Adventure tourism operator Experience Co is witnessing a surge in interest from thrill-seekers in China, signaling a positive trend for Australia and New Zealand. The New South Wales-based company, specializing in experiences like safaris, skydiving, and scuba diving, reported increased activity in New Zealand during China’s Golden Week holiday.
Ord Minnett senior researcher John O’Shea anticipates this growth to extend to Australia, citing New Zealand’s earlier approval as an Approved Destination Status for Chinese tour groups. While China granted permission for group travel to New Zealand in January, restrictions for Australia were lifted only in August.
O’Shea notes that although Chinese outbound travel remains below 2019 levels, the recent market analysis indicates a willingness to explore within Asia. Experience Co, which invested in reconstruction projects earlier in 2023, including the acquisition of the Australian Jump Pilot Academy, sees an opportunity in the return of the international market, particularly Chinese travelers.
Experience Co CEO John O’Sullivan emphasizes, “The international opportunity remains,” highlighting the importance of reopening group travel for both Australia and New Zealand in boosting aviation capacity.
In its 2023 financial report, Experience Co reported revenues of $68.54 million (AUS$108.6 million), with Adventure Experiences being a key driver, contributing $8.52 million (AUS$13.5 million) to EBITDA. The Skydive business segment also showed improvement, posting an underlying EBITDA of $2.59 million (AUS$4.1 million).
Looking ahead, investment bank Ord Minnett forecasts a revenue of $85.9 million (AUS$136.1 million) in the 2024 fiscal year, with Chinese inbound tourism expected to play a significant role in this positive outlook.