STUDY: COVID-safe holidays the key to rid pandemic worries
COVID blues still getting you down?
Packing your bags and heading on a COVID-safe holiday could be the way to alleviate pandemic-related stress, according to a new University of the Sunshine Coast study.
An online survey of more than 600 Australians from all states except Victoria found that those who have” travelled during the pandemic reported having “significantly higher levels of wellbeing than those who have stayed at home.
The study divided respondents into equal groups of those who have travelled within Australia since restrictions in most states were eased in June, and those who have not.
Dr Shahab Pourfakhimi from USC’s School of Business said the research provided a snapshot of how COVID-19 was affecting people’s travel intentions.
“With global travel off-limits and restrictions on travelling interstate, there has been a surge in people booking holidays within their own state since the pandemic was declared in March,” Dr Pourfakhimi said.
“As well as surveying people’s willingness to holiday during this time, we asked them to rate their levels of happiness, satisfaction with life and sense of wellbeing.
“Those who travelled generally reported being happier, more content and having a greater sense of wellbeing compared to non-travellers.
“They also reported having higher levels of resilience, coping skills and optimism about their future.”
Dr Pourfakhimi said nine out of 10 travellers had spent at least two nights at another destination, which signalled that intrastate visitation was making a significant economic contribution to regional tourism amid the coronavirus crisis.
The survey found those who have already holidayed during this pandemic were significantly more likely to holiday again under similar COVID-safe conditions.
Fear of COVID-19 infection and spread was found to be a significant barrier for travel during the pandemic, while after the easing of restrictions, respondents said they expected to feel more confident travelling domestically than internationally due to the virus.
Gympie region tourism hotspots Rainbow Beach, Inskip Point and Teewah Beach have all seen busy holiday periods since the pandemic hit.