BETHANY GRIFFITHS, Published in The Weekly Times
After months in isolation, country towns and their wide-open spaces have never looked so good. See why regional Australia should prepare for a boost in visitors when restrictions ease.
Nature-based attractions and regional towns are expected to receive a boost in visitor numbers once coronavirus restrictions ease.
With factors such as low petrol prices and a desire to get out in nature, all signs point to post-isolation road trips to regional Australia, data collected by communications business Redhanded shows.
“People still want a holiday and the desire for a holiday has never been stronger, and the next best option is in your own backyard,” Redhanded managing director Lachlan Drummond said.
A survey by market research agency Quantum showed the most dramatic shift in priorities for Australians during the coronavirus pandemic was a focus on personal health and wellbeing, spending time with friends and family and spending some time in nature.
Mr Drummond said all three factors would play a role in a “resurgence” for regional areas.
“People have been locked up and re-evaluated their priorities,” he said.
“You’ve got the basic monetary factors but then you’ve got stronger pulling factors such as these.”
While the tourism industry focuses mainly on surviving the pandemic, it too recognise some positives are beginning to appear.
According to Victoria Tourism Industry Council chief executive Felicia Mariani: “Consumers seeking experiences in nature, wide open spaces, health and wellness will feature highly in life after coronavirus,” .
“That does present a real good opportunity for regions across Victoria,” Ms Mariani said.
But for the time being, Ms Mariani said regional businesses and tourism boards should do what they could to keep staff on and keep their heads above water.
“At this stage it’s about making sure operators are as aware as possible of all of the measures and support put in place to help them weather the storm and find the other way to the end of this crisis,” she said.