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Couples on holiday: two much fun or double trouble?

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January–December 2014 (n=10,440).

Last year, almost 13 million Australians aged 14+ took at least one holiday.  When asked who they mainly travelled with on their last trip, nearly a third (32%, or 4,126,000 people) reported going with their partner.  No wonder ‘couples holidays’ are big business in the tourism industry. But do couples actually behave any differently than anyone else when they’re on holiday? Well, yes, as a matter of fact.

According to the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research, people who take a holiday with their significant other are more likely than the average Australian holiday-goer to visit historical sites, go to museums and art galleries, go bushwalking, play poker machines, dine out at restaurants and go to the theatre — and that’s just for starters.

Among the activities that they are less likely to do on holiday, go to the movies, arts festivals or cultural events, visit a zoo or theme park, or go swimming or surfing.

Holiday activities: how couples compare to other travellers

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January–December 2014 (n=10,440).

The fact that the majority (59%) of Australian couples who took a holiday together last year were aged 50 and older suggests that many would be empty-nesters taking advantage of their newfound freedom from parental responsibility to hit the road.

(On the other hand, Australians from younger age groups comprise the majority of people who holiday as a family with children, with other family or family and friends, alone, with a friend or small group of friends, and with a school/university group.)

Angela Smith, Group Account Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“In 2014, Australians who reported taking their last trip with their partner outnumbered those who holidayed in any other ‘configuration’ (for example, as a family with children, solo, or with a friend). This obviously represents a major opportunity for tourism industry players, and many travel agents, resorts and hotels offer packages targeted at this segment. There is even a magazine dedicated to ‘couples holidays’.

“Our data shows that people who take holidays as a couple are more likely than the average Aussie traveller to engage in a diverse range of activities, from taking in natural scenery to going to the theatre, bushwalking and playing pokies. Certainly, some of these activities (pokies, for example) are not classic family favourites, but others — such as eating out or visiting museums — could conceivably be enjoyed just as much by families as couples.

“Having said that, couples on holiday are significantly less likely to participate in classic child-friendly pursuits like going to a zoo or a theme/amusement park.

“Travel agents and other tourism operators keen to succeed in the area of couples holidays need to understand their target market in depth, as their habits and preferences are not as cut-and-dried as one might initially think."

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%