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Australians embrace travel but COVID-19 related travel concerns linger

MEDIA RELEASE: February 17 2022: After almost 2 years of limited interstate and international travel, Australians are welcoming the gradual return of travel. According to Lightspeed’s SpotLight study, 24% of all Australians have travelled interstate or internationally since travel restrictions were lifted in late 2021. Excluding Western Australia, who are yet to lift border restrictions, this proportion increases slightly to 27%, with 25% travelling interstate and 4% travelling internationally.

The demand for interstate and international travel will continue to grow, with 60% of Australians planning to travel interstate and 32% planning to travel internationally in the next year. This is driven by frequent travellers, who would travel interstate or internationally at least once a year prior to COVID-19.

Andy Hutton, General Manager of Lightspeed ANZ, states that we are already hearing news of a new startup airline within Australia, the removal of border constraints and an increase in travel promotions and advertising to encourage consumers to travel. However, while Australians are eager to travel, Hutton believes that travel activity is unlikely to bounce back to pre-COVID-19 levels in the next 12 months, as it will take a while for consumer confidence to return. This is primarily due to lingering concerns about travel in a COVID world. After two years of changing domestic travel restrictions and closed international borders, Australians who are unsure of when they’ll travel interstate or internationally, or are waiting more than 6 months to travel, cited that changing restrictions, closed borders, COVID case numbers and the concern of being stuck in another state or country are deterring them from travelling sooner.

Furthermore, 61% of Australians think that COVID-19 will still have a large impact on their travel intentions over the next 12 months, believing that it will have a greater impact than interest rate rises, inflation and global conflicts. This highlights that how we adjust to life with COVID and the scale of COVID-19 outbreaks over the next 12 months are key to consumers confidently returning to travel.

Other findings from Lightspeed’s Spotlight study include:

  • Finances was another common reason why some Australians aren’t returning to interstate or international travel in the next 6 months. They stated that they couldn’t afford to travel or needed to save more money for travelling.
  • Over the last 2 years, in the absence of international travel:
    • 35% of Australians increased their savings
    • 23% travelled within Australia
  • 32% of Australians who are hoping to travel in the next 6 months haven’t started saving for their holiday
  • More than 70% of Australians are likely to use a travel booking provider in the next 12 months. This is higher than the proportion of Australians who used a travel booking provider prior to COVID-19
  • Video conferencing services and work from home practices are likely to have impacted business travel indefinitely:
    • 39% of Australians who travel interstate for work are unsure of when they’ll resume travelling interstate for work
    • 50% of Australians who travel internationally for work are unsure of when they’ll resume travelling internationally for work.

About the study
2,000 permission-based respondents from Lightspeed’s Panel were interviewed between the 9th and 11th of February 2022.

Website: Lightspeed

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