With international borders closed for the foreseeable future, 52 per cent of Australians are planning to travel domestically this year, but the majority want stricter hygiene measures on flights and would cancel travel to COVID-19 hotspots, according to a survey by technology company Toluna.
While a strong number of planned domestic holidays might offer a glimmer of hope for Australia’s tourism industry, travellers are prepared to cancel their plans at the first sign of a health risk.
In the Toluna study of 1025 Australians, the majority (70 per cent) would cancel their travel plans if a second wave of COVID-19 hit Australia, and 56 per cent would cancel travel to a destination reporting a high number of COVID-19 cases.
Quarantine is also off-putting for travellers, with 56 per cent stating they would cancel plans if their destination imposed a 14-day quarantine, and 44 per cent would cancel if they had to quarantine upon returning to their own state.
Although current guidelines suggest in-flight face masks should be optional, the majority of respondents (65 per cent) believe face masks should be mandatory on flights. They also believe there should be mandatory temperature checks before boarding (73 per cent), spaced seating (68 per cent) and hand sanitiser available for all passengers (82 per cent).
A large number of respondents (63 per cent) also believe any passengers showing COVID-19 symptoms should be prevented from travelling until they return a negative test, while 13 per cent said they should be allowed to travel, but only if wearing a face mask and isolated from other passengers.
For those not travelling this year, nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) stated they don’t think it’s safe to travel domestically just yet, while 54 per cent are staying put due to financial insecurity.
Key travel motivators
For respondents planning to travel within Australia this year, the key motivator for most (79 per cent) was to support local tourism, while 59 per cent plan to take advantage of anticipated travel deals.
Half of the respondents surveyed had had their international travel plans cancelled due to COVID-19, so they decided to holiday within Australia instead.
Queensland was listed as the top travel destination, with 40 per cent of respondents looking to visit the Sunshine State this year, followed by 39 per cent hoping to travel to, or within, NSW.
Despite the research being conducted as Victoria’s COVID-19 numbers were rising, 31 per cent of respondents said they planned to travel to Victoria at some point this year.
In terms of timing, the majority of respondents don’t plan to travel until the end of the year; 19 per cent in October, 19 per cent in November and 27 per cent in December.
When it comes to global travel plans, 33 per cent would only travel internationally after a COVID-19 vaccine was made available.
Toluna business director Stephen Walker said the research showed a strong appetite for domestic travel.
“Our research also shows that COVID-19 remains a very real concern for Australians, and travellers expect strict hygiene protocols to be adhered to,” Mr Walker explained.
Are you planning to travel domestically this year? Where would you like to go? What will it take for you to travel internationally again?
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