US still a draw for tourists

Travel agents and tour operators say they are confident Australians will continue to flock to the US and surrounding countries despite the slow decline of the Australian dollar.

On August 11 last year, the dollar was sitting at $US1.057. On Sunday, it was 91.9¢ on the back of a mini-resurgence after slumping to 88.6¢ on August 5.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the US is the third-most popular short-term destination for Australian residents. A total of 907,200 trips were made during the 2012-13 financial year, up from 491,900 in 2007-08. And Australians poured more than $5.5 billion into the US economy in 2012.

While travellers aren't getting as much value as 12 months ago, interest in the US still appears to be high with about 15,000 people at the Discover the Americas Travel Expo at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on Sunday.

Carrum residents Darren Matthews and Rhiannon Wapling, who went to the west coast in 2012, say they plan to visit the US east coast in the next two years.

''At 92 ¢ you still get good value for money,'' Ms Wapling said.

Flight Centre Burwood branch manager Ben Morgan said the US would remain a popular destination because of the fierce competition between airlines, with Melburnians able to buy a return ticket to Los Angeles for $1085 with a stopover in Auckland.

''Flights are the cheapest they've been for 20 years … it's cheaper to go to LA than it is to go to Broome,'' he said.