Study finds 90% of Australians plan to travel in 2023, their destination preferences revealed

Waterfront behind sandy beach of SUrfers paradise greeting rising sun over Pacific ocean. Aerial view along Gold Coast and line of high-rise towers.

One of the world’s fastest growing travel companies, Luxury Escapes, has released its latest annual trend report, Travel 2023, detailing the nation’s views towards travel in 2023.

The report, surveying more than 4,000 respondents, reveals Australians are more motivated to book an escape than ever before, with bucket list holidays and immersive tourism experiences a priority as travel tops the discretionary spend list.

Australians’ appetite for travel stronger than ever

90 per cent of Australians plan to travel either domestically or internationally in 2023 as a truly reopened world brings new levels of desire for travel.

Australians are primed for adventure and embracing newfound confidence in the tourism industry with more than half (56.5%) of respondents saying the pandemic has made them more motivated to travel than ever before.

It’s unknown how many Australians plan to sit on a rock in 2023.

Food and wellness experiences driving motivators for travel in 2023 Australians are motivated to expand their horizons through travel in 2023, engaging with emerging and established tourism trends from wellness to sustainability.

For 75 per cent of respondents, leisure and enjoyment rank first on reasons for their travel plans in 2023 with more than a quarter (28.75%) of respondents planning a bucket list holiday this year.

The most popular tourism trends are revealed to be food tourism (63.59%), wellness tourism (46.42%) and sustainable travel (29.53%).

“For more than ten years, Luxury Escapes has been sending customers on the world’s best holidays and we couldn’t be more excited about the future of travel” Adam Schwab, CEO and co-founder of Luxury Escapes, said.

“A lot has changed in the last few years, but what hasn’t changed is how we all love to plan incredible holidays and enjoy new experiences. And as the world has changed, the team at Luxury Escapes has spent the last few years working to create the world’s best travel experiences for our 7 million+ members.”

Top domestic destinations for 2023

  1. The Whitsundays
  2. QLD islands
  3. Gold Coast
  4. Hobart
  5. Melbourne

While Queensland proves to again be the major drawcard for Australians travelling domestically in 2023, Hobart remains high on the travel wishlist for those seeking out the city’s unique combination of arts, culture and hospitality. And, for the first time since Luxury Escapes has released its annual Travel Trends report, Melbourne has surpassed Sydney for a spot in the top 5 Australian destinations to travel to in the year ahead.

Australian travellers share a moment of romance in picturesque location

Top international destinations for 2023

In 2023, more than half (56.86 %) of respondents plan on travelling to a country they haven’t visited before, and 68 per cent are prepared to travel overseas to attend a wedding in 2023. Indonesia ranks #1 on top destinations to travel to in 2023 – riding a massive rise in popularity from the #5 spot last year.

And while Italy and France rank #1 and #2 on respondents’ ‘all-time favourite’ destinations list, Bali, Thailand and Hawaii are in close contention, taking out the #3, #4 and #5 spots respectively.

Cost no barrier for Australians

For the majority of respondents, travel ranks #1 on the discretionary spend list in 2023, with more than half (58%) of respondents saying that cost-of-living pressures have not impacted their travel plans.

Two thirds of respondents (60%) said they planned on spending more on travel in 2023 than they did pre-pandemic with the majority spending more than AUD $10,000 per international holiday.

We probably don’t even need a survey to reveal we all want to be on this yacht.

“We’ve discovered that our changed world has opened up a new appetite for travel like we’ve never seen before,” Schwab said.

“From new hotspot destinations to smarter travel and immersive encounters, our members are seeking out a new normal in travel – one that delivers on experience, quality and value.

“To meet this demand, we’ve more than doubled the size of our team and created the most exciting suite of products in Luxury Escapes history. From the minute you start planning your trip to the moment you set foot in your destination and beyond, Luxury Escapes is making it easier to have a seamless travel experience, bringing together incredible hotels and resorts, flights, cruises and tours, experiences and more,” Schwab continued.

Luxury Escapes is one of the world’s leading luxury travel providers, with more than 7 million members globally. The mobile-first, technology-led online retailer focuses on using technology to create the world’s best experiences, from booking to travel.

The State of Travel

  • 9 out of 10 (87.90%) respondents plan to travel within Australia in 2023. 9 out of 10 (87.59%) respondents plan to travel internationally in 2023.
  • 56.5 per cent of respondents say the pandemic has made them more motivated to book a holiday.
  • 307,828 – Luxury Escapes bookings in 2022.
  • 56 per cent – increase in Luxury Escapes’ sales in 2022 compared to 2019.

Top Destinations

  • The 5 most popular Aussie destinations for travel in 2023 are (1) Tropical Far North Queensland, (2) The Whitsundays & QLD islands, (3) Gold Coast, (4) Hobart and (5) Melbourne.
  • More than half (56.86%) of respondents plan on travelling to a country they haven’t visited before.
  • Top 5 ranked countries respondents want to visit in 2023 are (1) Indonesia, (2) Thailand, (3) New Zealand, (4) United Kingdom and (5) Italy.
  • Top 5 all-time favourite destinations as ranked by respondents are (1) Italy, (2) France, (3) Bali, (4) Thailand and (5) Hawaii.
  • The international destinations with the highest volume of bookings on Luxury Escapes in 2023 are (1) Thailand, (2) Indonesia, (3) Singapore and (4) Fiji.

Elevated Experiences

  • More than a quarter (28.75%) of respondents plan on taking a bucket list holiday in 2023.
  • For 75 per cent of respondents, leisure and enjoyment rank #1 on reasons for their travel plans in 2023.
  • The most popular tourism trends in 2023 are (1) Food tourism (63.59%), (2) wellness tourism (46.42%) and sustainable travel (29.53%).
  • 68 per cent of respondents are prepared to travel overseas to attend a wedding in 2023.

The most important motivators driving travel plans in 2023 are (1) To experience new things, (2) To relax and unwind, (3) To explore different cultures, (4) To improve health and wellbeing and (5) To meet new people.

Cruising Comeback

  • Number of Luxury Escapes tours and cruise bookings in 2022 = 8,334
  • Number of Luxury Escapes tours and cruise bookings to date in 2023 = 1,100+

Spending Resilience

  • Majority of respondents plan to spend AUD $10,000+ on their international holidays.
  • For the majority of respondents, travel ranks #1 on the discretionary spend list in 2023.
  • 58 per cent of respondents say their travel plans remain the same despite cost of living pressures.
  • 60 per cent of respondents are willing to spend more on experiences while on holiday.
  • 55 per cent of respondents prioritise saving for travel.

For an elevated travel experience, Australians are most willing to spend money on: (1) Flight & Room Upgrades, (2) Fine Dining, (3) Spa Treatments and (4) Airport Lounge Access.

Smart Travel

  • Almost one third of Australians believe the threat of Covid has passed, but more than half will take precautions when travelling in 2023.
  • 70 per cent of Australians will purchase insurance for their travel plans in 2023.
  • 72 per cent of Australians want better facial recognition at airports to speed up the customs process.
  • More than half of Australians use frequent flyer points to book flights (56%).
  • 5+ months – the length of time Luxury Escapes’ members plan their trips in advance.

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