For those who may be geography challenged, it takes a LONG time to get anywhere from Australia, other than to New Zealand! Yet most Australians travel, unlike some other countries. Look at the map – we are a long way from most other countries!
In the 12 months to June 2010, 6.8 million overseas trips were made by Australians, up from 2.1 million two decades earlier. In per capita terms, this was the equivalent to 31 trips overseas for every 100 Australian residents in 2009-10, up from 12 trips per 100 residents in 1989-90.
Quite a bit of travel, huh? Bear in mind the population. Australia’s population is a mere 22,801,350. Check the population clock as it may have changed by the time you read this! Almost 70% of Australians have a passport, many of us have two passports; myself included. I could have three, but I think that is a bit of overkill really. Two will do!
By comparison, only 30% of Americans have a passport! That is an increase due to the new requirements for Canada and Mexico. There are 314,159,265 Americans!
The numbers tell the story: Of the 308 million-plus citizens in the United States, 30% have passports.
There were 61.5 million trips outside the United States in 2009, down 3% from 2008, according to the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries. About 50% of those trips were to either Mexico or Canada, destinations that didn’t require a passport until 2007
Well, I don’t consider travelling to Mexico or Canada to be travelling “overseas”! 😆
When I was in Florida recently, Americans seem stunned we had travelled SO FAR to go to the conference. On the other hand, a couple of conference attendees told me they would do ANYTHING, anything, if I would give them a job in Australia!
The flight to New Zealand is, give or take, three hours. Bliss, really. Anywhere else? Loooonnnnnngggggggggg flights. 15 hours to Los Angeles from Melbourne. Want to go to FLorida? Add another 5 hours. 24 hours to London with a refuelling stop somewhere.
Then connections can be a drama. When I went to Nigeria to get married, I flew from Melbourne to Perth domestic: 3.5 hours. Perth to South Africa: 11.5 hours. South Africa to Nigeria: 5 hours. PLUS I had to spend about 12 hours sitting around Johannesburg airport. Next time I’ll fly Qatar airways via Doha!
Why on earth do we do it?
I believe it is for two reasons. First, Australians are an adventurous lot! Yes, we are! Kids get a trip as a graduation present or there is always the famous (infamous?) Contiki Tours for the 18 to 35 age group!
Secondly, so many of us were either not born here or are first generation Australians. Look back on I for Immigration for the numbers. We travel to visit uncles, aunts, cousins, parents. We travel for weddings, funerals, births, 50th birthdays.
I’ve been to Bali, Japan, the UK, New Zealand, the USA (5 times now), Nigeria and Qatar. I don’t count the two days spent in South Africa (there and back from Nigeria), I didn’t see anything!
Are you from a nation of travellers? Where have you been? How long did it take you to get there?
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