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Backpack & Budget

Money's Up Down Under

November 13, 1994|LUCY IZON

Backpackers are worth big bucks to the tourism industry in Australia, according to several recent studies. In fact, the study results have impressed the Australian federal government so much they have allocated over the next four years $2,960,000 to promote backpacking.

Even though backpackers spend less each day on accommodations and transportation than other tourists, their visits are longer, and they rank among Australia's biggest-spending visitors.

A study by Jeff Jarvis, marketing lecturer of the Monash University graduate tourism program, found that the average backpacker is 24 years old, spends $29.40 per day, and stays in Australia for 195 days. Considering the estimated number of backpackers expected in Australia this year is 250,000, it's easier to comprehend Jarvis' estimate that backpackers are now worth a whopping $1.5 billion a year to the Australian economy.

Because of the financial support by the federal government, backpacking visitors can expect to see more information geared to their style of travel in government publications distributed overseas. For example, the Travel and Tourist Corporation of the popular state of Queensland established a backpacker industry advisory committee last year.

For those who plan to use Sydney as their gateway, two backpackers hostels are offering guests free transportation from the airport to their doors.

The 250-bed Hereford YHA Lodge at 51 Hereford St., Glebe 2037; telephone 011-61-2-660-5577, is 10 miles from the airport. Here budget travelers can find dormitory beds for $11 to $12.50 per night, or $16.25 per person in a twin room. The hostel is in a quiet residential area. It has a TV/video room, sauna and a swimming pool. If you use the KST bus service from the airport to the hostel and get a receipt, the fare will be deducted from your overnight accommodations.

The airport bus transportation discount is in effect for the 15-bed Sydney-Glebe Point YHA Hostel at 262-264 Glebe Point Road, Glebe 2037; tel. 011-61-2-692-8418. Here dormitory beds are available for $11-$12 per person. Both hostels accept major credit cards.

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