Travel radar: Hobart hot despite strong $AUD, Aussies discovering Egypt,

Hotel search engine, HotelsCombined.com.au, announced its analysis of what’s going on in Australian travel for the Christmas season of 2010. Site statistics indicate the usual seasonal tendencies but reveal some unexpected and new trends emerging for the local industry.

"The industry knows that popular destinations like the Gold Coast always experience rate rises in the holiday season, but the news this time is that Hobart is emerging as an alternative holiday destination gently commanding higher rates," said Michael Doubinski, General Manager of Hotels Combined.

Sites statistics indicate the forward-looking nightly rate for Hobart in summer is A$165, up from A$135 in spring (18% increase). The only other major cities to experience a rise of that size are Cairns and the Gold Coast, whereas average prices in other major metropolitan cities remain flatter for the same period. Destinations that sleep year round including Port Douglas and Port Stephens, continue to experience the seasonal boost though have been unable to shake the Gold Coast’s market position.

The Hotelscombined.com.au analysis also provides perspectives on outbound tourism. The prevalent trend of Australians visiting Asia continues, but with a twist. From January to September 2010, Thailand welcomed more than 500,000 Australian visitors, up by 10.5% over 2009. But now Bangkok and Phuket are being challenged by Chiang Mai and Koh Samui, with an increasing number of Australians interested in these alternative destinations.

"We are positioning Phuket clients … to explore other parts of Thailand. Phuket is a complete destination in itself but don’t let the fun stop there … There is no reason to end your holiday on the island when all it takes is just another short flight of no more than one hour to Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, or Bangkok, or rent a car to visit the beautiful beaches of Krabi and Trang nearby,” said Mr Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The Philippines is also being picked up by the radar, in particular Makati City and Boracay. The Philippines is usually shunned in favour of Singapore and Malaysia, but Makati City and Boracay are standout destinations, with Makati City debuting in November 2010 as one of the top 30 most searched destinations. This coincides with Jetstar’s new Darwin-Manila route, which offers Australians one of the cheapest entries into Asia at A$199 each way. 

Egypt has not traditionally been a major tour partner of Australia. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) estimate that just 60,000 Australians visit Egypt, a miniscule portion of the 6 million outbound Australian travellers and 12.5 million international visitors (a 18.7% increase) to Egypt each year. However, Hotelscombined.com.au has identified that recently more Australians are selecting both Sharm el-Sheikh and Cairo as their choice destination, with these cities debuting in December 2010 in the top 40 most searched destinations. Senior Assistant Tourism Minister of Egypt, Hisham Zaazou, cited plans to establish a new office in Australia or New Zealand to further tap into the Oceania region markets.

“The travel landscape is in a constant state of flux with currency fluctuations and discretionary competitive tactics giving travellers so much choice. Hotelscombined.com.au is uniquely positioned to be at the pulse of consumer choice and quickly identify industry shifts,” added Doubinski.

Source = Hotels Combined
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