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Domestic tourism may surpass int’l demand: Study

Short-haul driving holidays will preface domestic trips by air, the Dransfield study shows.

The undesirability of international travel may see Australia’s hotels enjoy a short-term rebound boom from domestic markets which may surpass lost international visitors, a new study from Dransfield Hotels & Resorts suggests.

According to the ‘Hotel Futures 2020’ series, the industry analyst firm considered a scenario whereby Australia’s national borders remained shut until the end of June 2021, with a further six-month period where overseas travel was possible, but highly limited. In this time, a large proportion of Australia’s 181 million annual visitor nights which otherwise head offshore would instead divert their holidays to an intrastate or interstate trip.

This pool was discounted by 25% to 153m visitor nights in order to provide a conservative estimate of those likely to opt for a domestic trip instead and to account for those who may choose to forgo a holiday altogether.

In reaching its estimates, the study assumed more than half of this international outbound market is made up of the leisure holiday and VFR travellers. Business travellers were not considered a high chance of replacing an overseas trip with an domestic alternative.

Over time, horizons will broaden from holidaymakers staying as local as possible with only a short-haul driving holiday of a few days, graduating to an interstate trip by air of one to two weeks, potentially as soon as the 2020/21 summer and through to the Easter 2021 peak.

Regional destinations and hotels are tipped to be the big winners and stand poised to capture as much as 71% of this overall domestic market, with 29% opting to stay in a CBD area.

“In short, our findings are that the potential transfer of outbound visitors to domestic visitors in hotels is considerably higher than the loss of international nights across cities and regional areas,” said Dransfield Hotels CEO, Dean Dransfield.

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