The desire to travel runs deep within the Australian psyche. Australia, known as the ‘land down under’, is an island continent far away from other nations. Yet digital technology has made international destinations more desirable than ever before. Australia is also comprised of culturally diverse and globally connected citizens, many who have rich backgrounds and connections to other countries.
But the desire to travel isn’t just for international destinations. This ‘land of the long weekend’ provides many Australians with opportunities to explore their own backyard. Plus, there is no shortage of local Australian destinations to appreciate. So, who is looking to travel and where will they be heading when travel restrictions are lifted?
Travel is a priority for young Australians
The tourism industry contributes significantly to the economy – a fact highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic when the travel industry came to a standstill. While people of all generations have a desire to travel and see the world, our research has shown it to be high on the priority list for the emerging generations.
According to our latest research, two in three Generation Z (66%) say travel is one of the top hopes for their life. Travel is often considered a ‘rite of passage’ for young people before they enter full-time employment or other life stages. However, with closed borders for the better part of the last two years, we can expect to see many of this digital and globally connected generation book a trip as soon as borders reopen.
Where Aussies will travel when borders reopen
Our research has found that the desire to travel internationally and nationally remains strong among Australians, even while borders are closed. In 2020, 41% of Australians said they were able to save more money than usual. When asked, ‘What do you plan on doing with your savings?’, the most common response was travelling interstate (21%). A further 19% said they want to travel internationally when borders reopen.
The focus on local destinations
While the desire for international and interstate travel is strong, the last two years has also facilitated a focus on local communities and travel destinations. At the beginning of 2020, bushfires ravaged the Australian landscape. In response, national tourism movements encouraged people to travel with an empty sky to places that suffered. These same regional places were then further impacted by lockdowns and travel restrictions due to COVID-19. This turned further attention to regional areas.
In response, Australians are keen to travel regionally and invest in local communities. Not only do 61% of Australians say that shopping from local business is extremely/very important to them, but they are also looking to holiday local as well. Of those who saved more in 2020, 18% said they want to use those savings to travel regionally, rather than interstate or overseas.
With uncertainty around international travel, Australians are looking to make the most of local destinations and their own backyard. While COVID-19 and various lockdowns have proved to be a challenging time for many, the desire to travel is stronger than ever. While it may be on hold for a while longer, it’s set to boom and have a different focus than in the past, when borders finally reopen.