Bali's cheap living and convenience hook in FIFO workers

February 22, 2016 by Denise Cahill, Sciencenetwork Wa
Bali’s cheap living and convenience hook in FIFO workers
FIFO workers with a two weeks on and one week off roster were more likely to travel to Bali, sometimes multiple times per year. Credit: Robert S. Donovan

Bali's lure for local fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers seems to be the holiday mecca's cheap cost, the quick time it takes to get there, the urge to experience a new culture and the fact that it is well away from the mine site.

These findings are part of Edith Cowan University research which confirms the long held view that FIFO opt to head to close overseas destinations such as Bali on their rostered time off, rather than spending time and money holidaying in WA.

The researchers interviewed 15 FIFO workers, three female and 12 males, between the ages of 22 and 64, six were married, two divorced and the rest were single.

Five workers had children and the majority had completed up to Year 12, with one having an undergraduate degree while most of them had never been overseas prior to becoming FIFO workers.

One of the workers lives in Bali and commutes for work and another has travelled to the island more than 70 times, visiting five times in one year.

Only one person had been to Bali once, with the most visiting between two and 15 times in the past three years.

FIFO dollars stretch further in Bali than in WA

"The major factors are the ease of there, that it is a quick and inexpensive flight, offers difference from the sights and sounds of the FIFO workplace, and the fact that FIFO workers' dollars go so far in Bali," ECU's Dr Greg Willson says.

Dr Willson says Australian tourism businesses simply could not compete against the cheap holidays deals in Bali or those wanting to experience another culture so they needed to find another way to attract people to have staycations in their own backyard.

"One option could be to appeal to families to explore their home culture with their children, or alternatively to work with the delayed aspiration to travel around Australia in later life," he says.

"Time is also a critical factor for FIFO workers, and any way in which businesses can reduce the burden of [travel] time will make their business more attractive to FIFO workers."

FIFO workers with a two weeks on and one week off roster were more likely to travel to Bali, sometimes multiple times per year.

"When workers had a much longer time off, they were more likely to travel to longer-range destinations, such as those in Europe," Dr Willson says.

Explore further: FIFO workers: Companies don't care

More information: Dale Sanders et al. Fly in to work; fly out to Bali: An exploration of Australian fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) workers leisure travel, Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.jhtm.2015.11.002

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