Friday, May 7, 2010

Beach Getaways

Even closer ... the Te Vakaroa Villas in the Cook Islands.

Direct flights are driving prices down as resorts compete for Australian business, writes Jane E. Fraser for The Age Traveller

If you're thinking about a resort holiday, now is a great time to book. Overseas resort destinations are battling it out for Australian travellers, resulting in rock-bottom deals for favourites such as Fiji, Bali and Phuket.

"Many are discounting their prices to levels we've never seen before," says the general manager, brand, of, Lisa Ferrari. "Many Aussies would be surprised to see where their travel budgets can take them. Australians can head off to neighbouring countries for under $1000."

New flights are one of the biggest drivers of competition between resort destinations, bringing improved access and increased price competition. Fiji and Phuket have been among the biggest winners, with new services from Jetstar and V Australia. The Cook Islands is about to take a step up, with direct flights from Australia starting in two months' time.

The general manager of marketing at Escape Travel, Colin Bowman, says competition is resulting in "very favourable" pricing for Australian travellers to the south Pacific, as well as for staples such as Bali, Fiji and Phuket and other destinations around Asia.

"There's no doubt there are some great deals around at the moment, there's a lot of competition for the Australian traveller," Bowman says. "There have been some new routes opened up by airlines ... and then you add on top of that some great hotel deals. We are seeing a lot of hotels adding in things such as meals and activities."

Bowman says there is particularly good value to be found in family holiday packages, with deals such as "kids stay and eat free". And with the weather cooling and the winter school holidays coming up, many are expected to take advantage by booking in coming weeks.

Read the full article at The Age Traveller

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