Australia has a multicultural and multi-ethic population, and many local baby boomers are going overseas for months at a time to reconnect with their cultures and homelands.
REPORTER: Almost every baby boomer can trace their origins and cultural roots overseas. Fifty-six-year-old chartered accountant Bhupen Gulabdas migrated to Australia from Fiji in 1988. He has always maintained a strong connection to his Hindu religion and Indian culture and travels to India at least once a year.
BHUPEN GULABDAS: It gives you a different perspective of life, it tells you how lucky we are when we’re in this country, when we go to those countries and see how they life, how they practise their faith. It’s very important that you understand the culture and where you’ve come from.
REPORTER: Mister Gulabdas is part of a trend amongst migrant baby boomers who travel almost exclusively to their country of origin to reconnect with their culture or to visit family overseas.
BHUPEN GULABDAS: I’ve travelled to Europe as well but only to visit because my wife’s brother is in London so we went to London for instance. We’ve been to the US because we’ve got relatives there, so the reasons we’ve only went to these countries is because there were some relatives that we wanted to visit and that’s probably what drives most of our travels.
REPORTER: According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of short term overseas departures has more than doubled since 2002, with Asian countries making up a large portion of the preferred destinations. Specialist travel agencies, like Hyderabad Travels in Parramatta, depends on these subcontinent markets and has profited well from a migrant customer base.
PADMAJA REDDY: We can see a lot of Indians coming in more, migrating into Australia. We see the difference every year, there’s an increase of about 30 per cent more in our sales. They like to go back to their countries and their children are grown up here so they want to visit their family, older parents and a lot of their friends as well.
REPORTER: Miss Reddy even said bigger and more well-known travel agencies like Flight Centre offer little competition to Hyderabad Travels.
PADMAJA REDDY: We have more volume compared to Flight Centre even though it’s bigger we have more volume in point-to-point sales especially in the Indian subcontinent. So sometimes they don’t even compete with us in price, we are cheaper comparatively so people prefer us again.
REPORTER: Baby boomers like Mister Gulabdas and their assured desire to travel are an important part of these specialist travel agents.
BHUPEN GULABDAS: There are lots of Indians from our temple for instance who regularly, they make it a point to travel to India at least once a year. I think that’s just the normal practice for all Indians basically and even for people like my age group, they would do that all the time.
REPORTER: In fact rather than just having a quick holiday, migrant baby boomers prefer to stay overseas for much longer periods of time sometimes as long as half a year.
PADMAJA REDDY: They stay longer, they go and they don’t come back within a month they may stay for six months, one year then come back.
REPORTER: Miss Reddy feels baby boomers want the best of both worlds, here in Australia and in their home country.
PADMAJA REDDY: The older they get the longer they want to be in their own country and again they come back here. That’s just because they have plenty of facilities here, they have old age pension, they’re getting everything so they don’t want to lose this as well.
REPORTER: This is a baby boomer trend that Mister Gulabdas says exists beyond just the Indian community.
BHUPEN GULABDAS: I think there are some communities for instance where they actually retire in their own country. So they go back to, say for instance Greece, people go back to Greece and retire there, Italians do that. They came in the fifties, sixties and seventies; these people are also going back and spending long long periods of time there, maybe not permanently but definitely go back there.
REPORTER: Jay Pandya, Baby Zoomers Magazine.