December 3, 2019
Australia is witnessing a growing trend: more and more dogs are travelling with their owners for family holidays around the country, including on planes. The new phenomenon was uncovered by a survey by Elanco on 1,000 dog owners. Results show that 47% take their furry mates on holiday more than once a year, amounting to at least 2.25 million dogs enjoying a getaway in Australia yearly. This is reflected in hotels, camping sites, and holiday park providers becoming increasingly willing to accommodate their customers’ desire to bring their four-pawed family members along. Is Australia becoming more pet friendly, then? To dig deeper into the matter, we spoke with Steven Wright, CEO of BIG4 Holiday Parks of Australia.
First, we wanted to understand how many BIG4 parks are dog-friendly (note: BIG4 parks only accept dogs, not other pets). Currently, about 60% of the network (103 parks) are. After a significant boost in recent years, we can find dog-friendly BIG4 parks in every state, including the Northern Territory (NT).
These parks offer numerous pet-friendly sites and cabins, some of which welcome pets inside. But that’s not all: as Mr. Wright explains, “Many BIG4 parks go the extra yard for dogs, providing an excellent in-park experience for pet owners”. Some special features include “off-leash agility areas and dog runs, dog washes, and doggy day-care facilities.” Some parks even collaborate with local vets or other businesses offering grooming and dog-minding services.
BIG4 parks have been observing a significant rise in the number of guests coming with a pet. Yet, figures vary across each facility, since “Each BIG4 park is individually owned and operated and of differing sizes”, as indicated by Mr. Wright. The number of customers with dogs varies roughly between 10% to 25%.
BIG4 parks are indeed the holiday parks network of choice for many Australians, thanks to their strong focus on quality and their presence in some of Australia’s most attractive locations. They are ideal both for relaxing getaways and trips full of adventures. Mr. Wright pointed out that, “Alongside accommodation that includes a wide range of cabins, BIG4 parks are equipped with caravan and camping sites and some even have glamping facilities. This is all backed by a wide assortment of amenities and facilities from camp kitchens and barbecue areas to splash parks, mini-golf, and a wide range of other leisure and entertainment options for all ages.”
Thanks to the growing number of dog-friendly accommodation, dog-owners do not need to sacrifice their preference for BIG4 parks. Indeed, Elanco’s research revealed dog ownership influences the choice of holiday destination for 47% of the people surveyed, while 46% are impacted in decisions about location and type of home.
Is Australia becoming more pet-friendly, then? It would definitely seem so, as shown not only by the rise in dog-friendly accommodation but also by the appearance of shopping areas welcoming dogs (like in Melbourne). Certainly, dogs have a surprising effect on our lifestyle choices, such as where to live, clothing, and vehicles, so we can just hope for this pet-friendly trend to keep growing and become an integral part of Australia’s culture!
For more information about dog-friendly accommodation in BIG4 parks, you can check out their website.