RIS­ING SUN A RIS­ING STAR

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - TRAVEL NEWS - ROWENA RYAN AND MELINDA BROWN­ING

For years, Bali has been the No.1 over­seas hol­i­day spot for Aussies over the peak sum­mer hol­i­day pe­riod, but this year, an­other des­ti­na­tion is fast emerg­ing as a favourite for Aus­tralian trav­ellers – Ja­pan.

The top 10 most pop­u­lar sum­mer hol­i­day spots for Aus­tralian trav­ellers has re­mained rel­a­tively sta­ble in re­cent years, with Bali lead­ing the pack among in­ter­na­tional des­ti­na­tions, fol­lowed by Bangkok and Sin­ga­pore.

How­ever, 2017 has seen Tokyo push Sin­ga­pore out of its top-three po­si­tion, ac­cord­ing to a fore­cast by travel book­ing site Agoda. Tokyo first ap­peared in Agoda’s top 10 sum­mer des­ti­na­tions for Aus­tralian trav­ellers last year, rank­ing No.8, and this year has seen its pop­u­lar­ity sky­rocket.

Although Bali re­mains at No.1, for now – de­spite weeks of un­cer­tainty amid vol­canic ac­tiv­ity and sub­se­quent erup­tion lead­ing to flight can­cel­la­tions – an­a­lysts pre­dict the huge growth in Ja­pan in­ter­est could soon see it ri­val the In­done­sian is­land.

Spurred on by more cheap flights and con­nec­tions, Aus­tralians are flock­ing to the coun­try, says Andrew Mul­hol­land, Wendy Wu Tours man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for Aus­tralia and New Zealand. “We’ve seen huge growth in Ja­pan book­ings in 2017, of over 55 per cent,” Mul­hol­land says. Vis­i­tor num­bers are tipped to grow even more in com­ing years, he says, with Ja­pan set to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympics.

And travel search site KAYAK has recorded a spike of 33 per cent in searches for Tokyo, mak­ing it one of the fastest-grow­ing des­ti­na­tions among Aus­tralians, and the most pop­u­lar hol­i­day spot af­ter Bali.

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