AUSTRALIA’s enthusiasm for overseas travel is slowly but surely returning, with the number of short-term resident returns for June rising 3% compared to the prior month, according to the latest figures from the ABS. A total of 729,540 Australians enjoyed international trips throughout the month, bringing the country closer to its pre-pandemic level of 841,950 in Jun 2019 – a difference of just 13%.
The outlook for the nation’s outbound international travel is a much brighter one compared to the same period last year, when just 390,890 Aussies jetted off to another country, representing an impressive uptick of 87% in 2023 versus 2022. Despite the crackdown on unruly tourist behaviour in Bali, Indonesia retained its position as the number one destination for short-term trips, accounting for 15% of all resident returns in June.
New Zealand was the second-most popular destination, making up 9%, while the United Kingdom (8%) overtook the US as the third leading destination. Notably, Italy gained significantly more popularity among Aussie travellers, up around 70% from last month and overtaking the pre-COVID June 2019 figure by 5%.
MEANWHILE, BITRE has released the latest international airline activity data, which shows Qantas and Jetstar were the most favoured airlines among Aussies travelling overseas during February, making up 27.1% of all passengers for the month – up from 17.9% in February last year.
Looking at international carriers, Singapore Airlines led the pack, accounting for 10.1% of Australia’s overseas traffic, however the number was only half of what it was in 2022. While Qatar Airways’ market share fell from 10% in Feb last year to only 4.5% in Feb in 2023, and Emirates dropped from 13.8% to 5.8%, Air New Zealand saw its slice of the pie grow by 5.3% to 8.2%.
The BITRE report also reveals that low-cost carriers claimed an 18.4% chunk of the market, comprised of services operated by AirAsia X, Cebu Pacific Air, Indonesia AirAsia, Jetstar, Scoot Tigerair, Thai AirAsia X and T’Way Air.
Overall, Australia saw 53 airlines operate passenger services in total for the month, carrying 2.43 million passengers – a significant gain on last year (436,390) but still short of 2020 volumes (2.805 million).