The new boom in boomer travel

Around one third of Australia’s population was born overseas, so it probably comes as no surprise to many that heritage travel is booming.

According to research by Airbnb and genomics company 23andMe, almost six in 10 Australians have travelled to at least one country of their heritage, while more than half (56 per cent) would trade a year’s supply of alcohol for a fully funded trip to a place of ancestry.

Seven in 10 Australians want to connect with their roots and would consider a holiday trip for this reason alone. Since 2014, Airbnb says there has been a 500 per cent increase in travellers using its service for heritage tourism purposes, with guests aged over 60 the most likely to undertake a heritage trip.

These findings come as Airbnb – with the help of 23andMe at-home genomics tests – announce a partnership to make it easier for Australians to learn about their ancestry and roots abroad.

If you, like one of the 62 per cent of survey respondents, are interested in taking an at-home DNA test, you can buy one from 23andMe, then send it back and wait for your results. In around three to five weeks, customers receive an ancestry report and “will be able to click through to their ancestral populations and find Airbnb Homes and Experiences in their native countries”.  

“We empower 23andMe customers to learn about themselves and their ancestry through their unique genetic code,” said 23andMe CEO and co-founder Anne Wojcicki.

“Working with Airbnb, a leader who is reimagining travel, provides an exciting opportunity for our customers to connect with their heritage through deeply personal cultural and travel experiences.”

Being able to experience culture and art, to interact with local people and to enjoy traditional cuisine are even more reason to try heritage tourism.

And you don’t need to do a DNA test to enjoy the benefits of this partnership. Airbnb now has dedicated pages that correspond with 23andMe’s genetic populations to make it easier to plan a heritage trip – especially handy if you already know your own ancestry.

“At Airbnb, we believe that authentic travel experiences help you connect with local cultures and create a sense of belonging anywhere in the world – and what better way to do that than traveling to your roots. We’re proud to team up with 23andMe, the leader in helping people learn about their genes and ancestry, to make it easier for travellers to plan trips as unique as their DNA,” said Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia.

Have you gone on a heritage tour? Is it something you would consider? What do you think of this partnership?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


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