It’s good to be home

Welcome to 2015 and I trust all our accomnews readers had a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

The Phipps family gathered in Noosa for the first time since we moved here 23 years ago and managed to get through the festive season without killing each other. A minor miracle as I am sure many of you will identify with.

The managing director and I escaped the frivolity after Boxing Day and headed for Sydney with wining, dining and fireworks on the agenda. If you have never been to our world famous harbour for New Year’s Day I really recommend you put it on the bucket list. People from all over the world converge on the place and the atmosphere is really something. Talking to visitors from across the globe it’s amazing how many are fulfilling a life time dream. There is a great vibe and everyone seems to be in a good mood. It’s hard to imagine that only a short time before Sydney had been the focus of much sadness and certainly paying our respects at Martin Place was very sobering although it’s also somewhat life affirming to see so many divergent cultures and races in the same place showing the same respect.

After four days in the city we headed up to Katoomba for the weekend. Again, if you have never been you should put this one on the list as well. I visited the Grand Canyon last year and thought it was pretty special. The Blue Mountains are, in my humble opinion, every bit as awe inspiring as the big ditch in Nevada. If you go there take the road less travelled to Pulpit Rock, walk out to the last lookout ledge and take it all in. Absolutely breathtaking! It doesn’t hurt that Katoomba is a lovely little town with exceptional accommodation options and some great dining. The walking and climbing activities are excellent as well although not so much for the fearful of heights.

Talking to the accommodation providers we stayed with in hotels, motels and a boutique mountain resort, it is clear that across the sector operators are enjoying strong demand. Many report an increase in overseas guests with forward booking enquiry looking strong both from domestic and international visitors.

This demand within the leisure sector is surely set to rise with the exchange rate seemingly set to stay lower than we have seen for some time. Recent changes in policy by the Swiss Central Bank will probably see investment flow back to the Swiss franc which, in combination with an improving US economy and low domestic rates, will most likely see the Australian dollar drift below 80c US. Not good news for the cost of imports but great news if you are trying to attract overseas visitors and retain domestic travellers.

We returned home with thoughts of travel plans for the year. Discussion turned to Europe or maybe another USA excursion when the penny dropped. We live in one of the most diverse and beautiful countries on earth. We enjoy a stable political system and a relatively positive economy. In spite of some well publicised cultural and religious differences we all get on pretty well and I believe we have much to be thankful for. The exchange rate is heading south, interest rates are low and most of us have a job.

Here’s a tip. Take a trip and discover Oz. It’s really special.

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