This year has been a year like no other. Now that summer is with us, can we encourage you to take a holiday if that is at all possible for you? This year, more than ever, a holiday may be the most important thing you do – and not just for yourself!

Holidays are good for your health. This time last year we told you about some Finnish and American research that related taking holidays with better heart health. This year, we can add to that some Canadian research that shows the lawyers who took their holidays were less likely to succumb to depression and reported less work-related stress (Joudrey and Wallace, 2009, Leisure as a coping resource. Human Relations, 62 (2), 195-217). So, holidays are not just good for your heart: they are good for your head, as well.

Holidays make us feel better and help us live longer. But that is not all. In this most unusual of years, there is yet another great reason for you to take a holiday: it will be good for the country as well!

According to Austrade, Australia’s tourism sector usually provides 1 in 12 of all jobs throughout the country. More than $60 billion of our GDP typically comes from tourism – more than we make from agriculture – and foreign visitors usually spend more than $39 billion here in Australia. Unfortunately, this year has not been very normal, as this ABS graph of short-term visits by international travelers makes clear:

It is pretty stark, isn’t it? Last December, more than 1 million overseas visitors poured onto our shores for what was, in most cases, a holiday. They are not coming this year, as the only internationals we are letting in are the ones who can play a really good game of tennis or cricket.

But this need not be as bad for the economy as it might first appear. The ABS also tells us that, in January 2020, almost 1.4 million Australians arrived in Australia following a short trip overseas. So, most years, more Aussies head overseas than we get back as visitors.

This year, we Aussies have to stay onshore, as well. But, if we think about it, by choosing to spend our holiday dollars here in Australia, we give the economy a really good chance to recover at least some of that $39 billion that tourists are not bringing here. If we all take a holiday in Australia, can give our domestic economy a huge boost.

So, if you are not sure whether to take that holiday – do it for the country! We look forward to hearing all about it when we see you next.