The World Agrees: Australia is Top Travel Destination

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 1 /PRNewswire/ — Australia was rated the number one destination global independent travelers would like to visit next according to the annual Lonely Planet Traveler’s Pulse Survey announced today.

Coinciding with this honor, Tourism Australia is featuring the Qantas Aussie Air Pass on www.australia.com for $999 so more people can see the country that has become so popular.

Michael Londregan, Tourism Australia Vice President of the Americas said the Air Pass was helping make more Americans dreams of a vacation Down Under a reality.

“The Air Pass is proving the most popular campaign we’ve run in America on record,” he said. “There were more than 70,000 visits to Australia.com last week — a 45 percent increase on the same week last year and undoubtedly one of the biggest week’s ever.

“And it’s no wonder. Australia is the ultimate destination for people wanting to have a vacation that’s more than just a break from their routine. Australia is all about life experiences — from diving the world’s largest living aquarium to discovering the planet’s oldest continuous culture. If you love food and wine, then this is the place to go to discover tastes you’ve never expected. If you want to feel the power of a landscape as old as time itself, then Australia’s vast, ancient heart is an awesome experience.”

Mr. Londregan said the Air Pass gave travelers the freedom to easily put together Australia’s top destinations at an attractive price. The pass includes flights from Los Angeles to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane and three internal Australian flights to 17 Australian destinations.

Divided in zones, the base price of $999 is zone one with options to travel to/from Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Hobart and Launceston.

For an additional USD$200, travel in zone two — Cairns, Hamilton Island, Townsville, Alice Springs, Ayers Rock (Uluru) and Darwin — is also possible. Or, for an additional $400, options expand to zone three’s Perth, Broome and the just-added Hayman Island.

Some sample itineraries beginning at $999 include:

Wine & Culture: Enjoy the buzzing cities, cosmopolitan restaurants and outlaying wine regions of Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Fly Los Angeles to Sydney, then Sydney to Melbourne, Melbourne to Adelaide, Adelaide to Brisbane, Brisbane to Los Angeles.

Beautiful Beaches: With over 1200 miles of coast line, visit Bondi Beach, Surfer’s Paradise and the Great Ocean road in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Fly Los Angeles to Sydney, Sydney to Gold Coast, Gold Coast to Melbourne, Melbourne to Brisbane, Brisbane to Los Angeles.

Nearly 20,000 respondents from over 167 countries participated in Lonely Planet’s online survey at www.lonelyplanet.com. After Australia, the most desired destinations to visit in the future were Chile, Brazil, New Zealand and India in the top five respectively.

Australia was also tops on the list of favorite destinations previously visited. This is no surprise considering that 47% of American visitors to Australia are repeats according to Tourism Australia research.

For returning travelers, the air pass is also a wonderful way to explore more remote corners of Australia as the pass makes it easier to fly to farther afield destinations like Perth, Ayer’s Rock (Uluru) and Darwin.

For example, traverse the continent and mix cosmopolitan cities and beaches like Sydney and Brisbane with Darwin and Perth’s nearby rugged outback beauty by flying from Los Angeles to Brisbane, Brisbane to Darwin, Darwin to Perth and Perth to Sydney for $1399.

The Lonely Planet survey also discovered that 94% of respondents felt that travel was very or extremely important to them and 95% of respondents said that exploring other cultures when traveling is important or very important to them.

Travel to Australia is rising as the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported this month that there were a record 5.2 million visitor arrivals during the year ended 31 October 2004, an increase of 11 percent relative to the previous year.

For more information on Australia or the Air Pass, call 1-800 965-6252 or visit www.australia.com.

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