AUSTRALIA’S OPERA TOURS will soon be ready to fly on air for the first time in six years.
The world’s largest tour operator has announced a two-year delay on the next major tour, which will begin in October 2019 and run for two years from October 2021.
It is the biggest change in the company’s strategy in a decade and comes as it has struggled to attract more than half of its 3,000-strong workforce into its new Australian hub.
It will also bring uncertainty to some of the tens of thousands of Australians who will make the trip, which has been in the works for more than a decade.
The company has also cut its workforce in half, including from 300 to around 300, and has laid off some staff.
Its chief executive, Tom Beattie, said the company was looking at how it could continue to compete against the likes of Australia’s biggest travel agency, Expedia, and international carriers such as Easyjet and Etihad.
“We’re not looking at doing that and we’re not going to do that,” Mr Beatty said.
“There are going to be challenges.”
Opera said the decision was driven by the fact that its operations were moving to a new facility in Melbourne, where the company had invested millions of dollars in new equipment and infrastructure.
“Our ability to provide a high level of service and provide the best possible experience is paramount to our business and that is reflected in our strategy,” Mr Besser said.
The decision was also driven by a change in opera touring strategy.
The move was initially planned for the 2021-22 season, but Mr Beardie said the new management team had changed its mind.
“Opera has not been in a position to deliver the experience we wanted to deliver for our audiences,” he said.’
We’re a long way off’The announcement came as Mr Beattenie and his team were reviewing the future of the company, which includes the creation of an Australian operations and expansion plans.
“It’s been a tough couple of years for us, but we’re a lot further off than we were five years ago,” he told reporters.
“You look at our financial performance and our ability to attract and retain our customers and our return on investment, it’s not where we wanted it to be.”
Mr Beattier said it was time to change tack.
“I think in some ways, we’re going to get better as a company,” he added.
“If you look at the history of opera touring, there are some fantastic performances that have come out of Opera Tours, but there’s no guarantee that those performances will be there tomorrow.”
And I think it’s going to take some time to build up a brand and a sustainable business.
“The announcement comes just days after Opera said it would not be operating its new hub in Melbourne because it could not compete with its domestic rivals.
It said it needed to build capacity to cope with the demand for its shows, but the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it could never be a model for domestic operators to operate in.
Opera says it has been investing in the new hub, and the company has announced it will invest up to $20 million to upgrade the existing building.