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Melbourne is holiday star but Hobart growing fast

December 14, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Over 14.8 million Australians aged over 14 reported in the year to September 2017 that they’d like to spend a holiday within Australia in the next two years – and Melbourne is the favoured city, with Hobart rising and Perth on the outer.

Perth’s fortunes may get a boost in the form of stopovers when Qantas starts operating non-stop flights to London from there in March. That might help raise the Western Australian capital’s profile as a holiday destination.

The “domestic holiday wish” figure is virtually unchanged from a year ago when 14.9 million Australians indicated a desire to take an Australian holiday – but is down slightly from a peak of over 15.2 million in September 2015, latest findings from the Roy Morgan Holiday Tracking Survey reveal.

Capital cities Aussies would like to visit on holiday- 2015 vs 2017

Over the past two years Melbourne has retained top spot as the capital city Australians would most like to visit; a position the southern capital has now held for well over a decade. In 2017, over 4.25 million Australians indicated they would like to visit Melbourne, down slightly from the 4.5 million Australians who nominated Melbourne in 2015.

Sydney finds itself again in second position, with just under 2.4 million would-be visitors in 2017 – down slightly from 2.5 million in 2015.

It is Australia’s smaller capital cities, however, that have experienced the most dramatic growth over the past two years.

Hobart has experienced the fastest growth of any capital city and is now in third place for domestic holiday-goers, with 1.75 million prospective visitors. That’s up an impressive 8.7% from 1.6 million in 2015, placing the Tassie capital ahead of Brisbane. which is virtually unchanged over the last two years on 1.7 million.

Adelaide has experienced the fastest growth of any mainland capital city over the past two years: up to 1.3 million from under 1.25 million two years ago – growth of 6.7% since 2015.

Australia’s two largest capital cities, Sydney and Melbourne, have seen their popularity as potential holiday destinations rise over the past two years only among the youngest Generation. Generation Z, those born between 1991-2005, are now coming of age – or some of them, anyway. About half of Generation Z are now aged 18+ and their holiday preferences have increased for all capital cities except Hobart since 2015.

Capital city preference by Generations 2015 vs 2017

Over 5 million Australians are classified as Generation Y (born between 1976-1990), comprising Australia’s largest Generation and now largely aged in their 30s. Generation Y travellers still desire Melbourne and Sydney to other capital cities, however the growth has come for other cities led by Hobart, Brisbane and Canberra.

Analysing the generational holiday preferences by city shows that Hobart is the only city to grow preferences amongst all of the key spending Generations over the past two years. Generation Y, Generation X and Baby Boomers are all more likely to visit Tasmania’s capital than two years ago while Canberra and Adelaide have both seen increases from the three youngest Generations (X, Y & Z).

Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine says Melbourne has been Australia’s desired travel destination for over a decade ahead of Sydney but in recent years Hobart has increased its allure substantially and has now overtaken Brisbane in third place.

“Melbourne has again confirmed its reputation as Australia’s most sought-after capital city travel destination for domestic travellers with over 4.25 million Australians expressing a desire to visit Australia’s (and the World’s according to the Economist Intelligence Unit) most liveable city in the next two years.

“Although this was down slightly on two years ago, it was enough for Melbourne to be almost 1.9 million potential visitors ahead of Sydney in second place. However the big improvers in recent years have been Australia’s second tier cities of Hobart, Canberra and Adelaide which have all grown strongly on the Roy Morgan Holiday Tracking Survey since 2015.

“Hobart, well known as the home of MONA which opened in 2011, has experienced the strongest growth in the minds of Australian holiday-makers since 2015 and has now overtaken Brisbane as Australia’s third most desired holiday destination with 1.74 million Australians expressing a desire for Hobart – up a strong 8.7% in only the last two years.

“The increasing allure of Hobart is demonstrated by the fact Hobart was the only capital city to experience growth in all three key Generations in the past two years – Generation Y, Generation X and the Baby Boomers and overtaking Brisbane is remarkable when one considers the respective populations of the two cities – Hobart (225,000) is less than a tenth the size of Brisbane (2.36 million).

“Adelaide and Canberra have also experienced solid growth in recent years with savvy marketing campaigns no doubt hitting the right notes in targeting the key demographics essential to growing a city’s tourist appeal.

“In contrast to the cities already mentioned, the continued decline of Perth as a desired holiday destination in recent years has continued although that decline has slowed. Only a few years ago Perth was regarded as Australia’s third-most desired capital city destination however as we end 2017 Perth finds itself down in sixth position with Adelaide closing fast.

“The changed fortunes of Perth as a holiday destination post mining-boom illustrate the importance for the local tourism authorities having a keen understanding of the how a destination is faring in the minds of potential visitors.”

Edited by Peter Needham

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