Aussie travellers are embracing the travel revolution with a new focus on how they can ensure their trips are more positive and empowering experiences for the communities they visit, new research shows.
The rise of the ‘conscious traveller’ presents an opportunity for communities to not only grow their local economies off the back of the travel rebound, but also welcome an evolving form of win-win tourism that emphasises genuine connection and balances positive economic, environmental, cultural, community and social outcomes.
New Airbnb-commissioned research and analysis by Economist Impact* found Australian travellers are sensitive to the tough times many communities have endured. When asked what aspects of travel were most important and will be factored in next time they travel, contributing to the local economy came out on top, with 77 percent of Aussies saying it was important. Creating a positive impact for locals was the second most important consideration for more than two-thirds (71 percent) of Australians.
Aussie communities who have done it tough may benefit
Sixty four percent of Australians agree that they are conscious that communities are in need of economic recovery, and this will factor into decisions around where they travel and how they spend their money. Almost two thirds (63 percent) of Aussies are planning to engage in more domestic travel than in the past, with the aim of allocating more of their travel budget within their own country.
The research also highlights how the travel revolution is presenting new opportunities for rural and regional areas, as Australian travellers become more open to exploring new ways of travelling and living.
About half of respondents (45 percent) plan to travel more frequently to rural destinations that are not currently popular with tourists. Meanwhile, over two-thirds of Australians (69 percent) said they would be more likely to head to destinations that are not crowded, with a similar proportion (67 percent) agreeing they will be more likely to look for ways to travel that allow them to avoid crowded spaces.
Travel, but not like how it was
Spending more in order to make a positive difference for others may be the way forward for many travellers, with almost half of Aussie respondents (46 percent) saying they would be willing to pay a premium for an experience if it supported positive, holistically sustainable practices. More than half (51 percent) said they are willing to forego comforts and luxuries on a holiday for the benefit of the area they visit, while 59 percent said one of the key priorities when visiting a destination was to immerse themselves in the local community.
“Following the pandemic, travellers are thinking more about the implications of their travel choices and decisions”, said Pratima Singh, Senior Manager for Policy and Insights at Economist Impact. “As demonstrated by our survey findings, we’re seeing a trend where people are attempting to make their travel decisions more sustainable—economically, culturally and environmentally—and hoping to have a more positive impact by benefiting local communities.”
Susan Wheeldon, Airbnb’s country manager for Australia and New Zealand, said: “Just as the travel revolution is inspiring people to embrace flexibility and reimagine the ways they live and travel, it’s also leading to the rise of the conscious traveller.
“In the wake of the disconnection and economic hardship brought on by the pandemic, people are becoming increasingly thoughtful and deliberate about how they can use travel to make a positive contribution to the communities they’re visiting. Aussies are thinking deeply about how they can put their tourist dollars to best use and economically empower towns and rural communities that have been doing it tough for a couple of years. And they’re looking to immerse themselves in these communities and forge meaningful connections, while also minimising any unintended negative impacts.
“Airbnb is committed to partnering with governments and communities to find ways to harness the travel revolution to deliver tangible and lasting benefits for everyone. It’s critically important that both industry and government come together to make the most of this once-in-a-generation opportunity.”
- 77 percent say contributing to the local economy is the most important aspect they will factor in next time they travel, with creating a positive impact for locals the second most important consideration for 71 percent of Australians
- 64 percent say they are conscious that communities are in need of economic recovery, and this will factor into decisions around where they travel and how they spend their money
- 63 percent of people are planning to engage in more domestic travel than in the past, with the aim of allocating more of their travel budget within their own country
- 45 percent plan to travel more frequently to rural destinations that are not currently popular with tourists
- 69 percent said they would be more likely to travel to destinations that are not crowded
- 67 percent said they will be more likely to look for ways to travel that allow them to avoid crowded spaces
- 46 percent said they would be willing to pay a premium for an experience if it contributed to positive practices
- 51 percent said they are willing to forego comforts and luxuries on a holiday if it contributed to positive practices
- 30 percent plan to take workcations or work remotely when they can
- 58 percent of people place importance on using travel as a way to meaningfully connect with communities and culture, with 59 percent believing it important that they immerse themselves in local communities.
*“Rebuilding tourism in Asia-Pacific: A more conscious traveller?” is a report commissioned by Airbnb and produced by Economist Impact. The findings shared in this press release are based on a survey of 4,582 travellers from nine markets: Australia, Japan, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. The survey was conducted and completed in October 2021.