Austerity Backlash drives Australian backpacking recovery

Backpacking, which makes up 10% of Australia’s tourism industry, is a rite of passage for many young British travellers, however reduced disposable income and escalating university tuition fees have kept many at home in the last few years.

In the year ending March 2013, 571,000 backpackers visited the country, up 19,000 on the previous year.  11% of backpackers heading for Australia come from the UK, which is in second place in the international backpacker visitor table behind China, which accounts for 14% of the industry.

backpackersSydney is the main destination for backpackers, attracting 412,000 backpackers in the year ending March 2013, compared to Melbourne (260,000), Brisbane (211,000), the Gold Coast (116,000) and Tropical North Queensland (190,000).

In addition, the average visit duration per traveller has increased from 78 in 2012 to 82 up until March this year.  With the average expenditure per night for each backpacker totalling $69, this is great news for the Australian tourism industry.

Backpacking needn’t be an exercise in slumming it, with accommodation such as The Jolly Swagman in Sydney, which offers a 4* rating, family rooms and free airport pick-ups (prices from £17 per night), this type of budget holiday provides a great way to see Australia’s sights without breaking the bank.

For 18-25 year olds, The Funkhouse in Sydney’s hip  King’s Cross area offers free roof-top BBQs each Friday and food & drink vouchers redeemable throughout the city.  With easy access from both of these hostels to the main attractions including: Bondi Beach, Manly Beach and the Sydney Opera House, backpacking is a great budget-friendly and family-friendly way to see the sights.