Exclusive: Australia’s word-class handling of coronavirus will be the drawcard for a new wave of “safety sojourns” when international borders eventually reopen.
Safety and security is the most important factor when choosing a destination and as a result of COVID-19, Australia is at the top of the global bucket list for international travellers.
In an exhaustive survey across 13 countries and involving 20,000 respondents, long held barriers to visiting Australia are now its strengths – with safety, security, world-class nature and wildlife all providing Australia with a competitive advantage.
Devastating though it has been for Australian tourism, the pandemic perversely presents a “re-set” opportunity for the sector,Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison told News Corp Australia.
In particular, Ms Harrison said it was a chance to focus on sustainable tourism.
Findings from Tourism Australia’s research also found:
* Global tourism looks to recover with demand for sustainable tourism practices is also increasing;
* the United States, United Kingdom and European destinations have all decreased in their appeal;
* New Zealand and Canada round out the top three desired locations by being less populated, nature-based destinations with relatively low COVID-19 impact.
“Australia’s relative isolation from the rest of the world, coupled with our sparsely populated land have never been more precious and desirable amongst travellers,” Ms Harrison said.
“Demand for sustainable tourism practices is also increasing as more and more people acknowledge travel as a positive force for good.
“Based on COVID and what we saw following the summer bushfires, we anticipate that the wellbeing of people, and our natural environment will be key considerations for many travellers in 2021.
“It would be safe to say ‘good’ is the new ‘cool’.
“Today’s travellers are increasingly engaging with sustainability issues and seeking out brands and experiences that are not only good for them, but good for the world around them.
“We know this is still a bit of a journey for many in our industry but we’re also seeing that taking even a just few small steps can often make an impact, including on the bottom line. “Many operators are already doing great work in this space and part of this is encouraging and helping them to promote their achievements.
“Australian already has a strong record when it comes to sustainable tourism practices, and we now have an opportunity to point to this record, by raising awareness of our many and often unheralded success stories.”
Booking.com spokesman Luke Wilson said “For Australia, like many countries in the Pacific, the impact the pandemic has had on travel has been keenly felt.”
Their own research findings from 20,000 people across 28 countries found safety, in regards to COVID-19, and an eco-conscious mindset were among their top five travel predictions for the future.
And that the impact of coronavirus has inspired people to not just be committed to protecting themselves, but also the places they visit.
Their report also found that 62 per cent expect more sustainable travel options and travellers will visit alternative destinations in a bid to avoid travelling during peak season and overcrowding.