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MONEY MAY be too tight to mention but most Aussies are still planning that dream holiday.

American Express Travel has just released its 2023 Global Travel Trends Report revealing that despite growing economic stressors, Aussies are still placing a high priority on travel.

The report says Aussies are planning on spending the most on leisure travel in 2023, compared to Canada, India, Japan, Mexico, the UK and America.

The findings include:

  • Aussies are planning to spend around $7,740.15 on their getaways this year
  • 76 per cent of Aussies see leisure travel as an important budget priority for the year ahead
  • 97 per cent of Aussies plan on taking at least one trip in 2023
  • 89 per cent of Aussies are planning on spending more or the same amount of money on travel than last year.

The report also indicates that although Aussies are prioritising holidays this year, they are also looking at ways they can make their money stretch further: 

  • 42 per cent of Aussies state they are interested in staying with friends and family while travelling 
  • 38 per cent note they are interested in looking at vacation rentals for their upcoming travels, stating saving money (61 per cent), and opportunities to make home-cooked meals (60 per cent) as reasoning for this choice of accommodation.


The report also highlighted four global trends inspiring people to travel this year:

The Rise of “Set-Jetting”: Popular movies, TV shows and social media are inspiring people to travel to places they see onscreen, like Italy, Paris, Yellowstone and London

Delicious Destinations: From top restaurants to local favourites to cooking classes, people are choosing their next destination based on what they’ll eat

A Wellness Wave: Restorative holidays are on the rise as travellers prioritise self-care and mental and physical health

Traveling Off the Beaten Path: Travelers want to discover hidden gems and support the local community when they visit.

“Vacations are precious, and travellers are prioritising personalized itineraries built around their passions, from planning an entire vacation for a single dinner reservation to getting the perfect video for TikTok,” says Audrey Hendley, President of American Express Travel.


THE WINNER of a national search to find ‘Australia’s Happiest Person’ has been named – and it’s a star-jumping retiree and travel fan.

Melbourne resident Paula Simpson started doing star jumps 10 years ago to create a fun timeline of her travels and adventures, and she hasn’t looked back.

“I’ve always loved to travel and visit new places, whether with my partner of 36 years, my three kids and seven grandkids or my friends – it’s the ultimate way to have a laugh and make great memories together,” said Paula.

When she’s not on the move, Paula loves surfing, playing basketball, riding her yellow Vespa, hanging out with family and friends, and playing with her grandkids.

Paula receives a holiday for every season at an Oaks property of her choice nationwide.

“As a keen traveller, we’re confident she’ll enjoy star jumping in some new locations – and we look forward to seeing her put a smile on the faces of other guests with her own unique brand of happiness,” said Melissa Rodrigues, Oaks Hotels’ Group Director Brand and Marketing.


TWO AUSSIE locations have made it onto a prestigious list of the ‘World’s Greatest Places of 2023′.

TIME magazine revealed its third annual list recently, naming 50 of the most desirable spots on the planet.

The list was compiled from the magazine’s international network of correspondents and contributors, with an eye toward those offering new and exciting experiences.

Baillie Lodges flagship property Southern Ocean Lodge on the west coast of South Australia’s Kangaroo Island was named, proving a timely morale boost as the team prepare to reopen the property in December.

“We are full steam ahead on the build on the coast of Kangaroo Island and we can’t wait to reopen Southern Ocean Lodge and welcome guests back to this special part of the world once again,” said Mr Baillie.

As it prepares to host the Summer 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Brisbane was also named on the list.

The magazine highlighted some of Brisbane’s leading urban experiences, including premium dining and retail precinct James Street, and the highly anticipated Queen’s Wharf Brisbane; a new $3.6 billion entertainment and leisure destination nearing completion on Brisbane’s River edge.

“While this is a fantastic accolade for our city, it’s also about time!” said Adrian Schrinner, Brisbane Lord Mayor.

“It’s no accident that Brisbane is the fastest growing capital city in the country with people from southern states recognising that our city’s incredible climate, lifestyle and liveability is second to none.”


DISNEY CRUISE Line will welcome guests to a new family-friendly destination in The Bahamas for the first time next year.

Lighthouse Point is located on the island of Eleuthera and promises to be a celebration of Bahamian culture, but with a commitment to conservation at its core.

At least 90 per cent of the destination’s electricity will come via an onsite solar array, the pier was designed to avoid the need for dredging and elevated walkways will help limit impact on the landscape.

Visitors can relax at the expansive family beach on the east side of the island, which will be centrally located near market-style dining, recreation and other facilities.

Children aged three to 12 can play at a themed kids’ club under the care of highly trained Disney Cruise Line counsellors. It will also include a splash pad inspired by undersea creatures from The Little Mermaid.

North of the family area will be an adult-exclusive beach, complete with a dedicated dining area for convenient access to food and drinks throughout the day, plus six private cabanas available for hire. Another beach will offer 20 premium family cabanas, including four doubles that accommodate larger groups and offer massage services.

A Bahamian art and culture pavilion featuring special programs and local artists will provide opportunities to learn and celebrate the traditions and natural beauty of The Bahamas.

Additional activities will include a covered gaming pavilion, a volleyball court and gaga ball pit, watercraft and bicycle rentals, and nature trails for hiking and biking. A collection of Port Adventures developed in partnership with local tour operators will take guests beyond Lighthouse Point to explore the rich culture and beauty of Eleuthera.

Lighthouse Point will open for guests on select sailings in summer 2024.


IT WILL be a season of firsts for one cruise line having announced their Exotic Itineraries Collection for the 2024/25 season.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) will make inaugural calls to destinations in Bahrain, Cook Islands, Egypt and Japan. The line will also celebrate the debut of Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Sky in Asia.

With this new season of itineraries from October 2024 through December 2025, NCL is expanding its voyages to Antarctica, South America, Africa, Asia, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand by 37 per cent.

“Our guests are craving longer, immersive and more unique itineraries that take them off the beaten path,” said Harry Sommer, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line.

Notable itineraries include NCL’s maiden call to Bahrain, its first dedicated Middle East sailing. Guests can enjoy a seven-day cruise on Norwegian Sun from Doha to Dubai, departing April 12, 2025. 

An overnight stay in Abu Dhabi provides travellers with more time to explore the culturally rich destination. In addition, the voyage includes visits to Dammam, Manama, Dubai and Sir Bani Yas, the largest natural island southwest of Abu Dhabi.

Also happening for the first time, NCL will call to Akita during Norwegian Sun’s 12-day roundtrip sailing from Tokyo, embarking on October 23.

She will be joined in region by Norwegian Spirit, who will embark on a new repositioning voyage from Australia to Asia on December 7, followed by her first voyage in Asia on December 21.