How We Portray Young Travellers Should Change

If We Don’t Want Them To Say ‘Yeah Nah!’ To Travel Australia

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Photo by Moritz Neuhaus on Unsplash

There are countless things to love about Australia. From fine dining at Michelin starred restaurants to feeding a croc at a privately owned zoo, Australia offers a diverse range of tourism destinations and products. But why I’m not surprised, when it comes to travel and explore the country, young Australian travellers say,’ yeah, Nah!’

Groundwater, in his article on the traveller website, writes ‘Australia tourism: Why don’t young Australians want to see their own country? He argues that — based on several recent surveys — the young Aussies between 20–35 are unwilling to travel in Australia despite the international travel ban. With various reasons such as the expensive spending on domestic travel, public transport issues and the lack of tourist attractions.

According to him, there are many more reasons why younger Australians don’t travel locally. They think it’s not worth the money spent, and the excitement doesn’t align with the cost, there’s more sense of pride when travelling in Europe and the US than a domestic trip, doesn’t look good on social media. He then continues to blame tourism marketing. It’s focusing more on wineries and luxurious travels than budget-friendly trips and accommodations.

Channelled by tourism operators, he expresses his frustration that the lack of tourist attractions is none sense. He’s right. The young generations have got no reasons to think that we’re lack of attractions. If you really want to look no further than beyond the bushland, they can explore the oldest living culture in the world. We need to learn aboriginal Australia, their culture and tradition because it’s Australia’s identity.

But the things are our young travellers always know where to find a friendly budget accommodation because they grew up digital and travel info and tips are ubiquitous. It shouldn’t be much of an issue these days. Who isn’t proud of an Instagram shot on a pristine white-sand beach with a vast, blue-sapphire ocean in the background? I watched the recent campaign by tourism NSW entitled ‘love Sydney & New South Wales. It was all about encouraging the young to explore beaches, bushland and farms.

So what is really happening to our young travellers? If we demand they spend the hard-earned incomes on travelling around the country, plausibly we should ask ourselves whether we’re a responsible host to look after them. When they travel, we’re busy beating around the bush, judging and portraying them as dumb, drunken, with anti-social behaviour. What are the law gatekeepers doing when they disapprove the spirited young travellers?

Ban them & lock them out.

Just a little bit of history here.

In February 2014, the government of NSW introduced the infamous Sydney lockout laws. What is the lockout law? The legislation that requires patrons to be denied their entries after 1:30 AM to pubs, bars, clubs, and other entertainment precincts in main nightlife streets in Sydney. Namely, it is a nightlife curfew that brought the industry down to knees and turned Sydney from a vibrant International city, that once a proud host of night entertainments, to be a ghost town.

What is the purpose? It is to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence. Who is the target? Everyone, and it means those who are affected are likely our young Australians who travel to Sydney, and any other tourist destinations in New South Wales.

Though the law has finally ended in November 2019 and ended all the controversies surrounding it, the five-year impacts are clawing firmly still. Many iconic nightlife precincts have long gone dead. People lost their jobs; bar and nightclub employees, musicians, artists, event organisers, and local business owners. Sydney’s nightlife had long settled in the dust, and the impact of COVID19 hit them even more.

While the law gatekeepers claim that they care about young Aussies’ safety, at the same time, they banish them from having fun in their own backyard. Why our young travellers escape to Bali and Thailand to seek ‘a little freedom’ and spend their money over there?

Ban drugs, music festivals & witchhunt them.

Before COVID19, Australian live music industry had long been dead. Following the deaths of two young Australians in Defqon.1 music festival, the community have raised their concerns to introduce pill testing to detect harmful agents in the drugs. The government says ‘No’ and walks away to the ‘no brainer’ solution to save our young Aussies.

Palin et al., from news web in article ‘Sydney music festival deaths: Two young people dead’, argues that testing should be in place to keep young people experimenting with drugs regardless they’re safe. It was Dr Nicole Lee, who works in drugs and alcohol policy, made the initial comment. She continues that the dead of the two is because of prohibition, and more prohibition only leads to other future deaths.

Palin et al. further writes NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian declared to shut down any risky festivals and made it clear that she’s opposing the pill testing. How do the law gatekeepers approach the issues? Ban the music festival and bury their head in the sand.

Why our young travellers escape to Europe and the US to seek ‘a little freedom’ and spend their money there?

Byron Bay says ‘yeah Nah’ to tourists.

Gone are the days when Byron Bay was a tourist destination for families with their caravans and picnic mats. It is now the home of many Australian celebrities like Chris Hemsworth, and so I heard Zac Effron linger around the town for a while longer during the COVID19. Byron Bay blossomed from a reluctant coastal town to holiday hotspot of the country. However, minority residents who apparently have influential voices have hate and love relationships with tourists, mainly young tourists.

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Photo by Shubham Sharma on Unsplash

The home of 10,000 attracts 2 million tourists each year — who spent more than 700 million. But guess what? Struggling with overtourism, Byron Shire Mayor Richardson seems unkeen with the hundreds of millions flowing into his town, and thousands of tourists pouring into Byron Bay. On Ausleisure web 2019 in an article ‘Byron Bay named among world’s worst locations for overtourism’, he expresses his concerns to protect the community’s right to residential areas filled with neighbours, not tourists. But hang on a minute, Can tourists be your neighbours as well? Clearly not for the Mayor to keep many Byron Bay residents exclusive for residents only.

This is the country where the law gatekeepers don’t want to see our young travellers having fun when they travel in the country. Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson speaking for Byron Shire homepage in 2018 said that Byron Bay’s NYE celebration is a family-friendly event for the young and the young at heart. He then made it clear that all beachfront and parks are alcohol-free zones, and anti-social behaviour isn’t tolerated.

It is evident that the Mayor — if he speaks of the residents, has excluded our young travellers. He is too busy representing them by creating a young-traveller image (to Byron bay) as a drunken and anti-social.

This is one example of tourism failures led by its Mayor to host his young visitors who spent, supported Aussie talents and local businesses. So instead of organising and treating NYE as a responsible tourism event by providing adequate numbers of toilets and mobile paramedics stations on Byron Bay nightlife hotspots on the NYE, he typically banned the place as a no-alcohol zone.

Not even embracing and managing our nightlife culture as an event and be a good host whose responsibility to look after young travellers, he banished them from the town.

We don’t look after our young travellers, and we don’t want them to immerse in the richness of nightlife culture; live music, young talents of DJs, musicians and singers. We play a totalitarian authority upon them, giving them bad names, and setting up ban after ban. Then when they’re travelling overseas, we are complaining about why they aren’t travelling our backyards.

Why do our young travellers escape to Bali and Thailand, Europe and the US and spend their money there? Go figure.

Sydneysider & storyteller. Raised a traveller and grown-up spiritual. I story-tell travel, mindfulness, spirituality & anything in between.

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