Expedia’s ‘Hot List’ of must-visit destinations for 2011

On November 24, 2010 at 07:00 AM

Expedia.com.au names its top 10 ‘hot’ destinations for 2011

The Australian Dollar’s strong performance against the US Dollar and other major currencies means that Aussie travellers are spoilt for choice when it comes to travelling internationally in 2011.

According to recent flight bookings on Expedia.com.au, operated by Expedia Inc., the world's largest online travel company, medium- and long-haul destinations such as North America and Europe are proving to be favourites among Aussie travellers, with some destinations recording almost triple-digit year-on-year growth.

To help travellers on their way to planning their holidays, Expedia.com.au has launched its list of ‘hot’ destinations for 2011.

Louise Crompton, Marketing Manager for Expedia.com.au, says: “Aussies are eager to take advantage of the amazing strength of the Aussie Dollar, and with this in mind we’re tipping North America, the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe to be among the hot favourites in 2011”.

Ms Crompton said that value for money remains a priority for savvy travellers. “Our customers tell us that where you book matters and that they are looking for more choice and ease of use when planning their travel.”

Expedia’s Top 10 ‘hot’ list for 2011:

United States

Topping the list is the United States. With the Australian Dollar reaching parity with the US Dollar, the US has never been more affordable. Orlando, home of Disney World, is proving to be a popular destination for Australian families or those who are just young at heart. Travellers wanting to witness some impressive landmarks and attractions can head to San Francisco, home to the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz Island, cable cars, Victorian architectureand diverse city neighbourhoods.  For a lesson in American history, travellers should make their way to Boston, the birthplace of modern American history.

Canada

Canada is cool with a capital C and is one of the most exciting travel destinations in the world. For many Australians, Vancouver is a natural first port of entry. The city of Vancouver is nestled between the Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, making it a nature paradise with miles of scenic hiking trails and bike paths that sweep along the Strait of Georgia, the pine tree-lined waterway that connects Vancouver with the Pacific Ocean. One of the most amazing landmarks in Vancouver is Canada Place, the city’s cruise ship port. The port has breathtaking panoramic views of the sparkling North Vancouver and surrounding mountains.

Eastern Europe

Expedia’s recent Foreign Exchange Index, which tracks international destinations representing the best value for the Australian Dollar, has revealed that Eastern Europe is emerging as having the best value for money destinations. Eastern Europe is winning the hearts of travellers around the world and there is a range of sensational countries to discover. The Czech Republic is an ideal starting point. Filled with the charm of former centuries and rich art museums, few would argue that the beautiful city of Prague is a compelling destination. A little to the south, travellers will find Hungary, also packed with loads of history and Lake Balaton, Europe’s largest lake, which is perfect for swimming, windsurfing, kayaking, and sailing. Latvia is also seeing surging numbers of travellers, with some of the most splendid scenery and highlights including the Gulf of Riga and the wild Baltic Sea.

The Mediterranean

The Australian Dollar has also increased against the Euro and with many Southern European countries experiencing economic hardship, travellers can take advantage of the massive discounting and great value for money.

Greece offers a slice of history combined with a healthy serving of self indulgence while the Greek Islands will leave travellers breathless. Greece is full of ancient ruins, most famously the Acropolis in Athens, which travellers from around the globe flock to visit. 

Next on the itinerary should be Spain, where bullfights, flamenco dancers and stunning beaches are just some of things travellers will enjoy. With so much to do, visitors will come to realize why Spaniards love a good ‘siesta’.

Italy – the place of pasta, pizza, olive oil, wine, sunshine, Roman ruins and Renaissance

palaces – is certainly a ‘must-visit’ destination and travellers who have been there once before are sure to keep going back to experience ‘la bella vita’.

Portugal is a hidden paradise with fascinating attractions. Travellers will be able to combine a cultural experience with sightseeing and sun baking on one of the many beautiful beaches on the Algarve coast. Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, has top attractions including Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and the Torre de Belém, which are both UNESCO sites.

Meanwhile on the Adriatic coast of the Mediterranean, Croatia and the beautiful city of Dubrovnik, on the country’s Dalmatian Coast, will leave travellers totally charmed.

Scandinavia

With the Australian Dollar enjoying increased value against the Danish Krone, Norwegian Krone and the Sweden Krona, there has never been a better time for Aussies to travel to Scandinavia. Outdoor enthusiasts, cultural seekers and history buffs will fall in love with Scandinavia. Travellers heading over in the summer will enjoy all the music festivals, water sports, hiking and biking tours, while in winter world-class skiing and winter sports and cosy wood-fired cafes are a perfect way to spend the day. A good starting point is Copenhagen, Denmark, where travellers will be amazed at the well preserved medieval streets, renowned art galleries and Michelin starred restaurants providing exquisite dining experiences.

New Zealand

Playing host to the Rugby World Cup in October next year, New Zealand is set to attract avid rugby fans and travellers from all around Australia. Aussies have had a long time love affair with New Zealand, mainly because of its closeness and the endearing Kiwi hospitality. The South Island remains the hot favourite. Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, Arthur’s Pass National Park, Banks Peninsula, Hanmer Springs, and Tekapo, Coleridge and Pukaki lakes are just some of the amazing sights travellers can visit. Queenstown is set on the northern shore of the gorgeous Lake Wakatipu with the impressive Remarkables mountain range in the backdrop. The perfect slopes, jet boat rides and bungee jumps are just some of the adventurous activities adrenalin junkies can join in. Those wanting a less risky adventure can take a trip on the Sky Gondola. For some of the prettiest parks and gardens, head to Christchurch, also known as the ‘Garden City’.

Thailand

Thailand is still a hot holiday destination and is one of the few places where you can live like a king on a budget of around $30 a day, making it one of the best value-for-money destinations. Pristine blue waters, waterfalls, coral reefs swarming with rainbow-coloured fish, temples, and a vibrant nightlife, are just some of the reasons Aussies keep returning to Thailand. Those who enjoy pampering and being rejuvenated will be in pure bliss. Days can be filled with swimming and snorkeling, or alternatively for a cultural experience, visit the temples, palaces and ancient ruins all before treating your taste buds to some of the most delicious Thai food ever.

Bali

A short flight time, cheap airfares and great value for money on the ground has made Bali a popular pick among Aussies. Known as the ‘Jewel of Indonesia’, Bali is definitely the place to go for travellers craving a spiritual and relaxing break. Ancient temples, museums and palaces are ‘must-visits’ and travellers will fall in love with the island’s lush, green landscape and the vibrant culture of beauty, art, timeless ceremonies and music. By day simply enjoy lazing on the picturesque beaches, and by night discover the glittering nightlife that attracts both the young and old.

South America

This massive continent was built for travel and offers endless amounts of excitement, thrills and challenges. South America is the land of salsa, sombreros and tequila, but beyond this, it is home to some of the most captivating natural wonders and landmarks with just some of these including Machu Picchu in Peru, the Amazon in Brazil, Iguazu Falls in Argentina, Lake Titicaca in Bolivia and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.

South Africa

The Australian Dollar’s continued strength against the South African Rand over the last three years has made it an increasingly popular destination among Aussies. In recent years the diverse experiences of wildlife, adventure, scenic beauty, beaches, mountains and culture means that South Africa has something to offer every type of traveller. Those seeking an adventure-packed experience can can come face-to-face with a Great White Shark, (from the comfort of a cage of course), or jump from one of the world’s highest bungee jumps. For those after less extreme pursuits, South Africa is the perfect destination to camp under the beautiful African sky, follow the Garden Route along the coast of South Africa, go on a safari, or visit the historic Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for over 20 years.

To view more news from Expedia, visit: http://press.expedia.com.au/

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