Tourism

STUDY: More Aussies want to travel overseas, but where do they want to go?

New research shows almost eight in 10 Aussies want to take a holiday in the next year, but their desired destinations may come as a surprise.

According to Roy Morgan’s recent State of the Nation Report on Travel, 78.6 per cent of Australians aged 14 and over would like to take a holiday in the next year, down 5 per cent points over the last two decades since 2001/02. 72 per cent of Australians would like to take a domestic holiday – that is to a destination in Australia (down 9.1 per cent).

The top five preferred domestic holiday destinations are Australia’s two largest cities of Melbourne and Sydney followed by regional destinations including the Great Ocean Road (Torquay, Lorne, Port Fairy), the Tasmanian capital of Hobart and the Blue Mountains west of Sydney including Katoomba and Lithgow.

In contrast to the decline in desire for a domestic holiday, an increasing number of Australians would like an overseas holiday with 49.5 per cent naming an overseas destination, up 7.5 per cent points since 2001/02.

English speaking countries dominate the top five most popular overseas destinations led by close neighbour New Zealand followed by the United States and England with Canada rounding out the top five. The sole exception is the top Asian destination of Japan which is now the fourth most popular overseas destination.

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January 2001 – March 2019. Rolling 12 month moving average, sample n=20.037. Base: Australians aged 14+.
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January 2001 – March 2019. Rolling 12 month moving average, sample n=20.037. Base: Australians aged 14+.

Japan’s popularity as a holiday destination has been on the rise for an extended period of time. In early 2004 only 2.5 per cent of Australians mentioned Japan as a holiday destination they would like to visit. The popularity of Japan as a holiday destination increased steadily over the next decade overtaking Thailand as the most popular Asian travel destination in early 2014.

In early 2014 5.5 per cent of Australians wanted to holiday in Japan, just ahead of Thailand mentioned by 5.2 per cent as a desired holiday destination. Since then Japan has increased by a further 4.3 per cent points to 9.8 per cent whereas Thailand has been largely steady between four and five per cent, and is now mentioned by 4.6 per cent.

Other popular Asian holiday destinations include second favourite Bali (mentioned by 5.3 per cent of Australians), Singapore (4.3 per cent), Vietnam (3.6 per cent) and mainland China (2.3 per cent).

Though Japan is now a clear leader, all six destinations are now more popular as Australian holiday destinations than they were two decades ago in 2001. The increase for Japan has been clearly the most significant, increasing by 7.3 per cent points from 2001, while the second-biggest increase in preference is for Singapore which has increased by 1.9 per cent points during the same period.

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January 2001 – March 2019. Rolling 12 month moving average, sample n=20.037. Base: Australians aged 14+.
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January 2001 – March 2019. Rolling 12 month moving average, sample n=20.037. Base: Australians aged 14+.

Roy Morgan’s research into the habits and preferences of Australians allows a comprehensive profiling and an in-depth understanding of what sets apart a traveller who might prefer the beaches of Bali to one who would prioritise the night-life and culture of a country like Japan.

A pen-portrait of the quintessential Australian intending to travel to Japan is a young man from one of Australia’s two largest States. This is no ordinary young man though as he’s well-educated with a degree behind him and working full-time in a high-earning professional or managerial role earning over $100,000 per year and disproportionately likely to be from the top AB socio-economic quintile.

In terms of values, he is more likely than the average Australian to agree that ‘I am always ready to try new and different products’, ‘I will buy a product because of the label’ and ‘I enjoy clothes shopping’. Perhaps it is the food that attracts our intrepid traveller as he is far more likely than the average Australia to agree that ‘I enjoy food from all over the world’ and ‘If I see a new type of food I will try it’.

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