International flight bookings are finally on the rise. Here’s what the latest data tells us about where Australians travel to

The answer to “Where can I travel to?” is no longer just “my living room” – as has been the case for many over the past two years.

As more borders reopen and travel restrictions ease, Australians are wasting no time planning a holiday getaway.

The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) provides a snapshot of Australia’s international travel landscape to date.

But have you returned to pre-pandemic travel levels?

That’s when travel started to take off

The airline and travel industry suffered badly throughout 2020, the start of the pandemic – as evidenced by the dramatic drop in ABS data.

However, this latest data showed something Australians have been longing for: outbound travel is on the rise.

How many travel abroad?

September saw 1,040,550 overseas departures from Australiawhat was an increase of 98,340 trips compared to Aug.

Where are Australians going?

Data from Webjet, provided to ABC News, revealed the top 10 international travel destinations between October 1st and November 13th:

  1. 1.AucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.BalineseIndonesia
  3. 3.QueenstownNew Zealand
  4. 4.ChristchurchNew Zealand
  5. 5.Fiji
  6. 6.LondonUnited Kingdom
  7. 7.Singapore
  8. 8th.wellingtonNew Zealand
  9. 9.BangkokThailand
  10. 10los AngelesUnited States
As in September, New Zealand ranks first among the most visited travel destinations. (Included in delivery: Unsplash)

What are Australians looking for?

According to Webjet, international departures from December 19 to January 8 were searched for last month:

  • Balinese
  • Auckland
  • Tokyo
  • London
  • Singapore
  • Fiji
  • Bangkok

Where do we book accommodation?

Data provided by Expedia shows the top destinations where people book accommodation:

  1. 1.Saint TropezFrance – Housing rates up by more than 90 percent
  2. 2.NaplesItaly – Housing rates up more than 30 percent
  3. 3.otagoNew Zealand – Interest in housing up nearly 30 percent
  4. 4.Chiang MaiThailand – Housing rates up more than 10 percent
  5. 5.Bay of AbundanceNew Zealand – Housing rates up more than 5 percent

*Based on interest in accommodation on Expedia.com.au in 2022 compared to 2019

“Some of these aren’t typical travel destinations, which tells us they’re first-time travel destinations for a lot of people,” Expedia senior director Daniel Finch told ABC News.

“Our data shows that people are looking for new travel destinations instead of returning to their tried and true ones.”

A photo of the blue ocean with green mountains surrounding it
According to Daniel Finch, it was “unexpected” that Saint Tropez took the top spot for interest in accommodation.(Included in delivery: Unsplash)

What is our airline capacity?

We’re not back to 2019 levels, but we’re close.

Mr Finch says the air capacity is for international flights currently at 77 percent.

“We’re still not operating at full air capacity like we did in 2019,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean we’re not close.”

“With Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan all announcing easing of travel restrictions in recent weeks, this is great news for Australian travellers,” Mr Finch said.

“Capacity, frequency and competition will continue to increase, resulting in more choice and prices for travelers.”

Mr Finch said knowing when to book and when to fly can make all the difference, not only to saving money on airfares but also to minimizing disruption at the airport.

“Our data tells us that people plan well in advance,” he said.

“We’re already seeing a strong recovery coming into Easter next year, which isn’t typical of our travel patterns. We usually see this a bit closer to the time.”

Most visitors came from New Zealand

The ABS revealed that there were three leading countries where short-term visitors came from:

  • New Zealand – 82,810 rides
  • United Kingdom – 33,500 rides
  • Singapore – 29,690 rides

The United States and India were not far behind Singapore.

A table listing 10 countries with short term arrivals in Australia
New Zealand remains the main country of origin for short-term visitors to Australia.(Supplied: Australian Bureau of Statistics)

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