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International travel: Aussies holidaying in Bali, Fiji over Europe

An increasing number of Aussies are rushing to jump on a plane to their next overseas getaway – but there is one destination many are avoiding.

With international borders now well and truly open, Aussies are rushing to plan their next overseas holiday — but there is one surprising destination many seem to be avoiding.

Data from Virgin Australia shows that in the past week there has been more than 600,000 international searches from Australia, up 25.4 per cent compared to pre-Covid times.

The figures also show that many Aussies are turning away from one popular destination: Europe. They are opting for somewhere closer to home.

Bali is by far the most popular destination at the moment, with 90,000 searches in the last seven days, up by 24 per cent compared to three years ago.

This is more than double the queries for London, which had 40,000 searches in the same period.

A Bali trip is also being heavily favored over places like Singapore, which also had 40,000 searches in comparison.

Queries for Fiji are also on the rise, with 20,000 in the past week, which is a massive 41 per cent increase compared to three years ago.

Sarah Quinlan is one of the people choosing to holiday closer to home, with her family flying out to Fiji on Saturday.

She told news.com.au the main driver behind their destination of choice was the shorter flight time and closeness to home.

“Having two young children we wanted to experience a different culture, with beautiful weather and beaches that felt safe, and Fiji ticked all the boxes for us,” she said.

This will be their first family holiday since Australia’s international borders reopened, with the Melbourne woman saying Virgin Australia had some attractive flights and accommodation packages to Fiji that coincided with school holidays.

Ms Quinlan said many of her friends and family were also opting for holidays closer to home.

“We had two friends arrive home from Fiji last week and another friend off to Bali this week,” she said.

One of the other big reasons many Aussies seem to be opting for trips closer to home is because of the price difference.

A return economy flight for a two adults and two children from Sydney to Bali with Virgin costs $2312, which is 66 per cent cheaper than a $6900 family while a return Qantas flight from Sydney to London for a family.

Flying a family from Melbourne to Fiji return with Virgin costs $2336, 73 per cent cheaper than $8668 in return Qantas flights from Melbourne to Los Angeles.

Flying your family return from Brisbane to Hawaii with Jetstar will cost you about $4272, while a Virgin return trip from Brisbane to Vanuatu will be 63 per cent cheaper at $1549.

Virgin’s Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer, Alistair Hartley, told news.com.au that demand for leisure travel is well over pre-Covid levels.

“We know people want to get out and explore Australia and the world, including the incredible destinations we have on our doorstep,” he said.

“Right now people want to go anywhere with sun. Prior to international borders opening domestic travelers were flocking to QLD, the sunshine state.”

Demand for travel, particularly to Bali, are increasing across the board, with Jetstar also seeing a huge increase in flight bookings to the island since relaunching flights on March 14.

The airline has been seeing an even stronger demand for Bali flights than pre-Covid years, with booking during April up 25 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.

While Bali definitely seems to be one of the most popular destinations across the board, there are still some Aussies who want a European summer after missing out for the past two years.

At the moment, the most popular Europe flights with Qantas are for London and Rome.

The current trends point to a positive outlook for travel in the coming months, with demand expected to continue to increase.

“Fiji booking numbers are already in line with 2019 which is great to see and at the moment Bali’s bookings are coming in more than double that of 2019,” Mr Hartley said.

“We’re seeing more and more destinations welcome back international travellers, and we’re seeing demand continue to increase.

“In response, we’ve announced a growing list of Short Haul International routes as well as some amazing partnerships with the likes of United Airways, Qatar Airlines, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Air Canada and Hawaiian Airlines and the list goes on.”

Mr Hartley said Virgin was also planning to resume services to both Vanuatu and Samoa.

His advice to Aussies wanting to take an overseas holiday was to “just book”.

“Go ahead and lock in that trip. There has never been a better time to have great holidays at great value,” he said.

“We’re focused on value and choice for travellers, this means offering the best value in the market with some of our airfares almost 70 per cent cheaper than our competitors.

“For example, we have an incredible sale on now with our Set Your Sights Overseas sale, including discounts of up to 30 per cent on offer for over 70,000 seats on all of Virgin Australia’s Short Haul International routes including routes to Bali, Vanuatu, Samoa and Fiji.”

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