Tourism losing the next generation


Children denied family holidays in Australia are likely to grow up seeking trips overseas, contributing to a broader decline in domestic tourism, a report by Tourism Australia has found.

In a worst-case scenario for 2020, Through The Looking Glass: The Future Of Domestic Tourism In Australia, predicts Generation Z, aged 17 and under, will not have fond enough memories of childhood holidays at home to keep them from choosing overseas trips that seem more exotic.

“They have not been exposed to frequent domestic family holidays as children and therefore may not have created early travel memories and experiences,” the 84-page report prepared for the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism said. “If Generation Z does develop the travel habit … they are likely to favour overseas travel.”

By 2020 the group will account for 23 per cent of Australia’s travelling population, up from 2 per cent in 2006. It is characterised as having grown up in a time of prosperity, with two working parents and fewer siblings than any other generation, the report said.

Also, Generation Z has not known a world without the internet. New technology may let the group see the world through their computer screens, negating the need for travel, the report said. A “virtual closet” in each home could allow consumers to meet new communities and travel without leaving home, it warned.

The report based its worst-case projections on the premise that the industry failed to adapt over the next 12 years. Should that happen, there will be 15 million fewer trips and $12.4 billion less generated by tourism in Australia.

“There is a broad consensus all is not well with the domestic tourism industry,” the report said. “It is up to governments, industry bodies and operators to work on weaknesses and build on strengths … to have the most successful tourism industry. ”

Among solutions proffered to entice youth were to promote surf safaris, emphasise self-discovery, and to plug “extreme adventure” holidays. Another was to instill “parochial feelings” in young people by teaching more Australian heritage and geography.