Australians show consistency with their travel preferences as the UK, the US and China top the most popular winter long-haul markets for second successive year

There are no real surprises this winter with Australian outbound long-haul travel. New research from travel commerce platform Travelport has revealed that the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America (US) and China are the three most popular long-haul destinations for travellers in Australia this winter holiday, identical to a similar analysis last year.

The results are based on advanced flight bookings made for travel from Australia (the origin) to final destinations further than six hours flying time away for between 28-Jun-2019 and 21-Jul-2019, and is based on data at 14-June 2019. It is derived from Travelport’s interpretation of relevant Marketing Information Data Transfer (MIDT) data of bookings made in Australia through GDS and is not exhaustive as it may not include bookings made directly with airlines, which may or may not also have a GDS presence.

The analysis shows the UK just ahead of the US with just over 39,000 advanced bookings made in Australia through all global distribution systems (GDS) for return flights to the UK for the period. Flight bookings to the US, the second most popular destination, at 35,340, while bookings to third placed China were at 22,828.

It’s the second consecutive year for the UK, the US and China to top the chart, showing a consistent pattern in people’s travel preferences for the winter holidays, according to Scott Barber, Travelport’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand. “Despite the large number of expatriates living in Australia from these countries, their long-lasting appeal to tourists and affordable flights have also made them ever-popular choice for travellers in Australia,” he adds.

But with travellers in Australia racing to plan a winter escape, there are also destinations known for their sunny skies, fine beaches and popular cuisines, such as Thailand, Italy, Greece and Vietnam, well-positioned in the rankings, each with over 10,000 bookings for the analysis period.

Thailand is the fourth most popular destination with 18,766 bookings, ahead of Italy in fifth with 15,129, Greece in sixth with 13,352 and Vietnam in seventh with 11,835 bookings. Canada also exceeded the 10,000 milestone and is positioned eighth with 10,383 bookings. Japan and France complete the top ten in ninth and tenth positions with just under 10,000 bookings.

Mr Barber says these insights suggest that moving forward, travel suppliers and agents could upgrade their offerings for travellers to these destinations, for instance by providing more ancillary services on flights, diversifying hospitality packages and personalising travel itineraries. “These approaches can help enhance traveller’s experience, encourage repeat trips and attract new travellers,” he says.