September 6, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier
The Ghan has restarted its epic journeys through the Northern Territory and South Australia after recent lockdowns in the NT put one of the world’s most famous train trips in hiatus for a third time since the start of the pandemic.
Expeditions from the top to the bottom of Australia, through the Red Centre, restarted last week, with the train’s operator Journey Beyond offering full refunds and up to $1,000 off the cost of the experience to entice passengers to book this month.
The two-month pause to the Ghan’s operation highlights the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on businesses which operate within the visitor economy, with lockdowns in place for just nine days during this period. The impact on events is even greater, with long lead times needed to deliver an event. For business events the impact is greater still with corporate decision-making for events having a larger set of factors and perspectives to take into account.
“With more than a 90-year history, The Ghan has weathered challenges including a World War, the Great Depression and various pandemics. Its outback pioneering spirit is further cemented with its return,” said Journey Beyond Chief Commercial Officer Peter Egglestone.
“It must be recognised that Australia has managed the pandemic exceptionally well and while it continues to pose challenges, we need to work towards a future that allows people to travel, and for businesses to continue to operate.
“People are experiencing ‘pandemic fatigue’ therefore we need to balance risk and take all reasonable measures to keep them safe while continuing to let them live their lives.”
The company has also introduced a COVIDSafe initiative called JourneySafe which includes more cleaning and greater santisation, new staff training, physical distancing, and “fit for travel” checks.
The Ghan can cater to business events groups and features several unique Australian experiences along its rail route.