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Massive growth in bushwalking as ‘green exercise’ and holiday activity

Massive growth in bushwalking as ‘green exercise’ and holiday activity
February 3, 2016

The proportion of Australians who go hiking/bushwalking has skyrocketed over the last five years according to the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research.

Identified as lifestyle choice that people undertake for health benefits - ‘green exercise’ – the research shows that people who hike/bushwalk tend to take outdoors-based holidays.

The Roy Morgan Research shows that between October 2010 and September 2015, the proportion of Australians aged 14 years or over who reported going hiking/bushwalking on a regular basis grew from 2.9% to 5.2%, while those who participated either regularly or occasionally increased from 15.6% to 27.3% (or more than 5.3 million Australians).

When asked what activities they did on their last trip, regular/occasional hikers/bushwalkers were consistently more likely than the average Australian to nominate active, outdoor pursuits.

For example, they are 84% more likely than the average Australian to have visited wilderness of some kind on their last trip, 81% more likely to have gone to a National Park or forest and – of course – 135% more likely to have gone bushwalking.

What hikers/bushwalkers did on their last trip compared to the average Australian

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2014 – September 2015 (n=15,668). NB: Chart shows the index of the target profile group compared to population average, with 100 being the average.

Occasional and regular hikers/bushwalkers are also 54% more likely to have gone sailing on their last holiday and 39% more likely to have visited gardens or parks.

When asked to nominate a description that best summarised their last holiday, hikers came in well above average for ‘Nature holiday’ and ‘A real ecotourism experience’.

Commenting on the findings, Roy Morgan Research Group Account Director, Angela Smith, said the current boom in hiking and bushwalking was not only good thing for participants’ personal well-being – it also represented a wonderful opportunity for savvy tourism operators and destination marketers.

Smith explained “our data indicates that people who hike/ bushwalk either regularly or occasionally tend to behave in a certain way when they go on holidays, engaging in energetic physical activity and seeking out natural surroundings more than the average Australian.

“Not surprisingly, destinations offering scenic wilderness hold greater appeal for hikers and bushwalkers than for the average Australian considering a holiday.”

When asked where they’d like to visit, this group showed an above-average preference for unspoiled regions such as Freycinet National Park, the Flinders Ranges, Cradle Mountain and Lord Howe Island.

“Australia boasts a surplus of national parks and wilderness areas, and with the right kind of branding and promotion, many of them stand to benefit from this growing segment of the travel market – especially if they have a detailed understanding of who exactly these hikers and bushwalkers are.

“For example, when it comes to regular bushwalking and hiking, two very different age groups stand out for their elevated participation rate: young Aussies aged 20-24 and older folks aged between 60 and 64. They are also most likely to be from the wealthier end of the socio-economic spectrum, which probably comes in handy, given the recently upgraded Three Capes track in Tasmania costs more than $500 to hike.”

Click here for more information on the National Parks/ Forest Holiday Visitors Profile.

Lower image shows Western Australia's Bibbulmun Track.

1st February 2016 - NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SHOWCASES ADVENTURE EXPERIENCES IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA

11th December 2015 - AUSTRALIANS LOVE THEME PARK VISITS

22nd September 2015 - BUSHWALKERS TO PAY $495 TO EXPLORE THREE CAPES TRACK ON TASMAN PENINSULA

24th April 2015 - ONE IN FIVE AUSTRALIAN HOLIDAYS INCLUDE A NATIONAL PARK VISIT

4th June 2014 - OUTDOOR RECREATION INSTRUCTORS GROW 66% IN FIVE YEARS

18th April 2014 - MORE THAN A MILLION VISITORS PARTICIPATE IN WALKING AND HIKING IN NEW ZEALAND IN FIVE YEARS

19th May 2013 - BRISK WALKING JUST AS GOOD FOR THE HEART AS RUNNING 

20th October 2012 - FITNESS AUSTRALIA FINDINGS SHOW A HEALTHIER AND FITTER FUTURE

18th July 2011 - NORDIC WALKING MAKES TRACKS 


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Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

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