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

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

With more borders reopening and travel restrictions easing, Australians are not wasting time planning a holiday.

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?

This is when travel started to take off

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

However, this recent data revealed something Australians have been longing for: traveling abroad on the ramp.

How many travel abroad?

September saw 1,040,550 overseas departures from Australiawhich was an increase of 98,340 journeys compared to August.

Where do Australians travel?

Webjet data provided to ABC News revealed the top 10 international destinations between October 1 and November 13:

  1. 1.AucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.BaliIndonesia
  3. 3.QueenstownNew Zealand
  4. 4.ChristchurchNew Zealand
  5. 5.Fiji
  6. 6.LondonUnited Kingdom
  7. 7.Singapore
  8. 8.WellingtonNew Zealand
  9. 9.BangkokThailand
  10. 10.Los AngelesUnited States
Landscape photo of Lake Tekapo in New Zealand
New Zealand ranks first for most traveled destinations, as it did in September. (Supplied: Unsplash)

What are Australians looking for?

According to Webjet, the searches conducted in the past month for international departures from December 19 to January 8 were:

  • Bali
  • Auckland
  • Tokyo
  • London
  • Singapore
  • Fiji
  • Bangkok

Where do we book accommodation?

Expedia data reveals the top destinations where people book accommodation:

  1. 1.St. TropezFrance – housing interest rates up more than 90 percent
  2. 2.NaplesItaly – accommodation rates up more than 30 percent
  3. 3.OtagoNew Zealand – accommodation rates almost 30 percent higher
  4. 4.Chiang MaiThailand – accommodation interest rate increased by more than 10 percent
  5. 5.Bay of PlentyNew Zealand – housing interest rates rise by more than 5 percent

*Based on accommodation interest on Expedia.co.uk in 2022, compared to 2019

“Some of these aren’t your typical destinations, which tells us it’s their first time traveling for a lot of people,” Daniel Finch, Senior Director of Expedia, told ABC News.

“Our data shows that people are looking for new destinations, rather than going back to their tried-and-true destinations.”

A photo of a blue ocean with green mountains surrounding it
Daniel Finch says it was ‘unexpected’ that Saint Tropez came first for accommodation interest.(Supplied: Unsplash)

What is the capacity of our airline?

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

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

“We are still not operating at full capacity like 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, that’s great news for Australian travelers,” Finch said.

“Capacity, frequency and competition will only increase, resulting in more choice and price for travelers.”

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

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

“We’re already seeing a strong uptick for Easter next year, which isn’t typical of our travel patterns. We usually see this a little 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 journeys
  • United Kingdom – 33,500 journeys
  • Singapore – 29,690 journeys

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.(Included: Australian Bureau of Statistics)

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