7 key trends in Australian travel over the next decade

Travel 2020: Forecasting the new decade of travel was one of the largest travel industry consumer reports conducted with a sample of almost 20,000 Australian travellers giving insight into the direction of domestic and international travel.  Initiatied by Luxury Escapes, research firm, Nature, undertook the mammoth task of surveying its member base of 3.2 million.

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“We know that Australians love to travel, and this research confirms it, showing Australians are planning to travel even more in the coming decade, with frequent domestic travel and an annual trip overseas, increasingly to celebrate life’s milestones, to relax and recharge, or to blend work with a holiday – all themes that we saw from this research and that marry up with what we’re experiencing” Luxury Escapes CEO Cameron Holland says.  “We’re seeing more and more the importance of providing relevant experiences through personalisation whilst also inspiring travellers to visit destinations they never previously considered thanks to our sophisticated algorithms.”

The report found that Aussies love to travel, with one in two respondents
spending at least $2,000 a year on domestic travel and three in ten spending more than $10,000 a year on international travel.


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(Canada’s Wonderland Amusement Park) Jay Thaker / Getty Images

7 Key Trends:

  1. International destinations to visit in 2020: Canada (21%), USA (19%), Italy (17%), England (15%) and Greece (14%)

  2. The connected trip: 1 in 4 travellers want to be connected 24/7 on holidays, 14% go off the grid

  3. Transformational travel: Top interests to travel are food (59%), local culture (55%), history (52%) and walking (32%)

  4. No bad time to book a holiday: Five nights most popular length of trip, 28% spend more than $10k on international travel

  5. Conscious travel: 1 in 4 Australians would travel for a wellness retreat, 13% would try ‘voluntourism’

  6. Travel innovations: Smart hotel rooms (36%), facial recognition at airport (29%), robot companions (9%) and 1 in 5 want to try space travel

  7. Hyperspeed travel and space tourism: Innovations set to turn science fiction into travel reality – Virgin galactic, Uber Air Taxis

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How Australians plan to travel in 2020:

  • 4 in 10 Australian travellers expect to take at least 2 short trips within Australia next year
  • 6 in 10 Australian travellers expect to take at least 1 long trip within Australia next year
  • 2 in 10 Australian travellers expect to take an overseas trip (of at least 1 week) within the next 12 months
  • 1 in 4 Australian travellers prefer to be connected throughout their holiday, rather than go off-grid
  • 7 in 10 Australian travellers completely leave work behind when they’re on holiday

“Tech can remove friction as we travel, providing a more seamless travel experience. Apps like TripIt, Rome2Rio and GoldenCircle remove stress from the physical travel experience, but we will also see innovations in virtual reality. Mindfulness apps potentially reduce our desire for physical relocation to instead journeying inside, while augmented reality will serve up even richer, digilogue experiences as we encounter physical reality armed with digital lenses.”
– Anders Sorman-Nilsson, Futurist

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What Australians spend on travel:

  • 1 in 2 Australian travellers spend at least $2,000 per year on Australian trips
    • $10k or more – 28%

    • $6-$10k – 8%

    • $4-$6k – 25%

    • $3-$4k – 5%

    • $2-$3k – 3%

  • 3 in 10 overseas travellers typically spend more than $10k per year on their trips

(Qantas Airbus 380 – First class cabin and onboard lounge) / Qantas Airways

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Holiday themes Australians are most interested in:

  1. Food – 59%

  2. Local culture – 55%

  3. History – 52%

  4. Walking / trekking – 32%

  5. Winery / distillery / brewery – 31%

  6. Fashion / shopping – 29%

  7. Theme parks – 27%

  8. Architecture – 25%

  9. Driving – 24%

  10. Music / festivals – 22%

“There is a heightened craving for authenticity and a strong desire to peel back and reveal the layers of local culture that may have been shrouded by generic tourism. There is a fundamental need to reconnect with one’s self, the community, and the world at large and to create experiences that are real, fulfilling and enriching. The shift from developed destinations, manufactured experiences, lavishness and opulence has moved to authentic, local, regional and crafted. True luxury travel has changed from extravagant to experiential.”
– Anna Guillan AM, Australia Consultant at Kerzner International

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Holiday events Australians would travel for:

  1. Birthday – 50%

  2. Anniversary – 42%

  3. Wedding – 39%

  4. Reunion – 33%

  5. Life / retirement – 32%

  6. Mystery travel – 25%

  7. Wellness retreat – 24%

  8. Concerts / festivals – 24%

  9. Engagement – 18%

  10. Birth of a child – 16%

“We’re going to see a continued rise of immersive travel – getting under the skin of a destination. rather than just ticking it off your bucket list. Travellers are seeking more local connection – they want to live like a local and have those insider experiences through customised tours and private itineraries.”
– Sonia Pilovska, Head of Tours, Luxury Escapes

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How Australians indulge when on holidays:

  1. Fancy restaurants – 43%

  2. Room upgrade – 32%

  3. Massages – 32%

  4. Special shopping purchases – 29%

  5. High end dining experiences – 27%

  6. Private tours – 25%

  7. Spa days or treatments – 23%

  8. Flight upgrade – 22%

  9. Bucket list experiences – 21%

  10. Airport lounge access – 19%

“Luxury isn’t all about starched tablecloths or marble bathrooms, rather it’s about the shared experience. This can come at any rate or price, but at the premium end of the market the experience is offered from a luxury ‘base camp’, with all the comforts of a luxury stay but with connections to community and the natural environment and opportunities for guests to learn and positively contribute.”
James Bailie, founder Bailie Lodges

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Travel inventions Australians are most interested in:

  1. Smart hotel rooms – 36%

  2. Facial recognition tech to expedite customs / airport – 29%

  3. Smart luggage – 24%

  4. Green airlines – 23%

  5. Jet lag pill / cure – 22%

  6. Hyperloop and fast speed travel – 22%

  7. Space travel – 18%

  8. Jetpack travel – 14%

  9. Uber Chopper / drone taxis – 14%

  10. Virtual reality – 14%

“As long-haul plane flights get even longer, airlines are studying how to reduce the impact of jet lag. Lighting systems can be used to help passengers adjust to their destination time zone, as can meals and meal timing. Airlines that incorporate the latest research for adjusting to jet lag and reducing travel fatigue on ultra long-haul flights will have a competitive advantage.”
– Dr David Cunnington, sleep physician and co-director of the Melbourne Sleep Disorders Centre

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“Everything will be hyper-local and energy-conscious, we will have lower tolerance for high- carbon impact extravagances. Things like vegan food itineraries, non-religious meditation and mindfulness retreats and artisan fashion will all become travel inclusions in the coming decade.”

Simon Westcott, CEO Luxe City Guides


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