Aussies say 'Konnichiwa' as Japan tops the 2013 Expedia NAB Foreign Exchange Index

6 February 2013 releases its annual Foreign Exchange Index listing the top five emerging destinations for Australian travellers based on purchase power

With the Australian dollar currently strong against several of the world’s major currencies, Aussies are spoilt for choice as to where their next holiday should be. While the US and Europe are considered the ‘go-to’ destinations by many, the 2013 Expedia NAB Foreign Exchange Index released today, provides some food for thought, listing Japan at the top of the five emerging destinations which have seen the largest appreciation of the Australian dollar in the last year.

Top destinations based on the purchasing power of the Australian Dollar against other major currencies in the past 12 months:

Rank Currency AUD Percentage Gain
1 Japan +15.52
2 Brazil +8.20
3 South Africa +5.42
4 Indonesia +4.28
5 Argentina +2.53
6 Sri Lanka +1.47
7 Mauritius +0.73
8 USA +0.68
9 Hong Kong -1.53
10 China -1.70

Amee Evans, Expedia Travel Expert, the world's largest online travel company, says: “It's a great time to seize the moment and visit some of these destinations whilst the Aussie dollar can go further. But even before you exchange your Aussie dollars on ground; there are other ways you can ensure you get the best value all-round holiday with great deals on things such as flights and accommodation.”

“At we pride ourselves on seeking the best deals for every type of traveller. Tools such as our social media sites and email newsletters are great places to start as they keep you up to date on the latest offers available so you'll never miss a beat. And if you can be flexible with your travel dates too, then you’ll find your dollar can go even further when you hit the ground. My tip is to use this index as inspiration for an even better value holiday in 2013.”

Ranked number one with the Australian dollar soaring 15.52 per cent in the past 12 months against the Yen, Japan has certainly cemented its spot on the list of must-visit destinations. And with retail prices continuing to fall, this means that the dollar will stretch much further when on-ground in Japan than it does at home.

For those Aussies wanting to make the most of their well-earned buck, Expedia recommends visiting Japan in April and May to see the cherry blossoms in their glory.

Ray Attrill, Currency Strategist at NAB, said “Inflation rates had been taken into account when analyzing the data to determine exactly how far the dollar would stretch in each country.

“After we adjusted movements in currency values for inflation rates, the league table of relative currency winners and losers shifts, though Japan’s place at the top of the leader board is maintained. While Japan may still not be considered ‘cheap’, the exchange rate moves of the past year means that in many respects – including eating out and drinking – the Australian dollar will now stretch further inside Japan than it does at home.”

Skipping to the other side of the world, South American hot spots, Brazil and Argentina ranked second (8.2 per cent) and fifth (2.53 per cent) respectively on the list. Amee Evans adds; “Now that the country is gearing up for the 2014 World Cup, Brazil looks set to become a hot tourist spot in the coming months.”

The Australian dollar rose by 5.42 per cent in South Africa, followed by Indonesia, an Aussie short haul favourite in fourth, with the Australian dollar appreciating over four per cent against the rupiah. While Aussie travellers have long experienced great value for their money on ground in Indonesia, Expedia recommends visiting in early March 2013 before the busy School Holiday and Easter breaks.

According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, the strength of the Aussie dollar against other major currencies has meant that more Australians are heading overseas. Overseas departures are up by 5.2 per cent, compared with the same period last year.

Other popular destinations such as Sri Lanka and Mauritius fell behind in this year’s index with Aussie family favourite USA also following this trend. With a dip in purchasing power against the Australian dollar, other popular haunts, Hong Kong and China, now appear more expensive than in previous years. However, travellers should not be put off, the Australian dollar still continues to offer above parity returns.

Ray Attrill, comments: “NAB’s view is that while the yen may weaken further in the coming year or two as part of the new Japanese government’s determination to pull Japan out of a two-decade long deflationary funk, the fact the currency has fallen a long way very quickly suggests that a period of relative stability is now likely before the yen weakens further in 2014.

However, by that time NAB also expects the Aussie dollar to be embarking on a weakening trend in which case further gains against the yen may be hard to come by. So, anyone who has on their bucket list the sheer delight of eating sashimi at the Tsukiji (Tokyo) fish market should seize the day.”

Expedia reccommended places to stay for a unique experience:

Japan, Tokyo - Claska With Tokyo being the top destination to visit, why not stay at their first boutique hotel, Claska. Famous amongst the creative types spend the afternoon wandering round the art gallery then wind down with a refreshing drink on the roof terrace.

Brazil, Rio de JaneiroHotel Fasano With that little extra in your pocket why not stay at Rio de Janeiro’s, Hotel Fasano, which won the 2012 World Traveller’s Award for South America’s Leading Boutique Hotel, and indulge a little pampering with a complimentary 15-minute massage for all first time guests.

South Africa, Cape TownThe Westin Stay at one of the most exclusive hotels in Cape Town with the best views over Table Mountain and V&A Waterfront. The hotel also houses the award winning Arabelle Spa for you to kick back and enjoy and relax.

Indonesia, BaliThe Watergarden Surprise a loved one with a belated Valentine’s get away and stay at The Watergarden in Bali. A secluded hideaway of thatched cottages amongst tropical gardens this hotel was voted the most romantic boutique hotel and spa in Eastern Bali and among the top five on the island.

Argentina, Bueno AiresCasaCalma The first hotel in Argentina devoted to the culture of wellness and organic lifestyle. This eco hotel is unique in Bueno Aires, and has some great little finishing touches such as an underwater sound system in your Jacuzzi, umbrellas in your room and a dedicated “guest director” to show you how everything works

Media contacts

Fiona Macrae, NAB 0412 693 182

Amee Evans, Marketing & Communications Manager Expedia ANZ +61 2 8090 6627

Megan Martin, Bang PR +61 2 9018 2222

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