Tourists lured overseas by dollar

THE strong Aussie dollar is fuelling a boom in overseas travel, which is becoming cheaper by the day.

Almost one-in-two Australians who are planning to holiday this year will head to a foreign country, according to a new travel survey.

The survey, conducted by Byron Bay online travel company Totaltravel, asked visitors to its site: “What type of traveller will you be in 2010?”

Forty-six per cent of the 771 people who voted said they would be going overseas, motivated mainly by the strength of the dollar.

Another 24pc said they would be ‘cheap and cheerful’ travellers in 2010, and planned driving and camping holidays in Australia.

Seeing their home country was a high priority for 21pc of respondents.

One such couple is Peter and Colleen Smyth, of Grafton, who are holidaying in Brunswick Heads.

Mr Smyth said it was perhaps his 40th holiday in the seaside town, which he has been visiting since he was a boy.

Between these ‘on-and-off’ visits he had travelled overseas with his wife five times in the past 20 years, including to Europe, Canada, the US, Indonesia and Fiji.

He said he was not tempted by the savings to be made because of the exchange rate.

“It would have been nice if the rate was like this when I was in the US,” he said. “When I visited the dollar was worth US69¢ or US70¢.”

Mr Smyth said he would like to go to New Zealand at some time, but he thought the ‘big trips’ were behind him. However, if the opportunity came up he would go, he said.

Totaltravel global marketing manager Paul Fisher said it was easy to see why people were being lured overseas.

“After cutting back for the last 12 months, Australian travellers are eager to see more of the world, and there’s no better time to do so than now,” Mr Fisher said.

“The Aussie dollar is strong, overseas airfares and accommodation are cheap and there is a confidence in the economy.”

There were some unbelievable deals available, Mr Fisher said. “Many overseas packages are even more affordable than some domestic packages on offer,” he said.

  •  46pc of Australian travellers plan to go abroad.
  •  The Australian dollar was trading at US$0.927, £0.568GBP and €0.64 yesterday.
  •  A flight to Los Angeles would cost under $1000.

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