The director of tour group Colorful Trips Australia, Brett Eldershaw, says there is need to review the meaning and use of the term “backpacker”. According to Brett, over half a million student tourists travel to Australia annually, raising circa $15.5 billion each year. Brett believes there should be a debate over the term because it keeps out international students from participating and getting low-cost travel.

Brett was speaking at a tourism conference in Darwin where he said that the students are an untapped market in tourism. He said the students identify themselves as international students, and that they didn’t know anything about backpacker. Mr. Brett believes that the only way that the tourism market can be tapped is to get rid of the backpacker terminology, or let it be used partially. Brett says there is a need to come up with a new terminology that will be all inclusive, a word such as “youth and student travel.”

The Backpacker Tourism Advisory Board however begged to differ with Mr. Brett Eldershaw’s proposal. The panel chairman of BTAP, Mr. Peter Burke argues that the only thing common between a backpacker and an international student is age. Burke says there are thousands of international students, but he views them as a different market all together.

The chairman told the conference that majority of the international students are in Australia mainly because of their studies. According to him, Asian students who represent the majority of foreign students are there to study and that they just don’t have any budget to travel. Asian students stand for 70 per cent of all students and according to him, all the extra money the students have send it back to their countries.

He (Burke) proposes that instead of coming up with a new description of backpacker, the tourist industry should look at the whole situation as two different markets, hence should be marketed as such.

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3 Responses to “Debates Over The Term ‘backpacker’”

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