Australians embrace travel as restrictions ease

Australians are driving a resurgence in domestic tourism, with new data from Airbnb showing a surge in bookings, particularly in regional areas. 

While it is early and the future remains highly uncertain, there are some strong early signs of economic recovery, with intrastate bookings in some regions exceeding those in the same period in 2019. 

With same-state travel resuming across most states, Australians are booking and planning holidays and getting ready to immerse themselves in their own backyard like never before. 

For future travel in just one seven-day period alone (24 – 30 May):

  • Australian domestic bookings on Airbnb have recovered to 97 percent of pre-COVID levels when compared with the same week last year*.
  • Same-state bookings in New South Wales are up 44 percent compared with the same week in 2019*.
  • Australia-wide bookings in New South Wales are now above pre-COVID-19 levels, up 13 percent on the same week last year**.
  • With travel now allowed in the state, Victorians have wasted no time in booking future trips, with bookings up 48 percent on the same week last year. The same is true for Queensland, where bookings are already slightly above 2019 levels (2 percent increase)*
  • Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory continue to see significant increases in same-state travel, with bookings up 71 percent, 74 percent and 146 percent respectively, compared with the same week last year*.

Importantly, regional areas are set to welcome significant numbers of intrastate visitors, with 80 percent of bookings for places outside of capital cities helping valuable tourism dollars to flow to local businesses across hard-hit communities.

Airbnb continues to remind all travelers to follow government advice and put health and safety first. 

Susan Wheeldon, Airbnb’s Country Manager for Australia, said: “These positive early signs of domestic travel getting ready to make a comeback is a welcome relief for the local families and communities who depend on Australia’s tourism industry. 

“People are excited about being able to get back out there and immerse themselves in all the things that make Australia so great – including our nation’s incredible natural beauty and famously friendly people. We’re particularly seeing people searching for unique and affordable getaways that will give them a really authentic local experience.

“Just as it has driven economic growth in the past, domestic tourism will play an enormous role in driving economic recovery, especially in the regions. It’s been great to see that both hosts and guests on Airbnb have already expressed a strong desire to continue supporting the important work being done by governments to drive tourism growth, just as they’ve done in the past.”

“To date, the community has been doing the right thing, for which we’re very grateful, and we urge everyone to make sure they keep following the rules and listening to government advice.”

Data for the week 24-30 May.
*Data is for same-state domestic bookings.
**Data is for Australia-wide bookings in NSW.