After time stuck at home, we want a holiday in SA

Travel even beats watching sport when it comes to what people are missing most, according to market and cultural research agency Square Holes in our weekly dive into the mood of South Australians.

May 18, 2020, updated May 18, 2020

Square Holes’ mind and mood research over recent months has found that people are missing the simple things, going to a restaurant or café, socialising with friends and family and they’d pick travelling over watching the footy if they could.

Square Holes founder and managing director Jason Dunstone said according to a current national survey they are conducting about what Australians love, 80 per cent or more enjoy travelling in Australia compared to 58 per cent who enjoy watching live sport.

Dunstone said this love of travel has also been backed by their research into the mood of South Australians since the pandemic began.

He said many survey respondents are missing travelling, and either postponed or cancelled travel plans as a result of COVID-19.

“Travel is all about freedom of escape for many, and recent times have taken away such a luxury,” Dunstone said.

“Much uncertainty exists as to when restrictions will reduce, particularly for overseas travel. For many, they have come to terms with travel being more of a luxury than they’d ever anticipated, particularly overseas travel.”

Dunstone said one focus group member, in their 60-69 age group, expressed concern they’d be priced out of the market when international travel opened up again.

“… before COVID-19, we could go anywhere in the world quite cheaply. I think the days of cheap airfares are going to go away for a while. And I’m just hitting that time of life where I’m doing a bit of travel and I can do it. The kids have long gone and I’m freer,” said the member.

The restrictions on overseas travel may help out the local market, however.

According to Square Holes’ mind and mood survey at the end of April, 28 per cent of South Australians were intending to travel within South Australia in the coming few months.

This compares with 18 per cent intending to travel interstate and 8 per cent overseas.

“This is solid intend to travel within South Australia in coming months, with levels higher amongst 18 to 39 year olds and 70+ year olds,” Dunstone said.

“Overall 18-39 year olds have a stronger overall travel intent locally or otherwise, with 70+ year olds particularly interested in travel within South Australia.

“Our research is indicating that there is a healthy appetite for new travel experiences.”

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In a quick survey of 100 South Australians from Square Holes’ research panel at the end of last week, 18 per cent noted that they had booked accommodation or travel regional in South Australia since travel restrictions had opened.

Of the accommodation choices, 20 per cent indicated they were booking a powered caravan park / powered site, 40 per cent were hiring a BnB or renting a home, 27 per cent were using their own holiday home and 7 per cent a hotel or motel.

“Caravanning and camping off-site is also increasingly popular,” said Dunstone.

He said the research indicated they were likely to book a trip in the next three months with strongest levels recorded for Fleurieu Peninsula (44%), Barossa (34%), Adelaide Hills (33%), York Peninsula (33%) and Clare Valley (25%).

“There was strong interest across all of South Australia,” Dunstone said.

COVID-19 continues to be a barrier for most, named as the biggest reason for not being likely to travel within South Australia in the next three months (44%), followed by costs (19%), not enough time (11%) and not interested (6%).

Dunstone said a member of one survey summed up the problem well.

“I have money tied up still that I spent on a trip to Perth and Broome and I am still trying to get the funds back,” said the survey participant.

However, According to SA Tourism, there has been strong growth in visits to in recent weeks, with daily visits now approaching double the same time last year.

“There is particular interest in our regions, boutique accommodation, nature and conservation parks and wider diverse tourism offering across South Australia,” Dunstone said.

Visit the Square Holes website for more travel insights or to get involved in the South Australia Mind and Mood Research.

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