With flight cancellations, travel restrictions and lockdowns causing months of sudden inactivity and unprecedented losses in the travel sector, it’s been an incredibly tough time for the entire industry.
With government restrictions easing, however, I’ve been pleased to see the tourism industry’s resilient spirit beginning to bounce back.
Aussie holidaymakers are being invited back to explore, stay and experience activities in their own backyard, with most operators in NSW having been open for the winter school holidays.
And after many months stuck inside, we’re also seeing Australians re-evaluating the importance of work-life balance and connection with family.
What will the election mean to you?
Sign up to our free newsletter, including this weekend’s coverage of the election.
Tourist attractions play an important role in providing that opportunity for connection, and people will hopefully seek out attractions that suit their interests or sense of adventure.
The domestic tourism movement will need to be powered by Aussies with the means to pour love into this country and champion a holiday at home when thinking about their next getaway.
I can certainly point you in the direction of my favourite attractions in NSW, or which regional communities could use your support, but I think it’s also important to be mindful of the simple ways we can all create a lasting impact for tourism businesses beyond just the bottom line. Below are four suggestions.
Many regional NSW communities rely on people visiting and booking nights in town. But the reality is, many of the owners and managers of regional accommodation, restaurants and tours have faced bushfires, floods and COVID-19 closures this year.
Staying longer means more time spent enjoying meals, activities and picking up souvenirs or necessities.
Now we can disperse to regional communities safely, it’ll be far more valuable, where we can, to choose to stay longer and turn a day trip into a sleepover.
Pack an empty esky, buy from the bush, and fill it up with local produce — it will all count to help regional economies recover.
Gift an experience
While being mindful of the ever-changing nature of restrictions, we’re currently able to embrace the outdoors again, and we know people will be looking to enjoy unique experiences or visit attractions with friends and family as soon as possible.
A great way to support tourism operators and businesses during the downtime is to bookmark a visit by purchasing gift vouchers for loved ones, staff rewards or even yourself!
Gift certificates have a three-year validity so you will definitely get the chance to use it.
For businesses that haven’t been affected by COVID-19, consider experiences and attractions as team building activities and Christmas parties.
Know that supporting these venues helps with saving jobs, retaining incredible staff and helps put operators in a position to rebuild and survive long-term again.
Share your experience
If you’ve had a great experience on a tour, at a restaurant, with an airline or onboard a cruise, share the love by sharing a review of the business.
Engage with them online, leave likes, social tags, reviews and feedback. Good or bad it all helps them to understand, adjust and build better experiences.
In tough times and uncertainty, hearing a positive memory from a customer goes a long way.
Leaving a review of positive support is a lasting impression and helps to motivate and lift staff’s spirits as well as helps to inspire others planning to visit soon.
Overseas travel may be off the cards for the foreseeable future, but you don’t need to stop dreaming about far-flung destinations.
Australia is a big country with a diversity of environments unlike any other country in the world.
Stay inspired by the many attractions who’ve bought virtual travel experiences into the home to entertain, inspire and educate us right from the comfort of our living rooms.
Get your great Aussie bucket list going and check out Tourism Australia’s #holidayherethisyear campaign to unearth the many wonders in our backyard that are waiting to be discovered or revisited again.
Ultimately, Aussies planning weekend staycations, local activities or regional holidays will be essential for tourism’s domestic recovery.
I have confidence that Australian tourism businesses will come out on the other side with the ongoing support of domestic visitors.
As we implement and refine our COVIDSafe practices, please be patient as we adapt our businesses to operate as safe attractions for you to enjoy.
The inability to travel abroad has allowed us to appreciate what is on our doorstep and domestic holiday destinations have never been so attractive.