By Derek Nolan
On a quiet day, when the air is still and the sun bright, it’s hard not to feel a sense of comfort when you stand beneath the crest of WA’s world-famous Wave Rock. The ancient structure seems almost to shield you – a silent and immovable guardian. For those born beyond the borders of Western Australia, it perhaps gives some insight into the way locals feel in times of crisis. West Aussies have always been there for each other, supportive and resilient in the face of even the toughest of times. And 2020 has been no exception.
This is something that we’ve seen not just during the heights of the pandemic, but beyond. It’s been incredibly heartening to watch Western Australians rally around communities doing it tough. In June 2019, there were close to 30,000 tourism businesses in Western Australia, according to Tourism Research Australia. Right now, the owners and workers of many of these businesses are looking to their fellow West Aussies for support. That’s why Airbnb recently launched our Let’s Get Around WA campaign, to actively encourage Western Australians to explore their own beautiful backyard and support locals in the process.
We’re hopeful this will build upon the already huge amount of enthusiasm among WA Airbnb guests for travelling throughout their home state and supporting regional areas far and wide. Western Australia is chock-full of world-class wonders and it’s easy to stumble upon a hidden gem, no matter where you step off the beaten path.
Western Australians have long used Airbnb to explore their own backyard – and it’s great to see people taking the opportunity to find new and exciting ways to experience every corner of the state. That’s also been wonderful news for local businesses. WA boasts some of the nation’s best pubs, cafes, restaurants and attractions and local hosts on Airbnb take great pride in pointing their guests towards their doors. Indeed, recent research by Oxford Economics, and commissioned by Airbnb, found that the Airbnb community supported 5400 jobs for Western Australians in 2019 alone.
Hosts on Airbnb aren’t just everyday people using their home to earn extra income – they’re proud Western Australians who are passionate advocates for their regions. Local hosts have been busy rolling out their welcome mats and getting ready to show off their communities as we head into summer. And we know there’s been a lot of excitement among guests to get out there and visit places they haven’t previously been. The WA Government has also been doing a commendable job when it comes to spurring on tourism and getting people moving around the state. But we all need to do our part.
As part of Airbnb’s broader ongoing efforts to boost tourism in regional and rural areas, we recently partnered with Australian Regional Tourism to develop a toolkit to empower communities to develop farm stays, create bespoke tourism experiences and diversify their income streams. There’s a genuine appetite among people to reconnect with the great outdoors right now and farm stays are the perfect way to do just that. They’re also a fantastic way for towns to develop fresh attractions and put themselves on the tourism map.
With so many Western Australians eager to explore their home state, there’s never been a better time for towns to showcase the very best they have to offer. Similarly, now is the time for West Aussies to be adventurous and try somewhere new. Not only will you experience WA in a whole new way, but you’ll be helping to support thousands of jobs in cafes, restaurants, pubs and shops across the state.
It’s important we get around WA and go out of our way to support communities that have been doing it tough – not only this summer, but well into the future.
Derek Nolan is Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Australia
Pictured: A proud local Doubleview host