Australia’s top trending travel spot and other holiday trends for 2024
Cairns is among the top 10 trending travel destinations for 2024, according to research from travel agency Booking.com.
The Queensland city was one of the top 1000 most booked destinations on the platform between August 1, 2022, and July 31, 2023, meaning the region could be in for a big year.
Naturally, Mark Olsen, the chief executive of Tourism Tropical North Queensland, was thrilled Cairns had made Booking.com’s global top 10 list for trending travel destinations for 2024.
“With two World Heritage areas side by side and more than 2000 experiences to choose from, Cairns is ideal for a nature-based holiday,” he said.
“A vibrant food and drinks scene with waterfront restaurants, breweries, distilleries and artisan bars using the best tropical produce completes the itinerary for any holidaymaker.”
It’s the only Australian destination to claim a spot on the list – although neighbouring New Zealand also got a mention.
Booking.com predicts a big year of people travelling to Cairns.
Booking.com’s top 10 trending destinations for 2024
- Beppu, Japan
- Vlorë, Albania
- Mérida, Mexico
- Portland, Oregon, US
- Valkenburg, Netherlands
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Chemnitz, Germany
- Rotorua, New Zealand
- Panglao, Philippines
- Cairns, Australia.
Merida in Mexico also made the list of top trending travel destinations for 2024.
Booking.com Oceania regional manager Todd Lacey said the Travel Predictions research showed a “renewed sense of optimism” about travel for the new year.
He said he hoped the announcement would mean more eyes turned to Cairns and Rotorua so people could see what both cities had to offer.
“At Booking.com, it’s our mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world and we are committed to empowering extraordinary experiences that resonate with the heartbeat of each and every traveller in 2024 and beyond,” he said.
Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, made the list.
Holidays spark joy
According to Booking.com, 78 per cent of Australians feel more alive when they are holiday.
Additionally, 66 per cent believe they are the best version of themselves when travelling and 68 per cent wish they were more like their holiday selves at home.
“These trends reveal how Aussies will go about bottling those feel-good holiday vibes so they don’t get left on the doorstep when they arrive home,” Booking.com said.
In the past, people travelled to escape everyday life. In 2024, Booking.com predicts it will become the “pulse of life”.
The agency outlined seven trends it expected to be prominent in 2024 and, given travellers want to be more like their holiday selves, it’s tipped that many will tap into alter egos on their next trip.
Although 61 per cent of Australian travellers like the anonymity travel gives them and the chance to “recreate” themselves, 30 per cent take it a step further and make up stories about themselves when speaking with people they meet along the way.
People like to let their alter egos come out when travelling.
Chasing the cold and rolling the dice
Australians are expecting a hot summer, and the sweltering conditions and climate change are influencing where people want to travel.
More than 40 per cent of Australians will jet off somewhere cooler when the weather warms up.
“As a result, there is an expected rise of water-centric travel that takes the edge off the heat,” Booking.com said.
“Three-quarters (75 per cent) agree that being close to water instantly makes them feel more relaxed, with more than a third (35 per cent) interested in water-centric holidays in 2024.”
People will be looking for cool getaways to escape the heat.
This means water will likely be the main event of the holiday. Activities such as floating yoga, sound baths, snow meditation, ice therapy retreats and underwater hotels are expected to be popular.
Travellers also want to have less control, with 57 per cent saying they don’t want plans set in stone prior to taking off in 2024; instead they want to go “where the wind takes them”.
Two-thirds want flexible travel plans so they can adjust based on what feels right in the moment.
Booking.com has released an AI Trip planner, but only 40 per cent would let AI plan a trip for them.
Saving money but eating well
When exploring, 81 per cent of Australians want to experience indigenous cuisines and more than half indicated an interest in learning about the origins of a destination’s good food.
It’s also expected the cost-of-living pressures will affect the fun stuff in 2024.
Some 54 per cent of people who are planning to travel intend to pick destinations closer to home to save money, and 49 per cent of parents plan on taking their children out of school to cut down on costs.
People are hoping to discover indigenous and authentic food while travelling.
Unique travel plans
Many travellers are likely going to have some kind of self-care or self-improvement element to their travel.
“Enter the new era of sleep tourism, that welcomes sleep concierges and cutting-edge tech to serve the 55 per cent who want to solely focus on uninterrupted shut eye in their 2024 travel,” Booking.com said.
More than half of parents are looking to go on solo holidays in the near future, but 30 per cent of people are interested in finding a new partner while on holiday.
So-called “mindful travellers” are seeking out unique stays, in response to environmental and social challenges through architectural design.
Just under 50 per cent of travellers want accommodation that has “a wow factor in sustainability innovation” and 47 per cent are interested in sustainable travel apps.