4 reasons why the self-drive tourist is good for regions


With regional areas increasingly turning to tourism as a source of economic stability in Covid times, it is worthwhile for governments, local councils and investors to consider how best to increase their share of this market.

Not only holiday makers but also business travellers, government, professionals and tradies make up the self drive market, and their money is equal.

To get you started, here are four reasons why the self-drive market is good for your region:

1. An established and growing market

Regional Australia increasingly relies on the tourism sector as many other industries decline or disappear. Extending into the established and growing self-drive market as part of a local economic plan can help to offset these losses.

A 2018 report by Tourism Australia confirms growth in visitation to regional areas over the past five years from both domestic and overseas travellers.

The report says growth in middle-class Asia is growing demand for quality tourism experiences, as well as growth in self-drive travel.

Cleverly packaged self-drive holidays through the regions have the potential to tap into current growth.


2. regional Australia is more accessible by road than air

From iconic desert landscapes to tropical rainforests, and from spectacular mountain vistas to pristine coastlines and sprawling vineyards, regional Australia offers a diverse abundance of immersive settings for a road trip.

Self-driving empowers tourists with the freedom to choose when and where to visit that other modes of travel like cruise and rail, do not offer. This allows them to explore areas that might not normally be visited  due to time constraints, difficulty getting there in large groups, or no tours going there at all.

Research from the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre specifically identified self-drive tourism as having the ability to unlock hidden potential in regions, as self-drive markets are “more stable and profitable over time and are able to be encouraged to explore new destinations and activities.”  

The accessibility of self-driving can create viable new tourist attractions in your region, as long as local business and tourism promotions keep them coming.


3. The self-drive market supports a wider range of local business activity than other travel modes

A coach tour may bypass many lesser known local attractions and a flight will keep them out of sight altogether. Even when they do stop, coach tours often take people to the same businesses every time.

While this is good for these businesses and works well for planned tours, it does not necessarily maximise the opportunity for your region as a whole.

As outlined above, the big advantage of the self-drive market is the freedom to visit as many sites as they wish within their own timeframe. This creates opportunities for niche markets and interests.

More traffic to destinations and being diverted to new spots can facilitate new business opportunities for cafés, restaurants, retail outlets and all the businesses that support them.


4. Affordable self-drive tourism development solutions can yield a high return on investment

Of course, developing tourism always requires funding and as part of a balanced strategy it can be a good idea to consider what your region offers to different market segments. However, not every project can or needs to cater for a 5-star experience.

Central to the idea of the self-drive tour is that the journey itself is just as important as the destination, and the real value most often lies in soaking up the existing natural environment and engaging in the activities that it can facilitate.

Basic picnic spots, lookouts, camping sites and 4WD trails are just a few examples of things that can complement the unique features of your region without blowing the budget.

Think about areas where the ‘build, and they will come’ mentality might take off by affordably harnessing the value already provided by your region’s environment.


Contact us, call Susan Lee

0466 090 600