There are many competing influences for a backpacker’s time and money, such as work opportunities and cheaper or more ‘adventurous’ destinations than Australia, before a ticket is actually booked. Although a recent Lonely Planet survey shows Australia overtaking Thailand and Italy as the world’s top destination for budget travellers, the challenge is out there for Australia to convert the dream into a bankable reality.
Today travellers want more personal, interactive, inspiring experiences especially in the environmental and heritage tourism sectors. Businesses cannot just rely on great weather, friendly people and good accommodation. They must put more thought into understanding, then providing the specific experiences visitors are looking for.
Most Australians feel tourism is about putting a visitor into a hotel room – and, yes, there is a place for that – but experiences like the ‘deluxe tent camp’ at Longitude 31, Uluru, and simple initiatives, like the right interpretive experience, can win the fight for the consumer’s heart, and set Australia apart as a destination.