Regional Australia travel to flourish post COVID-19

Research shows future travel plans of Aussies influenced by bushfire recovery initiatives

Research reveals tumultuous times for the international travel industry may offer a beacon of hope for Australia’s beleaguered bushfire affected communities, with domestic regional travel a top choice when Aussies can travel again.

According to data from a new report by MyTravelResearch.com and research platform, Glow, more than half (53%) of Australians’ future travel plans were influenced by the bushfire recovery initiatives, proving recent initiatives were succeeding prior to the current coronavirus pandemic.

The research of 1,200 people (72% metro and 28% regional) investigated the impact COVID-19 has had on Australians’ attitudes towards travel and bushfire recovery initiatives.

Despite air travel’s big hit, domestic travel intentions are holding up well with 43% saying they would travel in Australia in the coming six months. Also, 49% of Australians said they would, when safe and allowed to do so, consider travelling to a less densely populated area to lower their risk of contracting the virus.

The report quantifies the polarised and ever-changing outlook of the nation in unprecedented times and also discovers an unexpected beacon of hope for those suffering from 2020’s first adversity, the communities affected by the Australian bushfires.

Only a month ago, tourism initiatives supporting bushfire recovery were top of mind and sweeping the nation. Tourism campaigns like Tourism Australia’s Holiday Here This Year and broader campaigns such as Empty Esky and Open for Business were so effective that 53% of Australians said the initiatives extended, changed the location of or created travel plans to support affected communities with tourism spend. However, these best intentions face uncontrollable challenges, with 52% saying the biggest barriers to completing these plans are economic or health concerns caused by the virus.

Further analysis of the report’s breakdown into different types of travel did, however, reveal a light at the end of the tunnel for small businesses throughout the country. While, when considering overseas travel, only 20% of Australians’ are looking to travel overseas in the coming six months, this drop does not apply to domestic and regional travel with 43% of Aussies still looking to get a local break in when they can or are permitted to.

In fact, almost half (49%) of Australians said they would – when safe and allowed to do so – consider travelling to a less densely populated area to lower their risk of contracting the virus for leisure. The data flips when it comes to travelling for work, with 47% saying they would not consider travelling as a part of their job. Young people, aged 16 to 34, are most passionate about this, with 60% saying they would not consider going rural for work, but still, 51% would for leisure.

Carolyn Childs, CEO and Founder of MyTravelResearch.com said: “COVID-19 was the second blow of 2020 for Australian communities still suffering from the effects of the bushfires and drought that are dependent on tourism to help them rebuild their livelihoods.”

“While the fall-out of this global crisis leaves devastating impacts across the travel industry, the shift in focus from international air travel to local trips – perhaps starting with day [trips] or nanocations when it is safe to do so, could provide a beacon of hope in an otherwise heartbreaking year for our regional communities. And frankly, Australians will all need a holiday! To keep that beacon alight – Australian tourism needs to keep building our connection to our customers.”

Tim Clover, CEO and Founder of Glow comments: “Our data shows that Australians are still ready and willing to support the bushfire affected communities when circumstances allow. Whether they seek out regional stays for work or leisure in less populated areas or reorganise cancelled overseas holidays locally, Australians have not forgotten about their previous pledges of support, even though they can’t fulfil them right now.”

To view the full report, click here.

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