Our dollar is roaring as Hong Kong celebrates Chinese new year
Youdon’t need to wear goldhooped earrings and change your name to Mystic Maria to work out the travel trends for 2012. Just put aside that crystal ball and look at the buoyancy of the Australian dollar.
We will be jetting off to anywhere our money has buying power, and that means great swaths of the globe, from neighbours New Zealand and Fiji and countries where the euro reigns to the US and destinations where currency is pegged to its greenback, such as Hong Kong.
I am just back from Hong Kong, in fact, and, call me oldfashioned or easily pleased, but what a thrill to see our currency outperforming the US dollar on those illuminated noticeboards at foreign exchange booths. Even more pleasing is to race into the glossy stores along Kowloon’s Nathan and Canton roads and be politely asked if you’d prefer to pay by credit card in Australian or Hong Kong dollars. Take that, Visa and Mastercard exchange conversion folk, with your pesky extra charges.
Hong Kong is a city of doers, energy and purpose seems to rise like steam here, and everything was looking shiny and golden last week in preparation for Chinese new year and the propitious arrival of the dragon, the most important zodiac sign. And 2012 will mean more Australians heading there as Qantas has just started A380 services on selected days from Sydney. Passengers on the inaugural flight received a fortune cookie with the obligatory message of encouragement inside. Mine suggested much health and happiness, as is the jolly norm.
Meanwhile, the fortune teller I consulted in the backblocks of Kowloon looked me up and down, checked my shopping, which included a new overnight bag, and predicted I would have a very good time in the dragon’s special year. In fact, he said, I would go far.
It’s a generic prediction for most of us in 2012 and not good news for Australia’s domestic tourism industry, but such is our destiny, at least for now.