Australian domestic travel is poised to become a lot more aspirational
Updated: Aug 28
With Australia on ‘almost lockdown’ every Winter escape to Europe has been cancelled, every full moon plan, every yoga retreat in Ubud. With international travel “absolutely” the last restriction to be eventually lifted, any foreseeable holiday seems sure to be closer to home.
Roy Morgan data last year found that domestic holiday intent was at a decade low, whilst intent for international travel remained steady. The last few months will completely turn this tide.
With Virgin Australia going into voluntary administration, the price of all flights will increase. People with less savings will need to pay more money to board a plane. With less competition in the air, there will be higher prices both within and outside of Australia. This will be heightened further if social distancing measures need to be enforced on planes.
Will our wide-open spaces and largely untouched health increase the appeal of our own backyard? Sparsity has a newfound edge, as has the sense of safety that accompanies any country that had the good luck, good sense, or both to lessen the impact of the virus. Australia happens to be in a very fortunate position. Even if we can’t get to New York City or London, we might not want to “even if tourists return in droves, Grisdale predicts that the rural countryside will be more of a draw than Milan or Rome — in keeping with what might be a universal tendency for travellers to gravitate toward remote, isolated destinations worldwide”.
Does this spell a re-emergence of the great Australian road trip? One that’s dominated by Australians instead of Brits? Currently road trips (that aren’t to the supermarket) are out of the question, with some states even banning intra-state travel within a certain radius. But with closed borders, expensive flights and a comparatively safer seeming country, more may hit the road for a holiday: “The caravanning industry, I know, are planning for some pretty big take-ups of vans”. While we are used to Juicy vans filled with tourists, it will be a while before they are able to return, and when they do, it might be staged and origin dependent. “I think that Europeans and Americans, for the first time, are going to feel what it’s like to have an undesirable passport — for a while, some countries, even if they do open up, may not allow the entry of American citizens or European citizens.”
What seems completely undeniable is that people are ready for a holiday. Last year it was reported that Australians were sitting on 146 million days of accrued annual leave. If the rise of old holiday photos on Instagram is anything to go by it seems that cabin fever has infected many more Australians than coronavirus. Waiting for the right time in your career to take a holiday may seem a lot more reckless than it once did. As a form of coping, many people are looking forward to events like holidays: “The act of drumming up excitement for a post-pandemic trip can be therapeutic, because it gives our brains something concrete to focus on”. And if you can’t make it there, fake it there, with the new trend of fauxcationing; highly crafted imaginary holidays that look as good as the real thing thanks to covid-free spaces like Photoshop.