Ho ho home will be the hot des­ti­na­tion for 2013

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Holiday Reading Special -

CHRIST­MAS is a time for fes­tiv­i­ties, but it should also be a chance to con­sider next year’s trav­els.

To help with your hol­i­day plan­ning, travel in­dus­try veter­ans give their opin­ions on what the hot des­ti­na­tions will be in 2013.

be­lieves Peter Jack­son’s The Hob­bit will be ‘‘an ab­so­lute pearler’’ for New Zealand, with tourists flock­ing on the back of Welling­ton be­ing the set­ting for the much-an­tic­i­pated film. Queens­land, too —‘‘in the ab­sence of any dis­as­trous weather events’’ — will be pop­u­lar, as will Tas­ma­nia, which con­tin­ues to go from strength to strength, par­tic­u­larly with Ho­bart’s ec­cen­tric Mu­seum of Old and New Art (Mona).

‘‘I think the United States con­tin­ues to be ex­tremely pop­u­lar, along with the South Pa­cific,’’ he adds. ‘‘And if the euro con­tin­ues to drop, it will be an­other big win­ter for Aus­tralians vis­it­ing Europe.’’ Cruis­ing hol­i­days, too, con­tinue to get strong book­ings. be­lieves next year will see Aus­tralians re­dis­cov­er­ing their own coun­try. With ‘‘in­cred­i­ble prod­uct like the Saf­fire Fr­eycinet re­sort and Mona’’, Tas­ma­nia re­mains a hot ticket, par­tic­u­larly as it is a ‘‘great drive des­ti­na­tion’’.

‘‘I would also ar­gue that Arn­hem Land is one of the world’s great tourism ex­pe­ri­ences and, be­cause it is hard to get to and fairly ex­pen­sive, would-be hol­i­day­mak­ers should start plan­ning now.’’ McEvoy be­lieves Kan­ga­roo Is­land is ‘‘Aus­tralia’s an­swer to the Gala­pa­gos’’.

‘‘On Kan­ga­roo Is­land there is noth­ing be­tween you and the Antarc­tic, which rep­re­sents a very sim­ple hol­i­day. I am go­ing there in Jan­uary with my fam­ily.’’

2013 will be all about Bangkok and Phuket. ‘‘They have the rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing five-star heaven for three-star prices. Viet­nam comes a close sec­ond, again be­cause you can get a fives­tar room for $100 a night. How can you com­pete with that?’’ Lo­cally, Hook be­lieves city events will drive vis­i­tor num­bers. ‘‘Whether it be a new stage play, or a sport­ing event, such as the Ashes coming to Aus­tralia, peo­ple are go­ing to take more and more short breaks in Aus­tralia.’’

agrees that Thai­land is ‘‘al­ways a win­ner’’.

Hua Hin, three hours south of Bangkok, has great food, mar­kets, mas­sages, Thai hos­pi­tal­ity and a less­in­tense at­mos­phere than other Thai hotspots such as Phuket, he says. Gold­man rec­om­mends the Hy­att Re­gency at Hua Hin which, at the equiv­a­lent of about $135 a night, is cheap com­pared with many other South­east Asian des­ti­na­tions.

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