Strike now while the Aus­tralian dol­lar is still stretch­ing the dis­tance

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - MERRY KIRK­WOOD

THE num­ber of Aus­tralians head­ing over­seas has in­creased more than 10 per cent over the past 12 months com­pared with the same pe­riod last year, ac­cord­ing to lat­est fig­ures from the Aus­tralian Bureau of Sta­tis­tics.

A joint Ex­pe­dia and NAB For­eign Ex­change Rank­ing re­leased last month shows the Aus­tralian dol­lar at that time had soared 22 per cent against the Turk­ish lira and 18 per cent against the Tan­za­nian shilling. Our currency also per­formed well in Asia, climb­ing 16 per cent against the dong (Viet­nam) and 12 per cent against the baht (Thai­land). Other top 10 ‘‘value’’ des­ti­na­tions with favourable ex­change rates in­clude Ar­gentina, Hong Kong and the US.

‘‘The Aus­tralian dol­lar . ben­e­fits from the on­go­ing


. re­sources boom and high com­mod­ity prices,’’ says NAB currency strate­gist Emma Law­son.

De­spite its volatil­ity, she says the dol­lar is ex­pected to ‘‘re­main rel­a­tively strong com­pared to his­tor­i­cal lev­els’’.

At the same time, the price of ho­tel rooms in var­i­ous cities across the world de­creased in the first half of the year due to global in­sta­bil­ity, nat­u­ral dis­as­ters and the ef­fects of currency fluc­tu­a­tions, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Ho­ Ho­tel Price In­dex, which com­pares in­ter­na­tional room rates at six-month in­ter­vals.

Av­er­age tar­iffs, when pur­chased in Aus­tralian currency, fell by 33 per cent in Ky­oto, Ja­pan, for ex­am­ple, while in the US, San Diego ho­tels were down by 19 per cent.

In Europe, falls were com­par­a­tively smaller, with Lon­don rates de­creas­ing 4 per cent.

We can ex­pect fur­ther currency weak­ness if global volatil­ity per­sists. Law­son pre­dicts, ‘‘The US dol­lar is likely to be stronger across the board but Aus­tralians may still find it rel­a­tively cheap to travel to South­east Asia and east­ern Europe.’’

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