More families take home a holiday - batteries deliberately not included

Forget Bali, Fiji and Thailand. Australian families are being urged in a $3.5 million advertising blitz by Tourism Australia to take an Aussie beach holiday instead.

The advertising blitz, starting on television, in print and at the cinema this weekend, highlights the benefits of beach holidays, including the ability to be entertained "without batteries".

"We aim to remind Australians that the benefits they most want from a family holiday - things like safety, quality time, freedom and space - are all available right here in our own country, at the beach," Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said.

The latest National Visitor Survey shows domestic tourism as a whole has grown by 1 per cent in the past 12 months, but the family segment has risen by more than 6 per cent.

Tourism Australia figures indicate the Australian love affair with overseas coastal destinations is on the wane, with outbound family travel falling "significantly" over the past 18 months.

Family trips to Fiji have dropped from an overall growth of 15 per cent a year in 2008-11 to 2 per cent last year and for Indonesia from 35 per cent to 3 per cent, according to Tourism Australia.

"Australians are now taking 10 times more trips in their own country than overseas, and it's particularly pleasing to see more Australian families choosing to holiday in their own country," Mr McEvoy said.

Wendy Buckley, the managing director of Travel with Kidz, has seen a definite swing back to family travel within Australia, with its domestic sales on the rise.

"We went down at least a third in our sales for the past four years because of cheap overseas airfares and concerns over value-for-money and satisfaction in Australia," she said. "But people may now be tired of the international flight burden, and the industry [hotels, resorts] has been working hard at improving service levels."


Sydney-based Samantha O'Connor is among the thousands of Australians who head to the beach each summer. Samantha, husband Luke and children Sienna, 6, and Lincoln, 3, holiday at the beach about three times a year, ranging from a long weekend to two weeks.

"We've holidayed at beaches here and in Fiji and Thailand," she said. "The overseas beaches are not as beautiful but they have the same relaxed atmosphere that we like."

She nominates Batemans Bay and Kiama as their favourite Australian beaches. "The attraction for us is the quietness. It is relaxed and not busy. We love the freedom the kids get; they just go exploring and collecting shells for hours at a time.

"We pitch a tent and love the sea air and the beach way of life. We love being in the outdoors.

"For me, it is all about sitting and relaxing. It brings back childhood memories of being on holiday and being in swimwear all day, from the moment I would wake up until I went back to bed again."

Ms Buckley said Jetstar and Virgin Australia were also helping domestic tourism bounce back.

"They are absolutely hot on each other's heels to get market share and are very good value to beach destinations like the Gold Coast," she said.


Gold Coast (Queensland)

Tropical North Queensland

Whitsundays (Queensland)

Broome/Exmouth/Ningaloo Reef (Western Australia)

Fleurieu Peninsula/ Kangaroo Island (South Australia)

Freycinet Peninsula /Wineglass Bay (Tasmania)

Source: Tourism Australia