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Taylors Wines

Sunday, 19 December 2021

Millions of Australians are refusing to go on holiday


Heading into the 2021-22 summer break Australians have a record amount of annual leave saved up with many holidays put off, or never even booked, since the pandemic began early last year.

New data from the Roy Morgan research company shows over 8.1 million Australians in paid employment now have over 185 million days of annual leave due - up from 149.5 million days a year ago  

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says Australians have been reluctant to take a break in the time of Covid: but that might mean hospitality venues and hotels are overwhelmed by demand if/when things return to normal.

There is also potential for workplace chaos should millions of workers ask to use their accrued leave at the same time.  

"The Covid-19 pandemic struck Australia in March 2020 and more than 18 months later the country is slowly emerging into the ‘Covid-normal’ period with a highly vaccinated population allowed to travel freely both around the country, and also overseas," Levine says 

The exception is Western Australia which is set to keep its borders largely closed until at least February 2022.

“Since the pandemic began the total amount of annual leave accrued by working Australians has steadily increased and reached a record high of over 185 million days in the 12 months to September 2021 when around 15 million Australians were in lockdown in NSW and Victoria," Levine says. 

This is up over 35 million days (+23.7%) from a year ago.

A closer look at how much annual leave Australians have accrued shows all time periods of annual leave due longer than two weeks have increased. Now 50.7% of Australia’s paid workers, 6.7 million people, have at least two weeks leave compared to 46% of paid workers a year ago.

There are now 1.39 million Australians who now have at least seven weeks of annual leave due – up from 1.22 million a year ago.

Although Australians are now (largely) free to travel around the country (although not to and from Western Australia), the international borders do remain largely closed to foreign tourists for the next few months at least.

“The continuing closure of the international borders to foreign tourists means it is more important than ever for domestic travel and tourism operators to appeal to the 6.7 million Australians who have at least two weeks of annual leave up their sleeve," Levine says.

“The largest markets of NSW and Victoria have been hardest hit by Covid-19 over the last two years and present the biggest opportunity for tourism operators in Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia to tap into over the next six months while international travel remains somewhat uncertain given the continuing pandemic.”

Image: Sasikumar Madheswaran, Scop.io

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