If there was ever a time, you were considering keeping it local now would be the perfect opportunity to explore our own backyards. Having travel bans in place for much of 2020, it’s not surprising that we are seeing schools now looking for some home-grown options for school camps and excursions.
With the combination of bushfires, then COVID 19 many major attractions across Australia have not seen international or local travellers in a while. Making local travel plans is just one way we can help kickstart the economy.
Here are a few suggestions on how you can help support local tourism business and communities that so desperately need the visitors for recovery.
Don’t Cancel - Postpone
Many attractions and accommodation providers have adjusted their terms and conditions to allow more flexible future travel arrangements because nothing about the past few months has been predictable. So, if you are not able to travel right now, the next best option would be to postpone allowing your service provider to earn your business at a later date.
Engage on Social Media
So many businesses have had to make a quick shift to online platforms to stay connected with their audiences. We have seen museums offer online interactive programs and an increase in online viewers watching the Penguin Parade live streams from Phillip Island. Social media has become even more important to keep that connection going, so go ahead and like their facebook page, leave a great review and give them the thumbs up its worth so much during these times.
If your school is not able to travel right now it doesn’t mean you can’t start planning. Borders are slowly opening, so take this time to really hash out what you want out of your next school camp. Reach out to your school travel agent or accommodation provider and let them know your future travel plans. With the massive influx of schools that have had to postpone in 2020, accommodation and attractions will be booking up fast for 2021/2022 so get in early and lock in your future camps.
Travel with a Purpose
Australia has some unique wildlife sanctuaries and world-class local rescue and rehabilitation centres. If you can’t physically visit them now, this would be an excellent opportunity to engage with these organisations by supporting their efforts and involving your class in adopting a cause to help protect our native animals.
Engaging with a Humanitarian Organisation is another way in which students can get involved in learning about local issues affecting their community and support them through joining their initiatives, many offer excellent programs.
Explore Sustainable Travel Options
Sustainable travel is not only about choosing to reduce your carbon footprint; it’s about understanding how we fit into the world as a whole. There are many opportunities within Australia to learn, and it’s become more critical not only to enjoy a destination or location but to add value while visiting.
Whether you decide to do a home stay to learn more about aboriginal culture or get hands-on harvesting local produce supporting local is all about strengthening Aussie communities.
One thing you would have noticed during this time is an almost plane free sky. While we may feel like it’s been forever, you can be sure flights will resume at some point. On a positive note, it's actually quite refreshing to consider what you could gain from a journey that doesn’t involve flying?
While we don’t know what the future of travel will look like the focus will likely be on intrastate travel.
This means we have the opportunity to
Use Local Guides
When you get to where you’re going consider using a local guide even if you’re from the area.
Local guides bring a wealth of knowledge, meaning and value helping students to get the most out of the trip. Even as the school coordinator if you’ve been living in the same state your whole life, you will discover details you never knew and unique facts about the area. It is easy to memorise facts and do research on the internet, experiencing the stories told by veterans or watching wildlife guides inaction results in a richer more in-depth understanding of the subject.
Every state has made great efforts to contain the spread of COVID19, and at this stage, we would assume that these plans will stay in place for a while.
Schools excursions are no different, and at the top of everyone’s list is the safety of the teachers and students. Many attractions are dictated by social distancing guidelines and are having to reduce educational programs, reduce capacity and limit the duration spent on site. While this has made it harder to secure some attractions, the plus is that reduced capacity means fewer crowds which may help to enrich the experience, not necessarily take away from it.
Is Intrastate Travel on the Rise? We think so!
In a bid to normalise school excursions and make sure students are not robbed of these engaging and experiential learning opportunities, schools are looking at keeping travel local. When you travel across Australia, your itinerary will undoubtedly include some of the iconic landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Phillip Island or Uluru. While these are all truly spectacular, I suspect it will be everything in between, and the organic learning experiences you come across that will really leave you wondering why you haven’t done a local excursion before.
Many are recognising that travelling in your own country or state can be just as rewarding and hold great educational value. We should think of this as an opportunity to rediscover what makes our states unique, So, let’s look ahead and make up for some lost travel time.