It’s 2030, imagine if…

The 2020's saw the rise of a completely different approach to tourism; a community-owned approach that dramatically accelerated investment in local economies. Seen as a game changer with 100% of booking fees being invested into member-selected projects, Wayfairer became an unstoppable grassroots movement and the preferred platform for travellers and operators alike. Now with over 1 million members and 200,000 listings across 10 countries, Wayfairer has received global recognition for its contribution to regenerative travel. Its federated model, open data sharing platform, and digital twin capability enabled simple global replication. In Australia, membership continues to grow, demonstrating the value that comes from being able to meaningfully contribute to the places and people you visit. And as the preferred travel partner for the 2032 Olympic Games in Brisbane, Wayfairer has the opportunity to showcase to the world its model for creating deeper, more connected travel experiences.

Summary of solution

Every year in Australia, over $150m is paid to international accommodation booking platforms, with the vast majority of that money disappearing offshore. We have seen the impact of this model across Australia, with the hollowing out of communities, increasing unaffordability of housing, and the commodification of tourism that has become insensitive to its local context.

Wayfairer disrupts this extractive model. It enables booking revenue to stay in Australia - creating jobs, catalysing investment, and promoting tourism destinations through sustainable, locally-led initiatives. Wayfairer’s approach creates an alignment between stakeholders, where everyone is pulling in the same direction, and that can empower local communities to promote authentic, fair and sustainable tourism.Under the model, 50% of travel booking fees are reinvested back into the local community - to be invested across three themes - people, food, and the environment. And as an impact enterprise that is owned by these same local communities, the other 50% of the fees helps to create sustainable jobs.

Why is this solution innovative

The cornerstone of Wayfairer is community ownership and community wealth building. It is a co-operative model that creates a closed loop, where communities have control and the economic benefits are redistributed to their members. This makes the community the centre of gravity for tourism rather than the platform itself, and recasts travel booking as regenerative rather than extractive. We are redesigning the tourism model so that it works for the benefit of all stakeholders - to regenerate the environment, promote sustainable food systems, and to foster resilient communities. The Wayfairer model embraces a multi-stakeholder approach. It draws local representatives from events, media, councils, indigenous groups, and tourism around a common goal. It creates an active reason for these stakeholders to engage, breaking down silos and promoting alignment.

There's no doubt this project has the potential to restore local environments to a healthy state through the generation of community project funding. The positive environmental impact across diverse regional communities could be very significant if successful.