PREVIEW: From boom to bust and back with Scenic Tours

By: Jason Whittaker


Scenic Tours Managing Director Glen Moroney isn’t exactly sure why ABC came to visit. Maybe it’s because he’s spent the

Scenic Tours Managing Director Glen Moroney isn’t exactly sure why ABC came to visit.

Maybe it’s because he’s spent the past few years building luxury cruising vessels in Europe.

Perhaps it’s because a large chunk of his business is run from Zurich.

Mostly it’s because, contrary to popular belief, he’s never owned a bus business.

"No that’s a myth," the former accountant explains. "I was working for my father in property development. They had motels strung around the country and I ended up at this hotel down in Warrnambool [which had] absolutely no business. Someone down there told me they used to run pensioner coach tours.

"So I packaged up a video and toddled around to the pensioner clubs and started selling pensioner coach tours in Warrnambool, along the Great Ocean Road.

"I used to go to Combined Pensioner, View Clubs, Senior Citizen Clubs and Probus, which was very much in its infancy.

"But all I was wanting to do, actually, was to fill up the hotel for my father and his partners, because it was empty."

In the 20 years since Moroney bought his first coach, the market has turned on its head.

He built a business to cater for the pensioner market. Travellers in those days rarely had aspirations beyond touring Australia upon retirement. Moroney offered budget travel; a nine-day all-inclusive tour cost $399.

Fast forward to 2009 and the newly-retired individual or couple has scrapped the round-the-coast tour in favour of more exotic locales.

The rise of the self-funded retiree, the advent of superannuation, and the increasing numbers of early retirees has had big impacts on Scenic Tours’ business, and its clientele.

"The self-funded retiree probably had a good income and then all of a sudden, he was a millionaire, because the markets went up so far so quickly," Moroney says.

"I couldn’t even contemplate in [1987] that we would have clients who would spend $25,000," he says. "It’s a very, very different market. The affluence is incredible."

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