Top 10 best-value OS destinations

THE strong Australian dollar is driving a record increase in the number of Australians travelling abroad as more and more globe-trotting Aussies head overseas to stretch their travel dollars further.

"It's a very exciting time to be an Aussie travelling overseas because our currency is at near-record highs against, not only the US Dollar, but many of the world's major and minor currencies," Expedia, marketing manager Amee Evans said.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show overseas departures at near-record highs - increasing more than 10% in the seven months to July, compared with the same period last year.

To make it easy for travellers to determine where they can stretch their travel budgets farther, online travel company Expedia, has partnered with National Australia Bank, to launch the Expedia® NAB Travellers' Foreign Currency Rankings.

The Expedia NAB Travellers' Foreign Currency Rankings compares the performance of the Australian dollar, against the world's currencies over a 12-month period, to reveal the top 10 best-value destinations for Australian travellers.

Turkey ranked at the top of the dollar-stretching list, with the Australian dollar soaring 22% against the Turkish Lira over the last 12 months. The Australian dollar also took flight against the Tanzanian Shilling (up 18%) and the Argentine Peso (up 14%).

The Aussie dollar performed well in Asia, with Vietnam and Thailand - both short-haul favourite with Aussies wanting a tropical beach break - ranking third and fifth respectively on the list. Our currency climbed 16% against the dong (Vietnam) and 12% against the baht (Thailand), 11% against the Hong Kong dollar and three% against the Singaporean dollar.

Expedia has experienced an increase in the number of internet searches for destinations in Thailand and Vietnam increase by 73% and 66%respectively in the last 12 months.

The US, always on the most loved destination list for Australians, scraped into the top 10, with the Aussie dollar rising 10 per against the greenback. In the last 12 months, Expedia has seen bookings to the US increase by 41% as travellers take advantage of the strong dollar. The most popular destinations are Honolulu, up 59%, New York, also up 59% and Los Angeles, up 24%.

While the Euro and the British Pound failed to make the top 10, they still offer a compelling proposition for the value-seeking traveller. In the last 12 months, the Australian dollar appreciated eight per cent against the pound and four per cent against the Euro. Buoyed by the modest increase in affordability, travellers continue to book trips to Europe and the UK. The most popular spots in Europe, according to Expedia are London, up 41%, Paris, up 40%and Rome, up 37%.

Amee Evans, marketing manager for Expedia Australia and New Zealand, said: "We are lucky our travel dollars are going further in destinations on every continent. Combined with the cheap travel deals on offer at the moment, an overseas holiday doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.

"Keeping an eye out for sales, being aware of flight booking fees, and being flexible with both your destination and travel dates are other ways travellers can make every dollar count." 

Among the few currencies against which the Aussie dollar lost ground in the last 12 months were the Swiss Franc (down five per cent) and the New Zealand Dollar (down two per cent).

Emma Lawson, Currency Strategist at National Australia Bank, commented: "The Australian Dollar has outperformed in the year as it benefits from the ongoing resource boom and high commodity prices.

"More recently it has been a little more volatile but we expect it to remain relatively strong compared to historical levels across a broad range of currencies due to Australia's AAA status, and continued support from the resources sector."

Best-value destinations based on how the Australian Dollar (AUD) has performed against major currencies in the past 12 months.

Rank currency AUD percentage gain

  1. Turkey (Lira) +22%
  2. Tanzania (Shilling) +18%
  3. Vietnam (Dong) +16%
  4. Argentina (Peso) +14%
  5. Thailand (Baht) +12%
  6. Iceland (Krona) +11%
  7. Hong Kong (Dollar) +11%
  8. USA (Dollar) +10%
  9. Pakistan (Rupee) +10%
  10. Philippines (Peso) +9%

   Source: National Australia Bank.

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