Backpacker Tourism “booming” Down Under

While the travel and tourism market in general is suffering, thanks to the international economic crisis, Australian newspaper The Age is reporting that that country has seen a steep increase in backpacker tourism in recent months. In fact, visas from the U.K. and Germany alone are up more than twenty percent. Deeply discounted airfares are helping to spur the budget travel trend as well it seems.

The article says that young people who have lost their job are electing to travel abroad, many of them deciding to head Down Under for their extended holiday. Others, looking for a budget vacation, are also heading to Australia, taking advantage of good deals, but watching their money while in country as well.

It seems things are not completely rosy for the Australian tourism market however. Overall, the industry is way down already, and the number of visitors to the country is expected to drop by more than 250,000 people, costing the economy over $1 billion.

Still, the Minister of Tourism, Martin Ferguson, is bullish on the future, and will tell more than 300 tourism representatives that this week when the Australian Tourism Export Council or ATEC, meets to discuss their concerns. Ferguson will tell them that the outlook for next year is far better than 2009, but the government is encouraging Australians to stay home, and spend their holiday locally, and they’re giving them stimulus checks to help the process. So far, that seems to be working.

As usual, these awful economic conditions mean bargains and cheap travel for those who do have the money and are willing to go. You may never be able to visit Australia for so little money again.