How the typical Aussie holiday has changed over the years


passportIt’s no secret that Australians are among the most well-travelled people in the world.

More than half the Australian population now owns a passport As a nation, we took more than 10 million trips overseas between 2016 and 2017.

But it’s a stark contrast to four decades ago, when UTS tourism lecturer David Beirman began his career in the tourism industry.

“In those days, about two million Australians were travelling internationally, and it was also quite an expensive thing to do,” Dr Beirman recalls.

Dr Beirman says the cost of most airfares — both domestic and international — are now lower in real terms than they were in 1977.

“That’s probably one of the reasons why we’ve seen this explosion in Australians travelling internationally,” he says.

Domestic vs international travel

Are Australians transitioning away from the iconic coastal getaway, and opting for an adventure abroad instead?

According to Dr Bierman, in the 1950s and 1960s, a lot of Australian families went on beach holidays along the coast.

“We still see this a lot among family travellers today,” he says.

“But because the cost of having a beach holiday in Bali, Fiji, Thailand, Malaysia or the Philippines is cheaper than having one 200 kilometres up the road from a capital city in Australia, many people are actually taking that option of having their holidays overseas.”

Dr Bierman’s sentiments are reflected in recent statistics from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s.

According to the report, in 2016 the most popular holiday destinations for Australians were New Zealand, Indonesia (including Bali), and the United States.

The report also showed that over the past five years, the number of Australians taking overseas trips has grown by about 5 per cent each year.

“By world standards we are among the greatest of world travellers,” Dr Bierman says.

Although more than 56 per cent of Australians now own a passport, David Beirman believes Australians are going on shorter holidays today than in the past.

“That’s reflected by the product being offered by a lot of tour operators and travel agents and the online community,” he says.

Rather than taking several weeks leave at once, he says, people are taking four to five days instead.

“In many cases, it’s because there’s sometimes concerns about job security, and it’s interesting because we’re supposed to be living in an age where there’s more leisure time than ever.

But, in fact … most Australians are working harder than they ever have,” he says.

And while English-speaking countries and close neighbours like Bali remain highly popular destinations for Australians travelling internationally.

Dr Beirman believes holiday destinations like South America, Africa, China, Russia and Iran will grow in popularity in the next decade.