Say hi to the new breed of traveller

Say hi to the new breed of traveller teaser

Date published 08 Apr 2021

By Kayla Surace, Associate Director, Metrix Consulting

WA’s tourism and entertainment industries are going through unprecedented levels of change as locals decide to holiday in their own backyard.

The boom has seen tourist resorts and caravan parks booked out well in advance, with many WA hot spots being fully booked for the recent Easter 2021 long weekend as far back as June 2020.1

It means challenging times for our tourism and entertainment operators, with many facing a steep learning curve as holidaymakers swamp previously quiet regional towns and novice explorers head off-road.

Tourism and entertainment has become something of a specialty for Metrix, having provided insights for many of the state’s attractions, events, and travel and hospitality bodies over the years. What we’ve been hearing over the past year is that the effects of COVID-19 on the sector have been many and varied.

While it will take some time for international tourism dollars to flow back into our economy, opportunities abound as the local holiday market grows. But with opportunity comes the need for strategic change and a fresh set of eyes.

New breed of traveller

One of the current points of discussion is the new breed of traveller spotted escaping the city. Among the families heading to the coast, the couples on a romantic break, the seasoned thrill-seekers going bush and the retirees travelling northwards, is the off-road newbie.

Once the domain of experienced off-road enthusiasts, the 4WD holiday is growing in popularity. Influencers have been contributing to the trend, sending social media posts from pristine beaches in remote corners of our beautiful state. While the endorsements connect these locations with a new audience, they’re also driving visitors to traditionally quiet areas unprepared for the onslaught.

Protecting the ‘untouched’ nature of our natural attractions

Many of our regional tourist spots were not prepared for the sudden boost in popularity they experienced as Western Australians swapped their trip to Bali for an exploration of their own backyard.

A key consideration moving forward is how to preserve the ‘vibe’ of those regional areas that people seek out precisely because they’re not crowded; where they can enjoy that unique experience and feel part of the local community.

It’s just one of the many questions being asked as we contemplate ways to capitalise on the huge increase in regional tourism while ensuring the uniqueness of our natural attractions is maintained. This will be crucial as we will no doubt draw heavily on these attractions to help us entice international travellers back once our borders begin to reopen.

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