New data from travel platform, Vacaay, reveals Australians are eagerly awaiting the opening of the Pacific Bubble – with French Polynesia, Fiji and Cook Islands experiencing a surge in online interest.
To compare the shift in travel intention as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vacaay compared usage from 15 February to 15 March 2020 with the period 15 June to 15 July 2020.
With Vacaay's platform being image driven, the analysis shows before the COVID-19 impact, Australians were looking at exotic summer holidays to warmer climates, with the Balearic Islands, Greek Islands and the French Riviera topping the list for most Aussies.
Domestic escapes are now performing strongly when it comes to travel inspiration (up 298%), especially in warmer areas for winter – Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland are proving most popular with users across Australia – with interest down for urban escapes in line with consumer preferences for social distancing.
Vacaay also observed an increasing shift towards New Zealand (up 30%) and the Pacific with interest in French Polynesia/Tahiti up by over 370%.
Vacaay's findings include:
- A significant shift away from urban escapes, with just 5% of Australians considering a city stay compared with 25% pre-pandemic, a finding with ramifications for new hotels set to be launched in inner Melbourne and Sydney.
- 95% of Australians are prioritising the great outdoors and road trips for their next vacation, with Injidup Natural Spa, Cape Le Grand National Park (WA) and Great Barrier Reef (QLD) taking out the three most popular domestic destinations.
- Queenslanders and Western Australians were more interested in exploring their own backyards, rather than travelling interstate during the June/July period.
- The interest in New Zealand is reciprocal, with a 212% increase in Kiwis searching for Australian holidays during the June/July period – Darwin, Coolangatta and Queensland's Clamshell Falls being the most popular destinations.
The top 10 dream domestic holidays for Australians
- Injidup Natural Spa, WA
- Cape Le Grand National Park, WA
- Great Barrier Reef, QLD
- East Arnhem Land, NT
- Uluru, NT
- Margaret River, WA
- Jervis Bay, NSW
- The Kangaroo Sanctuary, NT
- Corroboree Billabong, NT
- Clamshell Falls, QLD
Vacaay launched in February this year shortly before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, and features an addictive interface that allows travellers to swipe and save ideas for their next holiday. Vacaay can track its 250,000+ global users to see what's trending in real time, making it a game-changer in a world where daily border closures are the new norm.
According to Vacaay Founder and CEO, Pete McKeon, the platform provides invaluable insights into users' travel intent.
“We've seen a lot of guesswork in the tourism industry, but most of the assumptions aren't backed by any meaningful data. By sharing our findings, Vacaay's providing accurate and reliable insight into Australian consumer travel patterns, identifying a concise road map for recovery.”
After two years in development, Vacaay exploded onto the international travel scene in February this year. 89% of its Australian users are aged 18-45, with 58% of these being female. Vacaay is working proactively with tourism boards and corporations, including hotels and airlines, and is available on both desktop and mobile (phones and tablets).