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More than 2 million thwarted overseas holiday-makers ready to be wooed by domestic tourism

Base: Australians aged 14+.

With Australians unable to holiday overseas for the foreseeable future there is a huge opportunity for local travel and tourism operators to win ‘bonus’ business from nearly 2.2 million people. That’s how many who, as recently as March, were planning to head off on an international jaunt in the next 12 months.

The data comes from the latest Roy Morgan Leading Indicator Report: Holiday Travel Intention, which also captures the difference in length of domestic and overseas holidays planned pre-pandemic, revealing millions of nights which were to be spent elsewhere and are now potentially convertible into travel within Australia.

Roy Morgan CEO, Michele Levine, says:

“For obvious reasons, overseas holidays from Australia tend to be significantly longer than trips within the country. Our findings show that as of March, almost 2.2 million Australians (10.5% of the adult population) were intending to holiday overseas in the following 12 months. That’s a lot of people but it pales next to the 10.5 million (just over 50% of the population) who were planning a domestic holiday. However, on average domestic holidaymakers intend to spend less than four nights away, whereas those planning overseas trips were intending to be away for almost 20 nights — more than five times as long.

“COVID-19 hasn’t only closed our borders to non-essential travel, it has also brought widespread economic hardship and many people have been forced to change their holiday plans as a result. But there is still a major opportunity here for Australian travel and tourism operators, who have been hit particularly hard by pandemic-related restrictions.

“Looking at the number of Australians who intended to travel overseas and at their planned holiday duration, we can see that in total 43 million nights were to have been spent overseas before COVID-19 changed everything. If even half of those nights are converted into local travel, it will be a huge boon to the domestic industry. Canny operators will present these thwarted travellers with options for trips that are longer than the usual close-to-home weekend getaways in order to more closely match the plans they have had to abandon.”

Intended length of next holiday (nights away) – 12 month comparison

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source: April 2018-March 2019, n=13,369, April 2019-March 2020, n= 11,945. Base: Australians 14+.

This chart shows the average intended number of nights away for all Next Holidays and Domestic and Overseas for those aged 14 and over who intend to take a holiday in the next 12 months. It compares Next Holiday intention for the latest 12 months (blue) against the previous 12 months (grey). Respondents were asked: "How many nights, in total, will you be away on your next holiday or non-business trip?"

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%