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Holiday intention down in January as bushfires strike Australia and COVID-19 (coronavirus) emerges in Asia

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, Jan. 2018, n=1,025, Jan. 2019, n=1,011, Jan. 2020, n=999.
Base: Australians aged 14+.

The latest Roy Morgan data contained in Roy Morgan’s quarterly Holiday Intention Report on holiday intentions for January shows significant declines in the number of Australians planning on taking a holiday in the next 12 months as Australia suffered through an extensive bushfire crisis along much of the east coast centred on NSW, Victoria, SA and the ACT.

In January 2020 only 63.8% of Australians (an estimated 13,388,000 people) intended taking a holiday in the next 12 months, down a significant 6.3% points (down 1,091,000) from a year ago.

Both domestic and overseas holiday intenders were down in January. Only 50.6% of Australians intended taking a domestic holiday (10,612,000), down 2.6% points (369,000) from a year ago. 9.6% (2,012,000) intended taking an overseas holiday – a drop of 2.5% points (down 493,000).

These findings have been obtained from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey, derived from in-depth face-to-face interviews with 1,000 Australians each week and around 50,000 each year.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says the drop in holiday intentions in January is being felt throughout the travel and tourism industries with the emergence of the COVID-19 coronavirus dealing a fresh blow to the industry in recent weeks: “It has truly been the ‘summer from hell’ for Australia’s travel and tourism businesses with devastating bushfires striking many tourism-reliant regional areas of Australia during summer and the new threat of COVID-19 coronavirus emerging as the bushfires were put out.

“Australian travel intentions in January have dipped to near two-decade lows with declines in the proportion of Australians intending to take a domestic holiday dipping to just over 50% and falling below 10% for those intending on taking an overseas holiday.

“In-depth analysis of travel intentions by country shows declines for many regions in January compared to a year ago such as the United States, the UK and Europe and many parts of Asia including China, Hong Kong, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan and India.

“However in closer to home regions of Asia travel intentions are up marginally compared to a year ago for Bali and Indonesia, Malaysia as well as the islands of the South Pacific.

“These holiday intention results are from before travel bans were imposed on China in early February, Iran and now South Korea, which have dealt a further blow to businesses in the travel industry such as airlines, hotels, resorts, travel and tour groups. The Roy Morgan February data on travel intentions will be out soon to provide a direct measure of the impact of these bans and COVID-19 more broadly.”

Percentage and number of Australians intending on taking a holiday – January 2020

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, Jan. 2018, n=1,025, Jan. 2019, n=1,011, Jan. 2020, n=999. Base: Australians aged 14+.

View the Holiday Travel Currency Report or the Roy Morgan Leading Indicator Report for Holiday Travel Intention.

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%