CATO reveals new trends with Australia’s 10m international travellers

CATO reveals new trends with Australia’s 10m international travellers

The Council of Australian Tour Operators has released the latest “Australians on Holiday – International Leisure Travel Trends” report, derived from 2023 travel data.

Drawing from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), CATO Member data and independent consumer surveys, this comprehensive study delves into significant travel habits and shifting preferences of Australians in the post-pandemic landscape, offering valuable information for stakeholders in the travel industry.

Key findings

Total Outbound Travel: In 2023, nearly 9,975,170 Australians ventured overseas, marking a 12 per cent decrease from 2019. Holiday travel accounted for 5,676,550 passengers or 57 per cent of total outbound journeys.

Touring Sector: A standout in the sector, land-based multi-day tours attracted 483,250 Australians, generating an impressive expenditure of $4.4 billion. Traditional coach tours proved especially popular, drawing 225,319 participants who spent a collective $2.1 billion. This robust performance underscores the sector’s significant contribution to overall travel spending.

Top Destinations: Indonesia emerged as the leading destination for outbound leisure travel with 1,179,150 visits, followed by New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, and the USA. Despite a 7 per cent decline in travel to South East Asia, this region remained the favourite among Australian tourists. Conversely, Southern and Eastern Europe experienced a 6 per cent increase in visitors, indicating a shifting interest towards these regions.

Spending Patterns: The average expenditure per traveller stood at $6,690, contributing to a total spend of over $50 billion on international leisure travel. Despite being a 22 per cent decrease from 2019, these figures point to a steady recovery and a positive outlook for future expenditure.

Demographics: Leisure travellers aged 18-35 comprised the largest group (28 per cent), followed by those aged 36-50 (23 per cent). Couples formed the primary travel group (35 per cent), with families with children under 18 (20 per cent) and solo travellers (17 per cent) also representing significant segments.

Travel Timing and Planning: The peak leisure travel period was from July to September, with Australians spending an average of 17.7 days abroad and visiting 3.1 countries per trip – this accounted for 30 per cent of all trips. A majority (62 per cent) booked their trips within six months of departure, predominantly using traditional booking channels, with 70 per cent relying on both online and offline retailers.

Travel Insurance: A notable 82 per cent of leisure travellers purchased travel insurance, mainly to cover medical emergencies (84 per cent) and trip cancellations (64 per cent).

These findings highlight a vibrant rebound in international travel, echoing trends seen in 2019, and demonstrate Australians’ enduring enthusiasm for global exploration. The insights provided are invaluable for the travel industry to better serve the evolving needs and preferences of Australian travellers.

For the full report click HERE.

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