By Sylvia Lee
It’s holiday season, except there’s one problem: You have no idea where to travel. We’re here to help.
A study by the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne has revealed that a nation’s perceived ‘happiness’ can attract tourists and yes, this may be the key to happy travelling.
Conducted by Finance lecturer Dr Reza Tajaddini and Economics lecturers Dr Hassan F. Gholipour and Dr Jeremy Nguyen, the study is the first to explore the link between happiness and tourism.
According to the researchers, the study has implications for tourism marketing as it demonstrates the benefits of spotlighting the local happiness of destinations, alongside obvious factors such as their traditional culture and heritage attractions.
A comprehensive database from the World Values Survey, a global research project exploring international values, was used to define happiness, with researchers measuring the tourism revenue of 63 countries and matching tourism arrivals data with happiness data.
“In recent years, many countries have launched tourism campaigns focusing on happiness in their countries. Sometimes a holiday isn’t just getting to see more sunshine; it’s about getting to see more sunny smiles,” said Dr Tajaddini.
Indeed, this can be seen in our very own Tourism Australia’s ‘There’s Nothing Like Australia’ campaign. The TV ad used scenes of overjoyed citizens and visitors alike taking in the sights and experiences Australia has to offer, which highlights happiness’ role in promoting tourism.
And it works: Dr Nguyen said the results suggest international tourists prefer to flock to happier destinations.
“If national happiness is viewed as an intangible asset that affects tourism positively, then recent interests in national happiness and wellbeing by political leaders and economists have clear implications for the management of this asset for which tourism industries are a stakeholder,” he said.
The study also found tourists’ destination picks were influenced by perceived political stability and personal safety.
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