Tourism sector braces for quiet summer

Retailers aren’t the only ones facing a quiet Christmas, with tourism operators also hurting, after a new report revealed more than 50% of consumers will skip the traditional summer holiday this year.


The report, conducted by Crossman Communications, is based on a survey of 1,200 Australians. It shows 55% of the people surveyed are staying grounded this year.


Of those who do plan to take a holiday, 42% plan to spend less than $1,000 for everyone on their trip, including travel, accommodation, food and spending money.


A fifth of respondents plan to spend $500 or less on the entire family getaway, indicating hotels and restaurants aren’t high on the agenda.


In fact, the survey reveals 42% of the respondents who are travelling intend to stay with family and friends rather than fork out for a hotel.


Of those who are heading off, more than 50% are only going for up to a week, while a fifth will be away for three nights or less, suggesting consumers are shortening their trips to save money.


But our hesitancy to go on holidays isn’t limited to Christmas, with another report revealing Australians are among the most holiday-deprived people in the world.


According to the 2011 Expedia Vacation Deprivation Study, which surveyed workers in 20 countries, including 400 Australians, Australia is the fifth most holiday-deprivation nation.


Taking out the top spot this year is Japan, with Japanese workers taking only five days of annual leave, followed by South Korea (seven days) and the United States (12 days).


Sharing the fourth spot is Mexico and Singapore (14 days), while Australia shares the fifth spot with Canada, taking 15 days of annual leave.


While the Australian adult workforce is entitled to an average of 20 annual leave days per year, the report shows Australian workers are waving goodbye to five days of leave.


This is bad news for local tourism operators, who are already feeling the effects of the high Australian dollar, increasingly cheap international airfares, and low consumer confidence.


Almost a third of the Australian workers surveyed cited finances as the main reason behind not taking the holidays they are entitled to, compared with the global average of 22%.


Separation anxiety from work, negative reactions from employers, and getting paid for not taking holidays were also common reasons Australians decided not to take all of their entitled leave.


Economic uncertainty is also resulting in Australians worrying about their job security. A third of all Australian workers admitted to cancelling or postponing holiday plans because of work.


In light of the findings, Expedia marketing and communications manager Amee Evans says tourism operators need to think about how they promote their offers to holiday-deprived workers.


“Making time for some ‘me time’ is extremely important – whether it’s a weekend getaway to an Australian city or an overseas trip,” Evans says.


“Make it quick and easy to book great holiday deals without [consumers feeling like they’re] spending a fortune.”


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