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Australians have 175 million days and $38 billion and we are in their sights


With nowhere to go Australians have racked up a record amount of annual leave of 175 million days, an increase of 15 per cent in a year, according to Roy Morgan.

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And they’re cashed up with about $38 billion that wasn’t spend on international travel in 2020, according to previous Commonwealth Bank studies.

Roy Morgan said the banked holidays provided a target for the tourism sector to aim for, particularly Queenslanders because about 25 per cent people saw the state as the likely destination for a stay of three days or more.

The Roy Morgan survey found more than the 175 million days’ leave was spread among eight million Australians in paid employment. It was also a record level.

It found 6.69 million Australians (about 52 per cent of paid workers) had at least two weeks of annual leave due, up from 6.14 million prior to the pandemic, while fewer than 1.38 million (10.8 per cent) had less than two weeks due.

The most common amount of accrued leave was between two to three weeks and 1.3 million workers had at least seven weeks of annual leave due, up from 1.26 million a year ago.

A large cohort of 4.74 million Australians (37 per cent of paid workers) had no annual leave due, up slightly from the 4.60 million (37.4 per cent) without any annual leave due pre-pandemic. The higher level of employment now compared to pre-pandemic means although there are now more paid workers with no annual leave entitlements this constitutes a smaller share of the overall number of employed Australians.

Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine said COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on the Australian economy and continued to heavily impact the local travel and tourism industry with international borders set to remain closed for another year according to the recent Federal Budget.

“The increasing numbers of Australians with long periods of annual leave due is likely directly related to the closure of international borders,’’ Levine said.

“Traditionally Australians are more likely to take shorter domestic holidays whereas overseas travel can last for many weeks, or even months.

“The fact Australia’s international borders are set to remain closed for another year presents a real opportunity for domestic travel agencies to appeal to the 6.69 million Australians with at least two weeks annual leave due to seriously consider taking a longer holiday in Australia – there will likely never be a better chance to see Australia than over the next 12 months.’’

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