Travel survey: Aussie travellers become more daring with age

On September 15, 2009 at 10:00 AM

Expedia.com.au survey reveals older Australians to be more trail-blazing in their travels

A survey conducted recently by travel website Expedia.com.auTM reveals that Australians in their fifties are significantly more open to exploring more off-the-beaten-track destinations and experiencing culture shock than their younger travelling compatriots.

The survey, conducted by independent research company Pureprofile on behalf of Expedia.com.au, operated by Expedia, Inc., the world’s leading online travel company, included responses of over 1,000 adult Australians regarding their attitudes towards travelling to tried-and-tested destinations compared with those that are comparatively less touristy. The most popular off-the-beaten-track destinations to emerge include Eastern Europe, Africa, South America, China and Antarctica.

Whilst on average 60 per cent of Australians still prefer to visit more conventional travel destinations, data indicated that Australians become distinctly more vicarious in their travels as they age.

Results showed that more than half of Australians in the 50-54 year old age group wanted to get off the beaten track (53%) compared with less than a third of Australians between the ages of 18 and 24 (31%), who overwhelmingly prefer more conventional destinations.

Older Australians are also far more up to experiencing ‘culture shock’ than their younger counterparts. In fact the survey revealed that 18-35 year olds are generally three times more likely to be deterred from travelling to a lesser-known destination due to cultural differences, with almost 20 per cent identifying this as a reason to avoid travelling to these destinations. The least concerned were those aged 65 and older, of whom just three per cent highlighted cultural differences as a reason to avoid more far-flung places. Surprisingly, people in their twenties also showed most hesitation to travelling to places where there are different religious beliefs.

Overall, Eastern Europe was identified as the most popular ‘off-the-beaten-track’ destination with 34 per cent of people wanting to visit; this was followed by South America (20 per cent); Africa (16 per cent); Antarctica (14 per cent) and China (12 per cent). The Middle East emerged as the least popular destination in this category (4 per cent).

Marketing Manager of Expedia.com.au, Louise Crompton says: “These survey findings fly in the face of conventional thought that Twenty-somethings are most radical and open minded to new and different experiences. The finding that older Australians are more up to veering off the well-beaten travel path is particularly interesting in that this is not necessarily an indication that they have already visited the more conventional tourist destinations, but rather an indication that people are more intrigued by lesser-known destinations as they get older.

“The opportunity for a new and interesting travel experience was cited as the main inspiration for visiting a less conventional destination. Other reasons include: having the chance to closely experience the local community and comparative affordability,” Crompton concluded. 

Expedia.com.au’s Top Five ‘Off-the-beaten-track’ destinations:

Romania, Europe

From the medieval castles of Count Dracula’s Transylvania, to the magnificent architecture and rich culture of the capital, Bucharest, Romania is a country with much undiscovered to enjoy. It’s also home to some of Europe’s best kept secrets, including The Danube Delta and the great ice caves of the Apuseni Mountains, that remain widely unknown. There are also great ski fields, trails for both hiking and bike rides and countless cathedrals with intriguing histories scattered across the country. Be sure to absorb the rich atmosphere of the city of Sibiu, which was chosen as the European Capital of Culture in 2007.

Venezuela, South America

Whilst Venezuela boasts the longest stretch of Caribbean coastline, it is a country that is surprisingly under-visited by international travellers. Nevertheless, this South American nation offers tourists an exciting blend of rich cultural experiences, starting with the throbbing salsa clubs of Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, to the busy marketplaces and regular festivals held in the towns of the interior. For those with a thirst for adventure, Venezuela offers countless physical activities including hiking to the world’s highest waterfall, the Angel Falls, or snorkelling, scuba diving, windsurfing and paragliding, which all add to the excitement of a trip to a country that truly is a rare tropical beauty.

Tanzania, Africa

Rich in natural wealth and beauty, Tanzania boasts some of the world’s finest physical attributes such as the snow-capped summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the golden beaches of Zanzibar, the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater and the lush plains and abundant wildlife of the Serengeti. Apart from its natural attractions, Tanzania also offers travellers a wealth of hidden gems to explore including deserted islands that house former slave caves and colonial graves, the decaying ruins of ancient Swahili city-states like Zanzibar and the rich culture of the islands of Mafia, which was once a famed port of call for ships from the East. With such a wide range of opportunities for adventure, Tanzania is the perfect recipe for the traveller who wants to stray far from the beaten track.

Estonia, Europe

Since the 13th century, Estonia has been occupied by Swedish, German and Russian forces, which have all left their indelible mark on the country. Due to this, tourists are able to observe a great range of structures throughout the country including Soviet architecture, impressive Orthodox palaces, great medieval castles, as well as the rich Swedish culture that has been imparted within the coastal communities of Estonia. For natural beauty, Estonia’s Lahemma National Park has a great deal to offer travellers to the country, whilst those after a rich cultural experience need look no further than the Old Believers found near Lake Peipsi in East Estonia, who follow an old form of Russian Orthodoxy and do not believe in the use of electricity, shaving, smoking or drinking coffee.

Paraguay, South America

Paraguayis a country full of vast and fascinating contrasts that are sure to intrigue all intrepid travellers. With hidden treasures like the tropical rainforest of Parque Nacional Cerro, as well as the vast wilderness of the Gran Chaco, there are plenty of natural features to discover and explore. In the capital city of Asunción, travellers can immerse themselves in the strong culture, fine cuisine and bustling night-life. For a more relaxed cultural experience, Paraguay also offers Encarnación, which is the heart of the Paraguayan Carnaval and the gateway to the nearby Jesuit ruins of Trinidad. Whilst Paraguayans are more accustomed to visitors from bordering countries than international tourists, the combination of physical beauty and rich and enjoyable culture means a visit to Paraguay is one that is unforgettable.

Notes to Editors

Pureprofile fielded the online survey on behalf of Expedia.com.au™ and Expedia.co.nz between September 01 and September 07, 2009 among a nationwide cross-section of 1000 adults aged 18+ in Australia and 500 adults aged 18+ in New Zealand. The data was weighted to be representative of the total Australian and New Zealand population on the basis of gender, location and age.

With probability samples of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results for the sample have a sampling error of plus or minus two percentage points.

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