How compatible is Byron Bay with the emerging ‘everything now’ society?

Do you remember how your childhood summer holidays seemed to go on ‘forever’? They’ve become a fond reference point for many as to how much slower time used to feel.

In business circles at least, there seems to be an overwhelming sense that time is speeding up. Instinct puts it down to heavy use of digital technology. Alternative explanations point to a rising Schumann Resonance (the pulse of Earth’s atmosphere) or macro solar weather cycles – such as the grand solar minimum we’re entering.

As digital technology is used across more hours of our day, we’re said to be improving the speed that our brain processes information. The downside to this is the sense that time is speeding up. We’re exposed to more information in one day than the people in the late 1800’s were exposed to in a seven- or eight-year period. Research by UCLA back in 2009 showed that ‘as technology has played a bigger role in our lives, our skills in critical thinking and analysis have declined, while our visual skills have improved.’

At this year’s Byron tourism symposium, we presented our top 10 travel trends. The trend that topped the list this year was ‘The Everything Now Society’. Put simply, we’re expect consumer expectations to grow rapidly over the coming decade for instant and customised products or services. This will be made possible due to the emergence of the internet-of-things. The rollout of the 5G network (for frictionless/instant communication), combined with blockchain technology (for decentralised security) will see the internet-of-things weave its way into many aspects of our lives.

The continued integration of digital technology into our lives in order to facilitate the forthcoming ‘everything now society’ can only worsen our perception that time is speeding up.

With societies critical thinking and analytical skills potentially on the wane, and its desire for ‘everything now’ on the rise – something is likely to give. The quality of life and stress levels of those living in the world’s large western cities are being challenged. From a mental and physical wellbeing perspective, urban dwellers are going to need more frequent escapes from their routine. This is already showing up in national tourism data. People are taking more frequent domestic holidays, albeit shorter in length. Byron’s stunning natural beauty, cultural diversity, and nearby airports makes it a prime candidate for a short-break destination to over 10 million people.

How compatible is the everything now society with a town whose mantra reads ‘Cheer up, slow down, chill out’?

The point being made here is that we know consumers are going to preference products and services that deliver with speed and customisation – at least during their normal day to day lives. Visitor demand for the simplicity and slowness of towns like Byron Bay will continue to grow as a counter-experience to this always connected world. The simplicity and slowness of Byron Bay is a very large component of why visitors are coming.

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