More than eight in every 10 Australians aged over 18 have been overseas; almost three quarters have visited another country within the past two years; and a weaker Australian dollar and resurgence in domestic travel are not changing their overseas travel plans and aspirations.
These findings, released today, arise from a new survey that shines a light on Australian travel behaviour and intentions. The Expedia.com.au brand’s annual ‘State of the Nation’ report focuses on what Australians seek when planning their next holidays. Prerequisites go far beyond good shopping opportunities and having a pool or beach close by.
On the travel history of Australians, findings included:
- More than eight in 10 (84%) Australians over the age of 18 have travelled overseas.
- Almost three quarters (71%) have explored a different country in the past two years.
- The average Australian international traveller has visited eight countries.
- Almost one in 10 Australian international travellers (8%) have visited more than 20 countries.
A weaker Australian dollar and resurgence in domestic travel are not deterring Australians from travelling overseas or aspiring to travel overseas. Almost three quarters (73%) of Aussies who have ever been overseas intend to travel again in the next 12 months. Of the travellers who have not travelled overseas in the past two years, 44% are planning a trip in the next two years.
This trend is reflected in Expedia data, which shows demand for both domestic and international is growing year-on-year.
It turns out that “bucket lists” are very important. Whether written on a piece of paper, saved in their phone or etched firmly in their imagination, almost every Australian (97%) says they have a “Travel Bucket List”, meaning a list of destinations they want to visit in the next five years. The great majority, 92%, have crossed at least one travel experience off their bucket list, up on the 2014 result of 87%.
Other findings include:
Nine in 10 Aussies (93%) see a unique cultural experience as a prime travel goal. These are particularly important for younger travellers aged between 18-24 (98%). Next in order of importance is being able to disconnect from everyday life (92%), with 94% of capital-city dwellers citing that as important versus 89% of Aussies based in regional areas. This was followed closely by seeking pristine natural environments (91%).
“Travel is a key part of the Australian way of life and it’s not surprising Australians are inspired to keep a bucket list when they’re surrounded by inspiring travel stories on social media, TV and in magazines,” said Georg Ruebensal, managing director Expedia Australia and New Zealand.
“Aussies love getting out there and exploring this amazing world we live in and this is evident as international and domestic travel increases. What’s exciting is that Australians are thinking beyond traditionally popular destinations and are seeking unique travel experiences.”
The most popular international destinations featuring on Australians’ bucket lists are predominantly perennial long-haul favourites across North America and Europe. New Zealand, with its pristine natural beauty, also ranked highly.
Top international Bucket List destinations:
4 New Zealand
9 Hong Kong
When it comes to domestic destinations, capital cities dominate. However, Australians also want to experience the iconic destinations such as the Great Barrier Reef and Central Australia. Tasmania is also gaining in popularity.
Top domestic Bucket List destinations:
4 Gold Coast
6 Great Barrier Reef
8 Central Australia (Uluru and Alice Springs)
8 Cradle Mountain
10 Great Ocean Road
Bucket lists are not just for destinations. More than eight in 10 (86%) Australian travellers also have a number of special experiences on their bucket list. Nearly a third of Aussies would like to visit one or more of the Seven Wonders of the World (30%); followed closely by seeing the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis (29%); holidaying like a VIP in luxury (28%); visiting the Arctic or Antarctic (26%); and taking a luxury cruise (26%).
Top activities many Australians have already crossed off their bucket lists include visiting a major theme park (51%) such as Disneyland, Alton Towers or Wet ‘n’ Wild, seeing snow at Christmas (32%) and attending a major sporting event (24%).
Visiting a site of historical significance, such as Gallipoli, is another key experience at the top of Australians’ bucket lists. Two in five (39%) of Australians say they have ticked this experience off their bucket list, up 5% on the 2014 results, perhaps as a result of the ANZAC Centenary in April this year.
The rise of visual social media platforms like Instagram, as well as the enhanced photo capabilities of smartphones, has led to 85% of respondents citing the opportunity for great photo opportunities as a key driver when choosing a destination. Reinforcing this, over half (56%) nominated digital cameras as a travel essential, compared to other travelling amenities such as WiFi (47% felt it was essential), travel apps (25%) and tablets (23%).
Despite the initial hype, Australians are yet to embrace selfie-sticks. If these tools, sometimes jocularly termed narcissisticks, are catching on, it’s very slowly. Only 7% of Aussies deem selfie-sticks a travel essential.
The findings come from a study conducted online among 5450 Australians aged 18 and older from 17 September to 6 October 2015. To comment on destinations or visual memories, respondents needed either to have travelled at least once, or at least once internationally in the past two years; or intend to travel internationally in the next 12 months (2784 travellers). Surveys were distributed throughout Australia including both capital city and non-capital city areas.
Edited by Peter Needham