Fans from around the country are being forced to fork out thousands to travel to see megastar Taylor Swift in her upcoming Eras Tour, with airlines and hotels charging up to three times their regular rate due to overwhelming demand.
The 12-time Grammy winning singer-songwriter will play seven shows when she arrives in Australia next month – three in Melbourne and then four in Sydney.
But before fans can belt out the “Cruel Summer” bridge, interstate Swifties who won the great Ticketek war and thought they were out of the woods are now spending big on flights and accommodation, prompting questions about price gouging.
Flights have tripled for the weekends the star is performing.
The cheapest one-way economy flight on Jetstar from Brisbane to Melbourne on February 15, a day before Swift’s first Australia show, is selling for $313.
In comparison, a flight down on February 12 is just $102.
It’s a similar story for Brisbane Swifties travelling to Sydney, with Jetstar selling one-way flights on Friday, February 23 – the day of Swift’s first Sydney show – for $399.
Add in a return flight and someone travelling from Brisbane will be out of pocket almost $600.
Comparatively, a week earlier that same return journey costs just $194.
A return Brisbane to Sydney journey on Qantas, meanwhile, will set you back more than $1000.
Then, there’s accommodation, with hotel prices surging to over $1000 a night for some 4-star city hotels in both Sydney and Melbourne.
Even hostels aren’t safe, with one night in a private room in YHA Sydney Central going for $565.
It may seem cruel, but it’s well within the rules.
According to the consumer watchdog, the ACCC, prices are impacted by supply and demand issues.
“Prices that people think are too high, known as price gouging, or a sudden increase in price are not illegal,” the ACCC states.
With tens of thousands of people expected to travel to Sydney and Melbourne for the seven shows, there’s enough demand for businesses to hike up prices.
NSW Tourism and Music Minister John Graham said there would be an issue if fans were ripped off.
“What I don’t want to see is anyone taking advantage of Swifties who are already paying premium prices to be at the shows,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“I do not want this to be a cruel summer for any fans, particularly young people and their parents, who may have saved up to attend.”
Swift’s seven night stint in Australia is expected to generate an almost $140m windfall to Sydney and Melbourne.
Last year, her dozens of tour dates bolstered the United States economy to the tune of more than US$5bn, according to the US Travel Association.
Known as the Taylor Swift Effect, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia made mention to the record-breaking tour and its economic boosts in an annual report last year.
Earlier this week, Venue NSW chief executive Kerrie Mather said Swift’s tour would be a “very significant economic contributor” to the state.
“An event like Taylor Swift attracts significant interstate and international visitation, which means that people actually come, and they stay at hotels, or Airbnb, they actually go out to dinner, they go to bars and restaurants,” Ms Mather told ABC Radio.