Forget Bali! Cheap flights creates new tourist hot spot
Vietnam is proving to be the hottest destination for the upcoming school holidays, and it's largely thanks to a cheap airfare.
Travel data analysed by booking site Wotif.com, found searches for Ho Chi Minh City were almost double that of last year putting it on track to eventually overtake Bali as a holiday favourite.
Wotif.com travel specialist Kirsty La Bruniy said the interest in close-to-home international destinations for the school holiday period was a big surprise.
"Bali still remains a favourite for Australians, but if we continue to see the same trend over the next two years, we may have a new Bali on offer, by way of Vietnam," said Ms La Bruniy.
"Vietnam offers exceptional landscapes, delicious cuisine and a diverse yet welcoming culture for families to explore. As competitive airfares continue to rise, we're seeing a surge in interest."
She acknowledged the impact of the introduction of "budget friendly flights" including Jetstar's non-stop Ho Chi Minh City service from Sydney and Melbourne.
Since launching the flights, Jetstar has offered fares as low as $159 one-way, and are currently selling seats for $249.
Jetstar Australia and New Zealand CEO Dean Salter said demand for the flights had exceeded expectations with strong inbound tourism from Vietnam to Australia.
"All of our flights to Vietnam are extremely busy for the school holidays," said Mr Salter.
"Vietnam is one of the fastest growing holiday locations in South-East Asia, and there is enormous potential for it to become one of the most popular destinations for Australians."
He said up to 180,000 passengers were expected to travel between Australia and Vietnam on the new flights every year.
"We expect this new route will also stimulate inbound tourism in addition to the 20 per cent increase in visitors from Vietnam to Australia last year," Mr Salter said.
Other overseas destinations experiencing strong interest on Wotif.com included Singapore and Phuket.
Ms La Bruniy said within Australia, Queensland was the most popular midyear holiday choice with demand for the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Cairns.
Not everyone wanted warmer weather though, with good growth in interest for domestic ski resorts led by Victoria's Mount Buller and Jindabyne in New South Wales.
"It's not too late for families to get to the snow these school holidays, but a good tip is to avoid the obvious and opt to stay at nearby towns," she said.
"For example, Cooma in NSW has a predicted average daily rate of $188 a night, compared to
Jindabyne's $282, offering families an average saving of nearly 35 per cent."