SMP Survey answers the question of what exactly does ‘pent up travel demand’ look like for Australian travellers?

Domestic travel looks set for a major comeback post-pandemic with 60% of respondents to a recent SMP Survey of more than 1000 Australians declaring an intention to travel for a holiday within their own state in the next twelve months.

When generalised to the wider population, this equates to approximately 9.3 million Australians aged 18 years and over intending to take a holiday intrastate.

Cross border travel is also set for a win with just under half of those surveyed (47%) saying they intend to travel interstate in the year ahead meaning some 7.3 million Australians are currently thinking about planning where to travel domestically.

There are also promising signs for a return to international travel.

Respondents to the survey indicated, if allowed to travel overseas for a holiday, 24% said they would choose air travel to their destination with 10% electing for an ocean cruise in the next twelve months.

This would equate to 3.7 million Australians wanting to travel overseas by air on a holiday and 1.5 million Australians returning to the water, putting pent up demand ahead of the number of Australians who cruised in the record setting year of 2018 (1.34 million ref: CLIA Australasia source market report).

“While this is based on intention, we can say with confidence that subject to state borders remaining open and our international one opening up in greater capacity then travel is on the cards for close to ten million Australians” said Neil Stollznow, Director of SMP Surveys.

“This would see billions of dollars transacted right throughout the economy and bring much needed reprieve to struggling sectors decimated by the impact COVID-19 has had,” Stollznow added.

In a win for public spaces, 32% of respondents said they intended to visit a museum or an art gallery while 25% said they would attend a concert or music festival.

Curiously, 22% of respondents remained uncommitted to travel intent suggesting that 3.5 million Australians require further convincing.

“With around three and a half million Australians still unconvinced of travel over the next twelve months, that’s a huge potential segment of the market worth pursuing and would be a considerable win for industry to persuade them to become actual customers,” Stollznow said.

“Understanding this segment of fence sitters to identify what is holding them up and which brands or types of holidays would see them commit would be something that further research can discover and be an invaluable resource to marketers seeking to capture more demand to rebound strongly,” Stollznow added.

The study also captured respondent characteristics and demographics with males (60%) more likely to travel overseas by air than females (40%) as well as taking a cruise (62% male versus 38% female).

People between 18 and 39 years of age were most inclined to return to concerts, music festivals and cultural events such as Vivid, Adelaide Fringe Festival or the Darwin Festival.

Respondents reporting an income of more than $200,000 annually were the highest group intending to travel overseas by air travel with the research capturing other key financial and demographic data.

When viewed by state and territory, NSW respondents were most likely to opt for an ocean cruise and a cultural event and those living in the ACT were highest with intent to travel interstate for a holiday.