Australians are adopting backpackers during lockdown

Apr 29 2020, 6:30 pm

The COVID-19 pandemic has produced a multitude of adverse outcomes throughout the world. One such consequence is that backpackers remain stranded due to a variety of countrywide lockdowns, border closures, and other government-implemented preventative measures.

That, coupled with shockingly surging prices for plane tickets and limited seating availability for trips home, creates a worrying scenario.

Fortunately, at least for those in Australia, a new social media initiative has launched encouraging Aussie residents to “Adopt a Backpacker,” and serves to connect stranded travellers with places to stay as they ride out the pandemic.

From spare rooms to areas to camp in to even providing some work, “Adopt a Backpacker” reaches out to those who are understandably anxious, homesick, and scared, with a helping hand.

Miguel Enrique Fuentes and Nikki de Weerd created the Facebook group “Adopt a Backpacker WA” as a means of helping out stranded backpackers find free accommodation around Western Australia.

“With everything that is going on in the World with COVID-19, we would like to help out travellers/backpackers that don’t have enough resources to rent or find a place to stay,” the pair describes in the group’s bio.

The purpose of the group is to put backpackers/travellers looking for places to stay can in contact with those offering spare rooms, couches, or camping areas, providing a more efficient, streamlined approach.

The group now has over 5,600 members with subsidiary groups specific to particular regions in the country, including ones for New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and South Australia.

Additionally, in a post on the initiative’s official Instagram page, Fuentes and de Weerd explain that they are also working to create an official website as well as a mobile app to recruit more people and expand the program outside of Australia to the rest of the world.

Australia is a highly frequented destination for backpackers, so much so that those holding Working Holiday Visas have become a reliable source of labour, particularly for the agricultural sector.

In fact, during the devastating bushfires that plagued the continent at the beginning of the year, the country requested assistance from them to contribute to the relief efforts in a variety of ways, including rebuilding homes, fences, and farms, as well as preparing dams, roads, railways, and clearing land.

Emily RumballEmily Rumball

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