've focused on regional Australian destinations with the hopes to help re-generate these areas and bring people back."
ACM commercial director Scott Corcoran said the Explore section in print combined with exploretravel.com.au online represented a great opportunity for advertisers to reach more than 4 million potential travellers.
"We have highly trusted brands and a commitment to helping our clients reach our travel audiences across a variety of media channel options," he said.
"Over 3.4 million of our readers don't read the other national inserts - and 3.3 million are intending to take a holiday in the next 12 months with an average expenditure of over $10,000."
ACM is Australia's largest news media organisation serving regional, rural and suburban communities across the country. Its titles include The Canberra Times, Newcastle Herald, Illawarra Mercury, Ballarat Courier, Wagga Daily Advertiser, Northern Beaches Review, St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, Redland City Bulletin, Mandurah Mail, The Land, Stock Journal and Queensland Country Life.