A survey of Australians' holiday intentions shows New Zealand has shot up the wish list for post-Covid-19 travel.
As discussions on a possible transtasman travel bubble intensify, a survey of more than 350 residents showed numbers wanting to come here have at least doubled.
Travel and lifestyle communications company Anne Wild & Associates (AWA) commissioned the survey that showed prior to the pandemic 20 per cent of Aussies wanted to travel to Oceania — which includes New Zealand.
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But when asked which country they were most likely to visit when international travel restrictions are lifted, 38 per cent said they wanted to come to this country.
Just 11 per cent of those surveyed said their last holiday was to New Zealand before Covid-19 hit.
Australia was New Zealand's largest source of visitors with 1.5 million arrivals last year and is seen as a market that could help tourism here recover — if border restrictions come off. Governments in both countries are working on a transtasman travel bubble but need to be satisfied with the level of health risks of opening up the borders.
Australia also still has state border restrictions.
The survey found travellers remain optimistic and still plan to take trips this year.
According to the online study 69 per cent of respondents hope to travel within the first six months of restrictions being lifted.
More than half are keen to travel for two weeks or more on their next holiday, and 74 per cent said they would be comfortable spending just as much on their next holiday as they did pre Covid-19.
Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of respondents said they will travel internationally for their first holiday after restrictions are lifted but will stay closer to home. Pre-Covid, Europe (75 per cent) was the most popular international holiday destination, with just 20 per cent nominating Oceania.
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While Europe still ranked the highest (58 per cent) as the preferred international region for post Covid-19 international holidays, Oceania was a close second (53 per cent), with Asia rounding out the top three (36 per cent).
"The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly impacted the global travel and tourism industry like no issue before it," said Anne Wild, managing director of AWA.
"While most Australians are just starting to emerge from lockdown, we are explorers by nature and through this survey we wanted to see if our intrinsic sense of wanderlust had waivered as a result of the pandemic."
As in New Zealand, Australians are being encouraged to holiday at home and 76 per cent of respondents said they will most likely travel domestically for their first holiday after restrictions are lifted.
In terms of which states they would like to visit first, Queensland (34 per cent) topped the list, closely followed by New South Wales (31 per cent) and then Tasmania (11 per cent). Ten per cent of respondents nominated Victoria and Western Australia, and 4 per cent The Northern Territory.
The type of trips the 18-65-year-old respondents want to take will be of interest to New Zealand tourist operators.
While a tropical experience was nominated by nearly half of all respondents, 41 per cent said a luxury stay would be topping their holiday choice, 36 per cent will be seeking family friendly and/or multi-destination experiences, with others seeking something more active such as a walking/hiking (24 per cent) or snow/ski-ing (23 per cent) holiday.
Other experiences nominated included road trips (23 per cent), health and wellness (15 per cent), eco-tourism/sustainability (12 per cent) and gastronomy (10 per cent).
Cruising is still popular with Aussies. Before the pandemic 18 per cent of respondents had taken either an ocean or river cruise in the past five years. But when travel restrictions are lifted more than a quarter said they would definitely or may consider taking a cruise.
There's also good news for travel agents, a sector battered by the crisis and still working to recover billions of dollars for clients. More than 25 per cent of those surveyed said they would be more likely to use the services of a travel adviser when restrictions are lifted.
While pre-Covid most respondents said they usually booked travel independently (61 per cent), post Covid-19, 81 per cent said they would or may consider booking a resort package holiday, while 57 per cent said they would or may consider booking a group package holiday.
In addition to health and safety factors, 67 per cent of respondents cited cancellation policies to be a major influencer on future booking decisions. Travel insurance coverage also ranked highly (49 per cent), as well as discounts (43 per cent) and package deals (33 per cent) on offer.
In terms of where respondents seek travel inspiration, print and broadcast media continue to rank highly (56 per cent), as well as online media (51 per cent) and online booking review sites (48 per cent). However, most survey respondents (85 per cent) rely on the advice of friends and family for inspiration when planning holidays.