Fly to Australia for free?

The recession is not just an American problem. The economies of Europe and Asia are struggling as well. And, Australia is feeling the slowdown now, too. What does that mean for us? Potential travel deals in the future. The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting Virgin’s interest in participating in a program that would offer free flights for foreign travelers heading to Australia.

The Mayday Project was proposed by Glenn Millen, the innovation direction of Independent Tourism Holdings. Recipients of the free flights would be required to spend a minimum amount of money in Australian hotels, shops and restaurants. When asked if Virgin would be interested in the program, Virgin Blue’s chief executive, Brett Godfrey, said, “Sure we would be. I don’t see a lot of downside in it for the tourism industry at all. In fact, I see nothing but positives.”

These are the types of win-win ideas that help generate business and allow people who are on strict budgets to still enjoy life. It also is not unprecedented Down Under. After World War II, the Australian government offered Ten Pound Pom fares, which were low-cost fares for British citizens traveling to Australian in order to entice people to migrate permanently. Australia, at the time, was seeking to increase its population and viable workforce.

Difficult times call for innovative ideas, and few airlines have been as innovative as Virgin. Qantas is less eager to get involved in the Mayday Project at this time. Still, this remains something to keep an eye on. You can be sure that we’ll update you as we learn more.