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Trouble in Paradise? The Impact of Changes to the Working Backpacker Market to a Regional Destination

Advances in Hospitality and Leisure

ISBN: 978-0-85724-769-8, eISBN: 978-0-85724-770-4

Publication date: 3 August 2011


This chapter examines aspects of working backpackers in Cairns in Far North Queensland, Australia. Using the push pull model, the study examines both the destination supply and demand sides of the working holiday making backpacker market to determine the degree to which the two are aligned. A qualitative approach, utilizing interviews with hostel managers and focus groups with backpackers, revealed that the working holiday backpacker market to Australia has changed in recent years as the “push” or motivating factors of backpackers have shifted. At the same time the attributes or “pull” factors of Cairns as a destination have not changed sufficiently to meet these changes. The study found that destination communication, product, and services contributed most significantly to the gap between the push and pull elements of the model and recent events appeared to have further exposed these gaps. Strategies to address these issues were explored and the implications for other regional destinations were discussed in light of these gaps. The study also identifies areas for further research including using the results to provide the basis for quantitative studies into the “push” and “pull” factors identified in the research and measuring the impact of the identified gaps on other outlying regional destinations.



Harris, A. and Prideaux, B. (2011), "Trouble in Paradise? The Impact of Changes to the Working Backpacker Market to a Regional Destination", Chen, J.S. (Ed.) Advances in Hospitality and Leisure (Advances in Hospitality and Leisure, Vol. 7), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 71-88.



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