Asian island ‘blossoms’ South Aussies’ hottest travel spot

23 February, 2024

Japan is the fastest growing holiday destination among South Aussie travellers, according to RAA Travel’s list of top 10 trending destinations heading into 2024.

Bookings to the Land of the Rising Sun were up by almost 300% last year, seeing it top the list of overseas destinations that had the biggest year-on-year growth in 2023.

RAA Travel General Manager Gina Norman said South Australians were turning to Japan for an immersive cultural experience, with an affordable price tag.

“Japan is still largely undiscovered by many South Australian travellers, and many are now realising just how much there is to explore,” Ms Norman said.

“It’s a fantastic destination because it’s extremely safe, it’s tourist friendly, and it offers rich cultural experiences, fascinating history and amazing food.

“And at a time when many household budgets are tightening, the fact you can generally get a return trip there for around half the price of a trip to Europe is leading to unprecedented levels of demand.”

Ms Norman said Japan’s most popular drawcards include some of the best skiing opportunities in the world, Tokyo with its many city centres and Tokyo Disneyland, the annual Cherry Blossom season in spring, the city of Kyoto and the iconic Mount Fuji.

Among the rest of the top 10 trending destinations, Vietnam and France rounded out the podium, with year-on-year growth of 183% and 176% respectively:

  1. Japan (294% growth)
  2. Vietnam (183%)
  3. France (176%)
  4. Italy (135%)
  5. Greece (110%)
  6. Netherlands (85%)
  7. Germany (83%)
  8. Spain (82%)
  9. Ireland (78%)
  10. Indonesia (50%)

Ms Norman said while New Zealand and the UK were always two of the most popular destinations for South Aussies, they had lower year-on-year growth due to a strong 2022, when the re-opening of borders saw travellers rush there to reunite with friends and family.

“Last year was the first post-Covid year that many travellers looked further afield for a holiday offering a new experience and an exciting escape from the day-to-day,” Ms Norman said.

“That’s one reason we saw demand for Vietnam spike – and with VietJet now offering trips there via Perth, we expect it to become even more of a hotspot for South Aussies in 2024.

“France (3rd place) is always a popular inclusion in those European summer trips during our winter, as are Italy (4th), Greece (5th) and Germany (7th).

“The success of Emily in Paris on Netflix might also be the reason for an increase in demand for France.

“The Netherlands (6th) also welcomed a huge number of travellers last year as it is a starting point for many European River Cruises, which are absolutely booming at the moment.”