AFTA View – August 2011

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Jason WestburyThe good news for agents contained in the latest
outbound travel statistics

By Jay Westbury, chief executive Australian Federation
of Travel Agents

THE good news is that Australians continue to travel and travel in force with departures from Australia up 10.9 per cent on the same period last year.

That’s around an additional 60,000 people departing in June alone. Terrific news for the travel industry.

Also significant is the shift in the “Top” destinations. For a long time New Zealand has been the most popular destination for outbound travel. But this was not the case in June for unfortunate reasons but showing a trend away from New Zealand which for such a small country that is so dependent on Australia for its tourism numbers must be of grave concern.

With 83,000 departures in June, Indonesia topped the list of top outbound destinations followed by the US and UK. In addition to this, Thailand has shown a strong trend for an increase along with Italy.

It will be most interesting to see how outbound trends unfold over the next couple of months. Remember, these numbers lag by about two months. Those who are in the front line will know more than most what is selling and what consumers are asking for.

Reports in to me indicate that with the strong Aussie dollar the US remains popular. This has been supported by the continued competition in the cost of flights to the US.

Also, of note is the numbers to Italy. While it has not been a top 10 destination every month, it has been making increasing appearances there.

Clearly natural disasters have affected the performance of some desti-nations. Despite this, New Zealand remained the number one outbound destination for Australians in the financial year to June 30, 2011 with more than one million departures. The rest of the top 10, in order, were Indonesia, USA, Thailand, UK, China, Fiji, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

In total, 7.4 million Australians travelled overseas in the 12 months to June 30, 2011 – an impressive 600,000 more people travelling overseas.

I hope that your business was the beneficiary of this wonderful result in a year that was plagued with many natural disasters.

The other very interesting statistics are age group trends.

Over the past decade the median age for a male travelling has increased only slightly from 40.7 years old to 41.6 years old. The same number for females over the past decade has gone from 38.1 years old to 39.6 years old.

This clearly indicates that while our population is aging, our travellers are not really aging at all. The biggest age group that travelled in the last financial year was the 45-54 bracket representing 19 per cent of outbound travellers.

The next bracket was 25-34 which represented 18 per cent. The bracket in between did represent 17.5 per cent which means that the bulk of the Australian outbound market is between 25 – 54 representing 54.5 per cent of the total market.

The figures for this AFTA view were obtained from the www.abs.gov.au website.

 

Jay Westbury’s AFTA View column appears monthly.

 

   

 

 

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