Australians Prefer Bali Holiday Over WA Visit

Balangan Beach Sunset (Image courtesy of Travel Junkie Indonesia) – Aussies are vacationing in droves overseas with New Zealand, the U.S. and Indonesia as their favourite destinations. Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that in 2011, Australians made 7.8 million international trips.

The strong dollar which provided Australian travelers higher purchasing power when overseas as well as budget flights were the reasons why they opted to spend their holiday abroad instead of local destinations.

On top of their favoured hideaways are resort island Bali in Indonesia as well as other Asian nations known for their beautiful beaches such as Thailand and the Philippines. As a result, travel for other traditional vacation destinations for Aussies such as Japan, South Africa and Canada declined.

Travel to Thailand grew by 23 per cent, to the Philippines by 20 per cent and to the U.S. almost 17 per cent. Other destinations that are becoming Aussie favourites are Vietnam, India and France.

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Australians are avoiding another tropical destination, Fiji, because of the political unrest in the island-paradise, while they also opt out of Japan due to nuclear fears caused by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

However, the outbound destination of Australians hurt local tourism, worsened by lower international visitor arrival by two million tourists.

John Lee, chief executive of Tourism and Transport Forum, warned that many leisure tourism operators in Australia have an uncertain future with the travel trend particularly as the Australian currency is projected to remain strong for some time and as businesses pour more investments in resorts in southeast Asia.

Among local destinations, Western Australia attracts the biggest number of short-term overseas holidaymakers at a rate of 494 movements for every 1,000 people. It is higher than the 345 average in Australia.

Evan Hall, chief executive of the Tourism Council of WA, partly attributed the extreme popularity of Bali to Aussies to the mining boom which placed a lot of extra cash on the hands of miners and their families. He also pointed to the proliferation of low-cost carriers bound for Bali.

Although WA offers really good value deals, local tourism operators lack funds to market themselves, Mr Hall added.

The proximity of Bali to Australia also makes it an ideal destination for holidaymakers since it just takes three hours air trip from Perth to reach the Indonesian island known for its beaches and ancient temples. Despite terrorist bombing incidents in 2002 and 2005 which made the Australian and several governments issue travel warnings to Bali, the resort-island continues to attract Aussie visitors.

It helped that part of the movie version of Eat, Pray, Love was shot at the Ubud and Padang-Padang Beach in Bali which explains the continued growth of holidaymakers to island. In 2010, Bali welcomed 2.5 million visitors, up from 2.2 million in 2009 and 1.96 million in 2008.

Bali was ranked by BBC as one of the World’s Best Islands, second to Greece.

While the entry of budget carrier Scoot with five directly weekly flights between Singapore and Gold Coast beginning mid June is expected to boost tourist arrival to Queensland, the air carrier with its lower plane fares would also be used by outbound Australian tourists for other Asian destinations.

Scoot, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, plans to fly eventually to China and India in Asia and to Melbourne. By 2015 the air carriers plans to add four more jets to include New Zealand, Europe, North Asia and the Gulf states as future destinations.


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This is a Guest Post (Vittorio Hernandez).