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Overseas travel intentions rise steadily, but not to China

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia) Apr. 2007 – Mar. 2008 to Apr.2017 – Mar. 2018, n = averages 17,943 per year.
Over 2.3 million (11.4%) Australians aged 14+ are intending to travel overseas in the next 12 months, up a significant 4.2ppts from a decade ago.

Because of strong Australian population growth over the past decade the absolute number of 2.3 million intending to travel overseas in the year to March 2018 has nearly doubled from 1.2 million (7.2%) in the year to March 2008. Australia is due to pass 25 million total population during the next month.

A strong driver of the increase is the increasing proportion of Australians now planning to travel to Asia in the next 12 months.

Now over 1 million (5.1%) Australians aged 14+ plan to travel to Asia in the next 12 months, up 2.2ppts from a decade ago – and more than double in real terms. In the year to March 2008 just under 500,000 (2.9%) Australians planned to travel somewhere in Asia in the next 12 months.


Intention to travel overseas and travel to Asia in the next 12 months. March 2008 - March 2018.

Australian Overseas Travel Intentions - March 2008 - March 2018

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia) Apr. 2007 – Mar. 2008 to Apr.2017 – Mar. 2018, n = averages 17,943 per year. 


Indonesia (Bali) and Japan the winners while China is well down on 2008

The most popular Asian destination is now Indonesia. 10.9% of Australians planning an overseas trip in the next 12 months plan to travel to Indonesia, up 3.4ppts on 2008. The bulk of these Aussie holidaymakers (10.3%) plan on travelling to the tourist island of Bali and only 0.9% plan to travel to other parts of Indonesia. There is a small cross-over for Australians intending to travel to both Bali and other parts of Indonesia.

The other big winner over the last decade is Japan. Now 10.5% of Australians planning an overseas trip in the next 12 months plan to go to Japan, more than double the 4.8% of a decade ago. Since 2008 the popularity of Japan as a travel destination for Australians has overtaken China, Singapore and Thailand.

China has seen the most significant decline in popularity over the past decade as an Asian travel destination for Australians although it is worth remembering that the Beijing Olympics were held in China in August 2008.

Now 5.3% of Australians planning an overseas trip in the next 12 months plan to travel to China, down 4.6ppts from 2008. The popularity of both Hong Kong and mainland China has fallen over the past decade although the city state is still marginally more popular than mainland China.

Now 3.9% of Australians planning an overseas trip in the next 12 months plan on travelling to Hong Kong, down 2.1ppts and 2.3% plan on travelling to mainland China, down 2.6ppts.

Apart from China other destinations in Asia to go against the overall trend and decline in popularity include Thailand, down 0.9ppts to 7%, Vietnam, down 0.6ppts to 3.9% and Malaysia, down 1.2ppts to 3.6%.


Popularity of Asian destinations of those planning an overseas trip next 12 months. 2008 v 2018.

Australian Travel Intentions to Asian countries - March 2008 cf. March 2018

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia) Apr. 2007 – Mar. 2008, n= 1,378 and Apr. 2017 – Mar. 2018, n = 1,511. Base: Australians aged 14+ intending to travel overseas in the next 12 months.


Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, says Australians are increasingly considering overseas destinations when planning holidays but not all countries are benefiting from the increased propensity of Australians to travel overseas:

“Over the last decade the figures are undeniable – Australians are looking to travel overseas in greater numbers than ever before – and that’s not just due to a growing population. Australia’s overall population has grown by about 3 million in the last decade.

“In the year to March 2018 over 2.3 million Australians (11.4%) planned to take an overseas trip in the next 12 months up from only 1.2 million Australians aged (7.2%) a decade ago.

“The rise of Asia as a travel destination is borne out by the figures with over 1 million Australians now intending to travel to Asia in the next months compared to under 500,000 a decade ago.

“The two big winners have been Japan and Bali in Indonesia. Now 10.5% of Australians planning an overseas trip in the next 12 months plan to travel to Japan up from only 4.8% a decade ago and 10.3% plan to travel to Bali compared to 6.5% a decade ago. Australians are flocking to these two destinations like never before.

“However, there are some losers as well. The intention to travel to China has plummeted in the last decade since Beijing hosted a successful Summer Olympics in 2008. Now only 5.3% of Australians planning an overseas trip in the next 12 months plan to travel to China, down 4.6ppts from a decade ago. The intention to travel to both Hong Kong and mainland China has fallen significantly since 2008.

“The good news for China, and Beijing in particular, is that the Chinese capital is set to become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics when it hosts the 2022 Winter Olympics in three-and-a-half years’ time. Chinese tourist operators will be hoping to see tourism numbers, from Australia at least, return to their levels of 2008.

“The Holiday Travel Intention Report provides information on overall next holiday or leisure trip intention in the next 12 months as well as whether the next holiday/leisure trip in the next 12 months will be overseas or domestic. Information on next short holiday intention and next long holiday intention is also provided.

“Holiday intention is a lead indicator that can assist domestic and offshore destination marketers understand and plan for the future. This forward vision is in contrast to most tourism statistics that give a ‘rear-view mirror’ on the past.”

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