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Interest in domestic travel once again renewed

March 7, 2014 Statistics & Trends No Comments Email Email

Latest research findings released today by TNS reveal that domestic travel plays an important role for Australians eager to escape the frenetic nature of everyday life, disconnect from technology and seek out authentic experiences such as festivals, food and wine across the country.

Ed Steiner, Head of Travel and Leisure at TNS Australia said, “With international travel so accessible, domestic travel has been sluggish for years, and we are finally seeing the changing of the tide. There are incredible options in our backyard that can answer Australians growing interest in slowing down, reconnecting with loved ones and discovering authentic experiences with cultural activities, festivals, food and wine.”

TNS’s annual Domesticate study, now in its seventh year, aims to understand the behaviour of travellers both domestically and overseas to provide strategic insights into what motivates and drives different travellers.  Key findings from the report suggest the following about the Australian mindset:

Let’s disconnect to reconnect: Break from modern life

Although digital technologies (mobiles, tablets, etc) are highly regarded, based on qualitative enquiry, most Australians believe it can interfere with other elements of life and create a disconnect between face to face communication and relationships. “Australians expressed a strong desire to unplug from their increasingly digital lives and use holiday time to reconnect with family and friends,” said Steiner. “Reconnection comes in various forms – with friends, with family and with oneself. As part of this, there’s a strong desire to get back to basics and holiday more simply as we did in the past. This is true particularly among families who want to share the experiences of their childhood with their own children.”

When is that festival again?

Australians have indicated they often need a reason a travel. Nearly a third (32%) report that while they are motivated to travel for upcoming events and festivals, they often are not made aware of them in time to plan a holiday. TNS found that:

  • more than 1 in 2 are motivated to travel for theatrical productions
  • more than 1 in 2 are motivated by music events
  • 3 in 5 are motivated to travel for food and wine events
  • 3 in 5 are motivated to travel to watch sporting events

Steiner commented: “Interest is high, but awareness is the number one barrier to attendance. This is a missed opportunity for festival and event promoters. Promoting these events early would enable more Australians to build these into their holiday calendar.”

Minimal planning, minimal hassle… packages please!

Through qualitative enquiry TNS found that Australians are overwhelmed with too much information and choice particularly when planning the details of a getaway. There is a growing appetite for Australians to want packaged deals, and not only because of price considerations. As Steiner points out: “Travellers are looking for deals to remove the hassle of planning, help filter options and generally make travel easy. Too many options make decisions difficult and increase the risk of making the wrong decision.”

Love food & wine! But do we need to travel to get it?

Travellers are motivated by authentic experiences and see Australia as better than overseas destinations when it comes to food and wine. The top experiences Australians seek are ‘casual experiences in a uniquely Australian location’ and ‘dining in a uniquely special location.’ Still, food and wine are not likely to encourage travel alone. Most believe food and wine need to be part of a broader experience that may include theatre, music, dance and kids activities. Interestingly there is strong interest in educational holidays and following cultural and food trails, though many Australians have little knowledge of where they can have these experiences.

Regarding this year’s study, Steiner concluded: “Reconnection is at the heart of domestic travel holidays, and not surprisingly Australians value time with those that are most important and crave more authentic experiences. There are so many uniquely Australian experiences particularly having to do with food and wine and attending events and festivals that we overlook. Differentiating these domestic travel opportunities will undoubtedly be a priority for the travel and tourism sector moving forward.”

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