This year we published the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on where Australians are heading for their overseas trips. New Zealand maintained its spot at the top of the list, followed by Indonesia and the US.
But what about Traveller's readers? According to our data, your travel tastes are a little more exotic. Based on where you are searching for on Traveller.com.au, Japan remains the favourite destination of readers, followed by Singapore, Bali, Vietnam and London.
The number of Australia visitors to Japan has surged in the past 10 years, up 340 per cent, with Australians taking more than 350,000 trips there in to September this year. Australians are flocking to the destination for the food, the skiing, the fascinating culture and the ease of travel. And there's no sign we're going to stop, with visitor numbers still on the rise.
The surprise for 2018 has been the rise in interest in Sri Lanka, which came in as our sixth most-searched destination. Since the end of the civil war in 2009, tourism has boomed in the south Asian country, with visitor numbers from Australia increasing more than 400 per cent over the past 10 years and hitting record numbers this year. This increased interest coincided with SriLankan Airlines resuming non-stop flights between Australia and Sri Lanka late last year.
The top 10 most-searched destinations on Traveller.com.au in 2018
- Sri Lanka
- Hong Kong
- New York
These were the most popular destinations, but what were the big travel stories of 2018?
We've looked at the stats from Traveller.com.au to see which travel stories were most popular with you, our readers, whether they were news, tips and advice, or tales from exotic destinations.
In the first half of the year, one story dominated reader interest – Qantas' launch of the first non-stop flights between Australia and London in March. It wasn't just the take-off of the inaugural flight that piqued interest – several stories looking at different aspects of the record-breaking trip featured in our most-read stories of the year, including what Qantas is doing to help passengers beat jet-lag on the route and what economy class passengers thought of the epic 17-hour haul.
Another record breaking flight also proved to be of huge interest to readers – the relaunch of the longest flight route in the world, Singapore to New York City non-stop, by Singapore Airlines.
The flights took off in October using an unusual Airbus A350 – the plane had no economy seats, just business and premium economy classes. Traveller writer Steve Meacham's hour-by-hour account of the flight was another of our most-read stories this year.
The other big story of 2018 has been the issue of "overtourism". Popular cities, such as Barcelona, Venice, Dubrovnik and Amsterdam, saw a rising backlash against tourism this year, as tourists numbers reached plague proportions. At Traveller, we've offered tips for readers still wanting to visit these fabulous cities, to help ensure you minimise your impact – visiting in low season, getting off the beaten track and behaving respectfully are just three. Intrepid Travel released its first Adventure Travel Index this year and it included a list of the countries with the highest ''overtourism'' rates – based on the number of tourists compared to the number of locals. Check them out in the table below.
Four years on from its launch, Traveller.com.au now has more than 40,000 articles online, covering more than 600 destinations across the globe, along with hundreds of airline reviews, thousands of hotel reviews and invaluable travel tips and advice from our expert writers.
So if you're ready to start planning your next year of travels, make Traveller.com.au your first destination.
The countries suffering the most from 'overtourism'
- Croatia (57,587,000 tourists to 4,170,600 locals – 1380.78%)
- Iceland (1,891,000 tourists to 334,250 locals – 565.74%)
- Hungary (52,890,000 tourists to 9,817,960 locals – 538.71%)
- Denmark (28,692,000 tourists to 5,731,120 locals – 500.64%)
- France (202,930,000 tourists to 66,896,110 locals – 303.35%)
- Czech Republic (30,915,000 tourists to 10,561,630 locals – 292.71%)
- Singapore (16,404,000 tourists to 5,607,280 locals – 292.55%)
- Cyprus (3,286,000 tourists to 1,170,130 locals – 280.82%)
- Greece (28,071,000 tourists to 10,746,740 locals – 261.20%)
- Spain (115,561,000 people to 46,443,960 locals – 248.82%)
Craig Platt is managing editor of Traveller.com.au