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Holidays shrink but pricier trips and growth sustain market

July 17, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Fewer Australians are taking holidays these days and their holidays are shorter – but they are taking more expensive overseas trips than a couple of decades ago and, because the overall number of Australians has grown, the market is holding up.

That, in essence, in the finding of the latest survey by market research pollster Roy Morgan, which has found that Australia’s strong population growth over the past two decades is the single biggest factor driving the growth in travel.

Australia’s population is growing naturally, and the growth is fuelled by high immigration.

Proportionally fewer Australians are taking a holiday today than was the case two decades ago, Roy Morgan found.

In 2000/01, some 10.7 million Australians each year had at least one holiday, including 10.3 million who took a domestic holiday and 2 million who travelled overseas on holiday. Some Australians took both domestic and overseas holidays – lucky them!

Today, about 13.7 million Australians take at least one annual holiday, including 12.6 million taking a domestic holiday and 5.5 million travelling overseas. This represents an increase of 3 million Australians (+28%) travelling on holiday compared to 2000/01. This increase in travellers is driven entirely by population growth.

The propensity of Australians to travel has fallen since 2000/01 – the proportion of Australians taking trips has dropped from 69.3% in 2000/01 to 66.8% today, down 2.5%. Australians are taking shorter holidays and fewer holidays each.

The chart below shows the Australian population aged 14+ has grown by 5.1 million over the past two decades, representing an increase of 32.8% and outpacing the growth in holidaymakers.

 

Australians taking a domestic and overseas holidays in the last 12 months – % and million

 

Closer analysis also shows that while Australians taking domestic holidays has increased by only 2.3 million (+22.8%) since 2000/01 far more Australians are taking more expensive overseas holidays now than two decades ago, up by 3.5 million, and more than doubling – up by 169.3% since 2000/01.

Commenting on the findings, Roy Morgan chief executive, Michele Levine, said Australia’s strong population growth over the past two decades was “the single biggest factor” driving the growth in travel.

“Australia’s population during the last two decades has grown from 15.5 million Australians aged 14+ in 2000 to 20.6 million today, an increase of 5.1 million (+32.8%),” she said.

“This rate of population growth exceeds the relative growth in Australians taking holidays, whether domestic or overseas, which has increased by 3 million to 13.7 million, up by 28%.

“Comparing the growth in Australians taking domestic holidays with those taking overseas holidays highlights the changing travel patterns of Australians. Proportionally fewer Australians are taking holidays, now 61.2% of Australians have taken a domestic holiday in the last year compared to 66.3% two decades ago – a fall of 5.1%.

“However overseas holidays are booming and over a quarter of Australians (26.5%) have taken an overseas holiday in the last year, up from only 13.1% in 2000/01 – more than doubling.

“Although overseas holidays are increasing in popularity in 2019 the average length of an overseas holiday has dropped to just over three weeks, or 21.6 days. This is a significant decline from the average length of overseas holidays taken by Australians in the early 2000s which clocked in at just over a month long, or 31.9 days.

“Australians are also taking fewer trips today, whether domestic or international, than they used to. The average traveller in 2019 took 4.1 trips in the last year compared to 4.6 trips back in 2000/01.

Edited by Peter Needham

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