Pioneering Social Tourism in Australia

VTIC Tourism Excellence Magazine, Volume 8 – No. 2 Summer 2018-19

The Magical Getaway Foundation, based in Melbourne, is the only national charity dedicated to pioneering social tourism in Australia. We are the inaugural Australian member of the International Social Tourism Organisation.

Social tourism, the provision of equitable access to breaks away from home for populations who would otherwise be excluded, has been operating in the UK and Europe for over 60 years.

Regrettably, 1 in 3 Australian children have never been on a holiday.

We support families with a child or children under the age of 18 and those who care for them.

Referrals are received from a variety of sources including, but not limited to, welfare and family support organisations, schools and hospitals.

Only families that have never been on a holiday are eligible and they need to be prepared to tell their story of courage and resilience to the Foundation, to share with others.

The first ever holidays are for six days and are fully funded (including self-contained accommodation, food, petrol and visits to three tourist attractions at the respective destinations). All holidays are to locations in Australia.

Research shows that social tourism unequivocally benefits individuals, as well as society, because holidays improve well-being and reduce stress, increase self-esteem and confidence, strengthen family communication and bonding, enhance employability, give long-lasting, treasured memories and decrease social isolation.

Annalise and her family, Emmett three years, Jospeh six years, Geoffrey eight years, Jethro nine years and Lleyton 16 years, were referred by the principal from their primary school. The family had experienced horrific domestic volience. Since 2015, when they left, they had moved to a refuge, to emergency accommodation, back to the refuge, then to private rentals until they found their current home.

The family’s first ever holiday, in June 2018, was to Lorne. They stayed at the Mantra in a two bedroom apartment and visited, with complimentary admission, Lorne Sea Baths, Otway Fly Treetop Adventures and the Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park.

Kat Stewart, one of our Ambassadors, interviewed Annalise at our inaugural Social Tourism Forum in October 2018 about the impact of her family’s first ever holiday. There was not ‘a dry eye in the house’.

These will certainly be wonderful memories for my family to keep for a lifetime. Our experience has helped with our healing, and I believe that with each great memory puts a brick in the wall that helps build a wall away from the trauma these boys have experienced. Their first ever holiday has given many different experiences, knowledge and memories that I would never have been able to give them by myself.  

As a family we can really say this year was a game changer for us all, each of the children have grown in confidence and happiness and I have also gained so much from witnessing their growth and in my own self-confidence. I believe this has come due to your wonderful foundation and our awesome holiday. 

Annalise Tumbas