The answer to “where can I travel to?” is no longer merely “my living room” — like it was for many over the past two years.
With more borders reopening and travel restrictions easing, Australians aren’t wasting any time planning a holiday getaway.
The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) provides a snapshot of Australia’s international travel landscape so far.
But have bounced back to pre-pandemic travel levels?
Here’s the moment travel started to rise
The airline and travel industry suffered gravely throughout 2020, the beginning of the pandemic — as per the dramatic drop in the ABS’s data.
However, this recent data revealed something Australians have been yearning to see: overseas travel on the incline.
How many are travelling overseas?
September saw 1,040,550 overseas departures from Australia, which was an increase of 98,340 trips when compared to August.
Where are Australians travelling to?
Data from Webjet provided to ABC News revealed the top 10 international destinations between October 1 and November 13:
- 1.Auckland, New Zealand
- 2.Bali, Indonesia
- 3.Queenstown, New Zealand
- 4.Christchurch, New Zealand
- 6.London, United Kingdom
- 8.Wellington, New Zealand
- 9.Bangkok, Thailand
- 10.Los Angeles, United States
What are Australians searching for?
According to Webjet, searches made in the past month for international departures December 19 until January 8 were:
Where are we booking accommodation?
Data provided by Expedia reveals the top destinations where people are booking accommodation:
- 1.Saint-Tropez, France – accommodation interest up by over 90 per cent
- 2.Naples, Italy – accommodation interest up by over 30 per cent
- 3.Otago, New Zealand – accommodation interest up by close to 30 per cent
- 4.Chiang Mai, Thailand – accommodation interest up by over 10 per cent
- 5.Bay of Plenty, New Zealand – accommodation interest up by over 5 per cent
*Based on accommodation interest on Expedia.com.au in 2022, compared to 2019
“Some of these aren’t your typical destinations, which tells us they are first-time destinations for many people,” Expedia’s senior director, Daniel Finch, told ABC News.
“Our data shows that people are looking for new destinations, rather than going back to their tried-and-tested ones.”
What’s our airline capacity?
We’re not back to 2019 levels, but we’re close.
Mr Finch says air capacity for international flights is currently at 77 per cent.
“We’re still not operating at full air capacity as we were in 2019,” he said.
“That doesn’t mean we’re not close.”
“With Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan all announcing a relaxation of travel restrictions within the last few weeks, it’s great news for Australian travellers,” Mr Finch said.
“Capacity, frequency, and competition is only set to increase, resulting in more choice and price for travellers.”
Mr Finch said knowing when to book and when to fly can make all the difference, not only in saving money on airfares, but also minimising disruptions at the airport.
“Our data shows us that people are planning well in advance,” he said.
“We’re already seeing strong pick-up for Easter next year, which isn’t typical for our travel patterns. We usually see this a bit closer to the time.”
Most visitors came from New Zealand
The ABS revealed there were three leading countries where short-term visitors came from:
- New Zealand – 82,810 trips
- United Kingdom – 33,500 trips
- Singapore – 29,690 trips
The United States and India weren’t far behind Singapore.