August 01, 2023

Melbourne regains top spot as preferred holiday destination from the Gold Coast after pandemic plunge

Topic: Press Release
Finding No: 9293
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The latest research from Roy Morgan shows 14.6 million Australians aged 14+ (68.0%) would like to spend at least one night in the next two years at a domestic holiday destination.

Melbourne has regained top spot as the preferred holiday destination with 2,797,000 Australians aged 14+ expressing a preference to stay at least one night in the Victorian capital on a trip in the next two years after the city dipped significantly in popularity during the pandemic years of 2020-22.

The city was clearly the preferred holiday destination for Australians in the pre-pandemic period, and with the removal of the final mandatory isolation policies early in the December quarter 2022, the city has moved back into top spot.

Almost 2.3 million of those mentioning a trip to Melbourne are coming from interstate locations – a higher number of interstate visitors than any other destination – while a further 500,000 Victorians also said they would like to spend at least a night in their capital city in the next two years.

Gold Coast, which soared to first place in popularity during the pandemic as the southern cities of Sydney and Melbourne experienced prolonged lockdowns, has (just) hung onto second place with 2,728,000 Australians mentioning travelling to the city in the next two years. Right behind in third is Sydney with 2,727,000 Australians now expressing a preference to travel to the harbour city in the next two years.

Queensland capital city Brisbane is the fourth most popular domestic holiday destination with 1,991,000 Australians mentioning they would like to spend at least one night in Brisbane on a trip in the next two years just in front of Tasmanian capital city Hobart on 1,943,000. There has also been a rapid increase for those Australians mentioning travelling to Perth in the next two years since mid-2021, up 150,000 to 1,357,000.

Major city destinations Australians would like to stay at least one night on trip in next two years

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, April 2018 – March 2023, average interviews per 12-month period; n=37,691. Base: Australians 14+.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, says:

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“Over 14.5 million Australians mentioned they would like to stay at least one night in a domestic holiday destination on a trip in the next two years. For the first time since the pandemic began over three years ago in early 2020, Melbourne has overtaken the Gold Coast to once again be the favoured destination for Australians holidaymakers.

“Melbourne was selected by almost 2.8 million Australians as a holiday destination, up by a massive 690,000 compared to the December 2021. Melbourne is now just ahead of the Gold Coast mentioned by 2,728,000 and Sydney on 2,727,000.

“Just under 2 million Australians mentioned Brisbane, 1,991,000 or Hobart, 1,943,000.”

“Although Melbourne has returned to top spot, the preference of travelling to the Victorian capital is still below pre-pandemic levels when there were more than 4 million Australians who mentioned they would like to travel to the southern capital in the next two years for a holiday.

“The preference for visiting Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart has defied the trends elsewhere and strengthened during the pandemic period. There has been an increase of more than 250,000 Australians expressing a preference for visiting all three cities compared to three years ago with the biggest increase for Sydney – up by 475,000 compared to pre-pandemic.

“Another bright spot is the performance of Perth, with a rapid increase in the number of Australians mentioning they would like to travel to the West Australian capital in the next two years since mid-2021, up by 150,000 to almost 1.36 million.

“To get the most value out of the data Roy Morgan collects on Australian travel preferences and even more importantly, their intentions to travel, it’s important to drill down into what really drives Australians to make the decisions they do.

“The Roy Morgan product allows travel agents as well as holiday destination businesses such as hotels and resorts to understand where their customers are based and which markets to target precious marketing dollars at to drive the greatest return on investment.”

For comments or more information about Roy Morgan travel data, please contact:

Roy Morgan Enquiries

Office:             +61 (3) 9224 5309

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
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2
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