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       Ready for Take-off:      Analysis Determines Three of Australia’s Top 10 Travel Destinations as Safest Travel Bets.
Aiden Heike
4 November, 2021

Aiden Heke, Chief Executive Officer, Decision Inc. Australia

Decision Inc. unveils findings and analysis amid the launch of its dynamic Pandemic Travel Risk Index which analyses quarantine stringency, vaccination rates, approved vaccines, and case number trends across 10 most popular Aussie tourist spots.

Canada, New Zealand, and Japan determined the safest bets to travel to with a level of normalcy; Fiji a possibility; Thailand to avoid for now.

With International travel from Australia set to become much easier with no exemptions required from today, and with it much more clarity provided to Australians around quarantine measures upon return, travellers are set to book flights at huge numbers to leave the country once again for business and pleasure.

Yet some nations are set to be more open to visiting Australians than others, with Canada, Japan, and New Zealand emerging as the ‘safest bets’ for Australians looking to both get past the custom gates and experience a level of relative freedom once there without significant exposure to COVID-19.

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This is according to leading independent data and analytics consultancy Decision Inc., which today launched its Pandemic Travel Risk Index. The Index tracks vaccination rates, case numbers per million, the stringency of quarantine measures, and the approved vaccines in the 10 most popular travel destinations of Australians (by revenue spent) to provide certainty to the travel sector as well as business and leisure travellers across the country.

Users will be able to scroll over a country on the map at the Decision Inc. website and be provided with vaccination rates, approved vaccines, and current quarantine measures in place.

According to its analysis of the environment around vaccinations, quarantine stringency measures, and case rates, Decision Inc. has ascertained that the three aforementioned nations offer the highest level of normalcy upon arrival.

Reviewing the analysis, Decision Inc. believes Thailand would be a destination to avoid in the immediate term, with a low vaccination rate, high cases numbers, and mid-level stringency measures indicating a slow return to normalcy. Conversely, Fiji may be a destination to watch with a climbing vaccination rate, a low infection rate, and top stringency measures which are able to bring COVID to heel quickly. The US is also worth considering with reasonable vaccination rates and case numbers, though this varies on a state-by-state basis.
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The Pandemic Travel Risk Index, available for viewing anytime on the Decision Inc. website from Thursday, November 4, lists out the vaccination rates, quarantine rules, and approved vaccines for multiple popular travel destinations across the world.

When combined with the data on current case rates and caseload trends (below) travellers can access the most relevant data and determine the ‘safest’ places to travel and experience freedom of movement.

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Australia's top travel destinations_Decision_Inc_Aus_
“Despite welcoming ‘Freedom Day’, we do not operate in a vacuum,” said Aiden Heke, CEO Australia, Decision Inc. “While the Australian government has been clear recently in its intent to open our borders and reduce the impact of quarantine on arrival back on our shores, the same doesn’t necessarily hold true of our most popular travel destinations.

“We all want to know our prospects of remaining healthy are as good or better at our destination than where we left, and Australia’s prospects for COVID-19 economic recovery is trending the right way.

With the Delta variant continuing to wreak havoc in some regions, travellers need to make educated choices if they are to enjoy their trip or undertake business without potentially looking at getting unavailable hospital bed treatment or having to quarantine for an extended period, even if double vaccinated.”


Narrowing the travel field

The Decision Inc. Pandemic Travel Risk Index is designed to inform business and leisure travellers alike where are the best places to travel without an extended quarantine period, where they are likely to make it through based on the vaccine they’ve had administered, and where they are least likely to be exposed to COVID-19.

The data analysed includes:

  • The approved vaccines in each country, an indicator of which borders are likely to allow our approved vaccines through customs;
  • The vaccination rates in each country;
  • Current Case Rates and whether they’re declining or trending upwards; and
  • Quarantine policy by country.
To narrow the focus of the analysis, Decision Inc. analysed the above indicators across Australia’s 10 most popular travel destinations according to ABS data released prior to the pandemic, ranked by the revenue each nation accrued from travelling Australians:

Approved Vaccines and Vaccination Rates: a key indicator of a sustained, open border


According to data compiled from publicly available sources, Decision Inc. developed the following dynamic Index which details the percentage of the population vaccinated, the approved vaccines in that nation, the population density, and new cases per million population.

So, while Singapore has a full vaccination rate of more than 80 percent, its cases continue to rise. Canada, while its vaccination rate is slightly lower at 73.9 percent, has a low case rate and its approved vaccines are identical to that of Australia.

“Many of us are desperate for a vacation or need to travel for business reasons and need to know if the countries program of COVID recovery is trending the right way,” said Heke. “No one wants to end up in a potentially unavailable hospital bed versus a pool side sun lounge, but it is, unfortunately, a potential issue that travellers need to consider, regardless of their vaccination status.”

Is it safe to travel? Three of 10 stand out

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Analysis of all the above factors has led Decision Inc. to determine that, as of today, New Zealand, Canada, and Japan offer the most certainty when it comes to experiencing some level of freedom on arrival.

“Should we travel, you ask? In our estimation, assuming the traveller has received the double vaccination required to travel to most destinations, the risk is worth it,” said Heke. “They just need to consider the risks in each destination but with Canada, New Zealand, and Japan among our largest tourist destinations, and Japan also being one of our largest business destinations, the risk is worth the reward in our estimation.

Conversely, the United Kingdom, despite a clear mandate from Government to “live with Covid” and with relatively few restrictions on the ground, has seen cases spiral to 661 new cases per million. And Singapore, despite topping the vaccination rates of analysed countries, has seen cases increase to 610 per million which, among a high-density population, poses risks to travellers and has seen lockdown measures be put in place there once again.

“Unpredictability is a constant reality of living in a world still experiencing a pandemic, even with vaccine availability increasing across the world,” said Heke. “But borders are open, and planes are set to take off again. It’s clear that people want to travel once again, if not for business or leisure then to visit loved ones they haven’t seen in two years. They just need to weigh the risks based on the available data.”


Unpredictability on a global scale: certainty needed for the Travel Sector


Australians here and abroad as well as Australia’s overall travel sector – from travel agents to pilots and every stakeholder in the value chain – have faced severe uncertainty with regards to travel arrangements since the beginning of the pandemic. And while the picture is becoming clearer, it remains opaque and prone to unpredictability, according to Heke.

“It’s been an incredible challenge to book a flight in to or out of Australia and know your pre-and post-trip quarantine status and costs, let alone the likelihood of the trip occurring,” he said. “This has left the travel sector in a state of economic decay for the past 18 months, yet this is a state not limited to Australia alone – though our hard border has left the effects much more pronounced than many others.”

“It is important to note that the world remains unpredictable, particularly with the delta variant and other variants of COVID-19 likely to emerge over the next year,” added Heke. “But our analysis will be ongoing and updated as new data and information emerges.”

The Decision Inc. Pandemic Travel Risk Index will be updated on a weekly basis through to 2022.


About Decision Inc. Australia

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Decision Inc. is a leading independent data and analytics consultancy which delivers value from data faster. We serve the Australian community and industry and believe great data and analytics expertise will underpin economic recovery and prosperity. We provide insights and accelerated business improvement capabilities to help our clients in their pursuit of progress.

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