Australia Market Profile;
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Australia Market Profile

Australia continues to be a key market for California and the state’s destination partners. Although the market has increased competition from Europe, Southeast Asia and U.S. destinations, California’s product offerings align well with what Australian travelers are seeking. That said, Australia’s softening economy and weak AUD to dollar exchange may reduce the number of tourists willing to make the overseas trip. Data updated as of February 2020.

Market Profile

$1.288 Billion
Preliminary Visitor Spending, 2019
$1.435 Billion*
Forecasted Visitor Spending, 2023
*Reflects pre-coronavirus forecast.
Market Share (U.S. Spend), 2018

Travel & Planning

Airlift (2019)

  • 87 weekly nonstop flights
  • 28,000 weekly nonstop seats
  • 2 entry points (San Francisco, Los Angeles)


  • Average planning timeframe: 5 to 6 months
  • Average booking timeframe: 4 to 5 months
  • 73% book online, a trend that has been on the rise over the past ten years
  • Specialized OTAs that market niche experiences are on the rise
  • The top five booking brands in Australia are Qantas Frequent Flyer loyalty program, Flight Centre,, TripAdvisor and Expedia
  • Peak travel months: June, July, August. Travel also takes place during school holiday periods March, September, December and January

Visitor Characteristics

Sought-After Travel Experiences

  • Experiences: On average, Australians spend more on experiences than discretionary goods.
  • New and on trend: Travelers seek out what is new and trending from stargazing at Joshua Tree to biking on Angel Island in San Francisco.
  • Responsible travel: There is a trend towards responsible or eco-tourism in deciding where to book travel.
  • Culinary: Food and wine remain some of the main drivers of travel, a long-standing passion for Australian travelers.

How to reach Australian Travelers

  • Social Media
  • Podcasts
  • Digital Media

Market Conditions

Australia’s economy is softening as retail spending slows and the AUD struggles against the USD. Economic growth dropped from +2.8% in 2018 to +1.4% in 2019. Wage growth remains flat at +2.3%, and the unemployment rate is now at 5.2%. Consumer confidence plunged to 92.8 in October 2019, reaching its lowest level since July 2015.

Competitive Landscape

The United States remains the No. 1 long-haul travel destination for Australians, and California in particular is the most visited state in the U.S. However, growth in visitation has slowed since 2018 as demand increases for Asia and Europe. In September 2019, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that the outbound tourism destinations with the highest annual increases were Japan (+15.1%), Indonesia (+14.1%) and India (+9.2%).

There is an ever-expanding portfolio of activities in California to counter the narrative that travelers have “been there done that.” It is important to continue educating travelers about new, only in California offerings whether it involve the celebrities in Hollywood or the diverse experiences throughout the state.

California has historically been a stop for Australian travelers who are continuing on to other parts of the U.S. However, airlines are exploring longer flight options that take travelers directly to the east coast. Additionally, many Australian travelers have a “been there done that” mentality and so prefer to visit other countries before returning to California.


  • DIIO
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis, NTTO, Dean Runyan, Tourism Economics
  • U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Travel and Tourism Office, “Survey of International Air Travelers”, CIC Research
  • USA Department of Commerce AU market update Sept 2019
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Qantas Media Release
  • Roy Morgan
  • State of the Nation Spotlight on Tourism Report July 2019