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New research hope for recovery in troubling times for travel industry

Research shows tumultuous times for the international travel industry may offer a beacon for hope for Australia’s beleaguered bushfire affected communities, with domestic regional travel a top choice when Aussies can travel again.

  • 53% of Australians’ future travel plans were influenced by the bushfire recovery initiatives, proving these initiatives were succeeding prior to the pandemic.
  • Despite air travel’s big hit, domestic travel intentions are holding up well with 43% saying they would travel in Australia in the coming 6 months.
  • 49% of Australians said they would, when safe and allowed to do so, consider travelling to a less densely populated area to lower their risk of contracting the virus.

A new report by tourism industry expert, and research platform, Glow, investigates the impact COVID-19 has had on Australians’ attitudes towards travel and bushfire recovery initiatives. The report quantifies the polarised and ever-changing outlook of the nation in unprecedented times and also discovers an unexpected beacon of hope for those suffering from 2020’s first adversity, the communities affected by the Australian bushfires.

Only a month ago, tourism initiatives supporting bushfire recovery were top of mind and sweeping the nation. Tourism campaigns like Tourism Australia’s Holiday Here This Year and broader campaigns such as Empty Esky and Open for Business were so effective that 53% of Australians said the initiatives extended, changed the location of or created travel plans to support affected communities with tourism spend. Sadly, these best intentions face uncontrollable challenges, with 52% saying the biggest barriers to completing these plans are economic or health concerns caused by the virus.

However, with further analysis of the report’s break-down into different types of travel emerges a light at the end of the tunnel for small businesses through-out the country. While, when considering overseas travel, only 20% of Australians’ are looking to travel overseas in the coming 6 months, this drop does not apply to domestic and regional travel with 43% of Aussies still looking to get a local break in when they can or are allowed to.

In fact, almost half (49%) of Australians said they would, when safe and allowed to do so, consider travelling to a less densely populated area to lower their risk of contracting the virus for leisure. Notably, the data flips when it comes to travelling for work, with 47% saying they would not consider travelling as a part of their job. Young people, aged 16-34, are most passionate about this, with 60% saying they would not consider going rural for work, but still, 51% would for leisure.

Carolyn Childs, CEO and Founder of says, ‘COVID-19 was the second blow of 2020 for Australian communities still suffering from the effects of the bushfires and drought that are dependent on tourism to help them rebuild their livelihoods.’

She continues, ‘While the fall-out of this global crisis leaves devastating impacts across the travel industry, the shift in focus from international air travel to local trips – perhaps starting with day or nanocations when it is safe to do so, could provide a beacon of hope in an otherwise heartbreaking year for our regional communities. And frankly, Australians will all need a holiday! To keep that beacon alight – Australian tourism needs to keep building our connection to our customers.’

Tim Clover, CEO and Founder of Glow says, ‘Our data shows that Australians are still ready and willing to support the bushfire affected communities when circumstances allow. Whether they seek out regional stays for work or leisure in less populated areas or re-organise cancelled overseas holidays locally, Australians have not forgotten about their previous pledges of support, even though they can’t fulfil them right now.’

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